On Property Insurance Claim Tips Blog

Hurricane Michael Damage and the Building Moratorium

Hurricane Michael Damage and the Building Moratorium

As Hurricane Michael damage recovery moves into the new year, we continue get deluged with property insurance claim questions from frustrated policyholders. Right now, we seem to be at the stage where policyholders have received settlement offers they feel are too low to fix their damage or where property owners feel their insurance company is not being responsive. This is especially true with commercial claims and the business community in the Panhandle as evidence in this article Local Businesses Say Insurance is Taking Too Long on Claims. Now there’s a good way to kill off the small business community!

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Additional Living Expenses Explained for Hurricane Michael Storm Damage Policyholders

Additional Living Expenses Explained for Hurricane Michael Storm Damage Policyholders

If your Florida home was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael to the extent that it is uninhabitable to live in, most insurance policies provide a coverage called “Additional Living Expense” or “A.L.E.” if it is a covered loss. Under the Additional Living Expense coverage, you and your family may be entitled to rent another home of the same size, like kind and quality as well as be reimbursed for any extra expenses you incur such as food and temporary lodging.

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Policyholder Question – Being Underinsured can impact your Insurance Claim

Policyholder Question – Being Underinsured can impact your Insurance Claim

The following is an insurance claim question we answered for a policyholder through the United Policyholders Ask an Expert Forum.

Q. We are survivors of Hurricane Maria. Our property sustained severe damages from the wind and rain. The insurance company´s adjuster reports damages amounting to $36,000. But they are only offering $10,000 arguing that we failed to reassess the property in recent years. As a result, when they apply the per square foot construction cost mandated by the local insurance industry regulator, our property comes out as severely underinsured. We had purchased the property for $125,000 nearly 20 years ago and its value nowadays is below that amount owing to the economic recession.  (Of the $125,000 we paid, the appraisal back then estimated the structure value at $40,000 and the land at $100,000) We are filing a second appeal and are wondering if this is an industry practice.  Any suggestions?

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Policyholder Question – Can we be reimbursed for doing our own insurance claim repairs?

Policyholder Question – Can we be reimbursed for doing our own insurance claim repairs?

Q. Hurricane Irma caused damage to our home. No area contractors were able to do any interior repairs in a timely fashion. My wife and I have the skill sets to do drywall repairs, tiling, painting etc. Are we entitled to be reimbursed for our personal labor?

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Policyholder Question – Applying Overhead to Your Insurance Claim

Policyholder Question – Applying Overhead to Your Insurance Claim

The following is an insurance claim question we answered for a policyholder through the United Policyholders Ask an Expert Forum.

Q. Is it customary for restoration contractors to charge for 3 triple (cleaning, vacuuming, and/or anti-microbial) treatments in their remediation estimates ?

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Policyholder Question: Additional Living Expense (ALE) Conflicts and Cash Out Offers

Policyholder Question: Additional Living Expense (ALE) Conflicts and Cash Out Offers

One of the things I like about blogging, is that the tips and advice you provide policyholders about issues they are having with their insurance claims stays up indefinitely and can assist people having the same claim problems. I recently responded to reader question from a 2013 guest blog post on the Merlin Law Group Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog that I had the privilege of contributing to. The article titled: Insurance Companies Using Preferred Contractors to Settle Claims Not in Policyholders Best Interest discussed how insurance companies send out their preferred vendors who then try to control costs to the consternation of the policyholder.

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Will Christmas be merry or will old man Scrooge ruin the season of giving for policyholders?

Will Christmas be merry or will old man Scrooge ruin the season of giving for policyholders?

The title for this blog popped in my head based on a question sent into our firm about property insurance policy adjusting practices and procedures related to Hurricane Irma claims. Here is the question sent in from a resident in one hard hit area of Florida:

Policyholder Question: I received a claim check from the insurance company and they have deducted depreciation for my roof. It is a large number and I have read a few different answers related to my question. If I have a replacement value insurance policy, can they hold depreciation? Do I really need to put $20,000+ out of my pocket until a time in the future when they might release that depreciation to me?

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Policyholder Question – How does an insurer define physical loss to property?

Policyholder Question – How does an insurer define physical loss to property?

Q. Our insurer rejected our mold claim, even though we have additional coverage for mold, as well as for, "Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire protective sprinkler system, or an appliance for heating water". The a/c repair man as well as the claims adjuster and the engineer who investigated the claim (both hired by our insurer) attributed, in writing, the cause of our mold to tearing of the attic duct work tape. The insurer claimed they would not cover our Section C loss from mold because, "the claimed loss and damage and the mold was the result of humidity and condensation. There was no physical damage; therefore the mold is not a result of a covered cause of loss." Can you please explain why they are rejecting our claim? 

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Policyholder Question – Can I Claim Loss of Use for an Apartment Rental Claim?

Policyholder Question – Can I Claim Loss of Use for an Apartment Rental Claim?

The following is an insurance claim question we answered for a policyholder through the United Policyholders Ask an Expert Forum.

Q. I live in St Thomas. My house suffered substantial damage from Irma and Maria. It is a two level house with a 3rd level apartment. The upper level is missing the roof and the bottom level apartment is pulling away from the main structure. I am currently living on the 2nd level. When I bought the house in January I had planned on returning the house to the previous layout of 3 separate distinct living spaces to help with the mortgage and homeowners insurance payments. The 2nd level had already been zoned as a separate living area but was added to the main house by the previous owners. I removed the spiral staircase between the 1st and 2nd level and had contractors scheduled to come back to repair the opening. Earlier this year my parents decided they were going to move here. My father has Alzheimer disease and responds well to me. I was going to help my Mom care for him. My parents sold their house in Colorado, bought plane tickets and hired movers. They were to arrive on island October 1st. We decided ahead of time they would be paying rent and we would have a written agreement drawn up. As a result of the storm I was forced to move to the 2nd level. Had the house survived intact this would not have been a safe place for them. I would have still rented out the 2nd level to someone else. My insurance agent said I could not claim a loss of use for the vacant apartments because I had no lease already in place for them. Is this correct?

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