You have had damage to your home and submitted a claim. The claim was accepted, and you have received a settlement. What happens when you are dissatisfied with the settlement amount? What if you think that the settlement amount does not reflect the damage your home has endured? Is it time to contact an attorney?
A Hollywood home insurance attorney explains that there are some actions that you can take to dispute your settlement.
Review the Original Claim
The first thing you should do is to carefully review your original claim. Is it possible that you failed to include all of the relevant information? Could you include additional information, including photos of the damage, estimates, and receipts?
Inquire With the Insurance Company
Now that you have gathered additional information and reviewed the claim, it is time to contact the insurance company. You will need to contact your insurance agent or the claims department for the insurance company.
Calmly explain that you are not satisfied with the settlement that you have received. Ask if the adjuster would be willing to review the claim again, particularly if there is additional evidence of the damage that you initially forgot to include.
One of two things can happen. The insurance company may review the claim. It is possible that, upon review, they increase the settlement. Keep in mind, however, that the review may not ultimately change the settlement amount.
The insurance company may also decline to review the claim. At this point of the negotiation, you may be able to do it yourself or may get further with the assistance of a Hollywood commercial property insurance attorney.
Get an Independent Appraisal
In the event that the insurer does not increase the settlement amount, it is time to get an independent appraisal. An independent appraisal involves hiring a different expert to provide an estimate of the damage. The appraiser will come out to the home, review the damage, and then give an estimate for what they think would cover repairing the damage.
These services are not free, and the prices can vary widely depending on how far the appraiser has to travel to get to your home. Generally, these appraisals cost a few hundred dollars. It is possible that the appraisal is for nothing.
The independent appraiser may agree with the insurance company on the amount of the damages. Or, the insurance company may disagree with the findings of the independent appraisal. Ideally, it will at least provide you leverage when negotiating with the insurance company that the initial settlement offer was too low and additional funds are needed.
Hire a Knowledgeable Hollywood Home Insurance Attorney
If all else fails, it is time to hire a Hollywood home insurance attorney. While it is unlikely to have to come to this point, as parties typically resolve one way or another, it is possible. Your attorney will advise you on how to file a complaint with the state. You will have to detail what you think is unfair or bad business practices, so be sure to include as much documentation as possible.
The state will then evaluate the claims and determine whether or not they are justified. If the state decides that your claim has merit, it will reach out to the insurance company to figure out a resolution. If you are not satisfied with your home insurance settlement offer, contact our office at 954-915-7405.