The insurance industry in the States is changing all the time and quickly. Behind the scenes of your insurance agents desk they are being told what and how to handle your claims. You premiums are getting more and your deductible is increasing. Many of the Insurance companies have a set fee of 1% for your deductible. This means on a house worth $200,000 you pay for the first $2,000 of the claim.
What they haven't told you is that if you report 3 or more incidents within a 3 year period you might not be able to get insurance again. You may be thinking that if I have to claim 3 times in 3 years that might be understandable or I am the most unlucky person in the world.
No that is not what I am saying. I am saying if you call your agent and they pass you off to a national claims handling centre and you tell them that you think you might have a leak or you think you might have a problem, whatever it is this gets reported as an incident regardless of whether you make a claim or not.
Let me give you a real life example. Mr. Jones has a water pipe that bursts and water is coming from the slab into his dining room . He calls his agent who tells him to call the national claims number because this is now the new procedure. Mr. Jones calls the national claims number and finds out that he is not insured for the burst pipe section of the repair on his insurance. Mr. Jones thinks well it is going to be below my deductible so I will not bother to claim. This has now been recorded as his 1st incident.
Mr. Jones gets a knock at the door just a few months later from a roofing company telling him that they can get him a new roof without paying a deductible because of the storms last may. Mr. Jones agrees and signs the paperwork for the roofing company to contact his Insurance company. The insurance adjuster comes out and looks at the roof, he also checks the weather reports for that month in may last year. He decides that there were no storms that month and your roof does not have hail damage, just some wear and tear therefore no claim was submitted. This has now been recorded as his 2nd incident.
If Mr. Jones now makes or does not make a claim to his insurance company within the next 2 years regarding anything whatsoever he may not get insured anymore. So what happen to Mr. Jones if he has to make a claim on his insurance because a tornado took off his roof. He gets a new roof but is now uninsurable. What does he tell his mortgage lender because as part of the mortgage agreement he must have insurance.
Even the Insurance agent is unhappy because Mr. Jones has been a loyal customer for 20 years and has never made a claim, so now he has lost a great customer.
Know your rights
As the insured you have the right to choose which restoration or mitigation company you would prefer to work in your home. Don't let the insurance company dictate to you who you should use. They can recommend a company or even a few companies but the final decision is up to you.
The reason I say this is that many of the larger insurance companies have teamed up with some of the larger restoration companies and dictate to them how a job should be conducted and how much they will pay. The rationale is that they are trying to save money, which makes sense but the question is, are you as the insured getting the best value for money when it comes to restoring your home back to a pre-loss condition. Are corners being cut to save money and are you going to have a secondary problem a year down the line and have another incident recorded against you. You might not even be insured if the secondary problem is mold.
Your insurance agents normally gets to know you quite well as they like to form a personal relationship with you, after all you are entrusting them with everything you have and getting the right policy is important. The agent wants your business and he wants your monthly premiums as this is his business as well. He also wants you to renew year on year so I say if you get a call from Mr. Jones who has a problem and does not know what to do. Give me a call and I will, free of charge, go and see Mr. Jones and address all of his fears and worries and give me a free estimate of what the likely costs will be should he need restoration or mitigation work carried out. In many cases there really is not a problem and a quick fix is needed. For example when Mr. Jones had his burst pipe he called a plumber who turned off the water and while the plumber was fixing the broken pipe I assessed the damage to Mr. Jones's home. Thankfully he only had some wet carpet which we dried out quickly enough to be saved and relayed.
No claim was made and no incident was recorded so give me a call on 972 892 0000 for a free estimate