You think you’re doing the responsible thing by taking out insurance on your home, vehicle, and other valuables. You assume that if damages occur, your insurer will unhesitatingly cover your losses. But what do you do when the insurance company tries to give you the shaft?
One thing you can do is hire your own insurance claims adjuster. Insurance companies have claims adjusters who work for them. They are skilled at finding reasons to deny your claims.
“Hiring a public claims adjuster can put you on an even playing field with your insurance company,” according to insurance expert Amy Danise.
Don’t Sign Away Your Rights When Making a Claim
Public claims adjusters typically charge a percentage of the claim amount you end up getting – anywhere from 10% to 25% depending on the size of the claim and other factors. It’s best to seek out an adjuster early in the process. He or she can advise you on whether you should accept what (if anything) the insurance company is offering you and make sure you retain all your rights and negotiating leverage.
Your insurer may try to get you to sign a release waiving your right to seek additional payments on your claim. Your claim money may also come
stating “full and final settlement.” If you sign a document or check with language to that effect, you may surrender the ability to dispute your claim.
If you mistakenly bought a policy that didn’t provide the coverage you thought you were getting, you may be out of luck. The best time to ask the tough questions of your insurance agent is before you agree to buy a policy.
Asking the Right Questions Can Nab You the Best Deals
Insurance is supposed to be there to protect you and your assets in the event of an accident, theft, or other calamity. But if you buy the wrong type of insurance, you may end up paying a lot of money for redundant or superfluous coverage. Worse, if your coverage is inadequate or full of holes, it might not even protect you when you’re counting on it most.
Policies typically contain language that excludes coverage in special situations. Will your insurance agent tell you about all of these “exceptions”?
When you shop for insurance, you want to get the most insurance for the least amount of money. And an insurance agent helps you get the best deal, right? Often not.
The insurance company wants to maximize its premiums and minimize the benefits it might have to pay. Insurance agents want to maximize the commissions and bonuses they receive. That typically means selling you the insurance products that pay them the most. When shopping for insurance, an independent agent who isn’t tied to a particular insurer’s products is best positioned to give you an honest opinion.