Homeowners Flood Insurance: Are You Getting Short Changed
Many homeowners who have been faced with terrible hurricane damages find that their flood insurance checks are not large enough to cover the damages and needed repairs.
According to many public adjusters, a lot of private adjusters are new, inexperienced, and are hired on only to assist insurance providers during the storm season. With no construction know-how, they rely on computer programs to provide estimated rebuilding costs. This is a terrible thing as the full scope of damages is not being reported accurately.
With the inaccuracy of a lot of these estimates provided by private adjusters, insurance companies are working alongside the federal government to help process almost 144,000 claims that have been filed with the National Flood insurance Program.
Of course, these private insurance agencies dispute that their customers are being paid much less than that of what they are owed. They also state that all oversights are easily correctable if homeowners produce proof that a covered expense has been overlooked by one of their adjusters.
Immediately after Hurricane Sandy, insurance companies hired a slew of insurance adjusters from all across the US. They arrived to the city with various degrees and levels of expertise. All of the adjusters had to pass a certification test in at least one state to be able to work and give out estimates. However the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is an agency that oversees the flood insurance program, requires that adjusters have at least four years of experience. But under certain and extreme circumstances, newcomers with no track record can work after a brief training period.
According to Amy Bach, the executive director of United Policyholders, an advocacy group for insurance consumers, a lot of the contracted adjusters use the software as the last word as to what is owed to the homeowners, however a contracted adjuster should be skilled enough to use it as just a reference, and not the last word.
Claims software, like Xactimate, is widely used throughout the insurance industry by both private and public adjusters. The software was designed to take out the guesswork while offering a checks and balance system against contractors who exaggerate the cost of a job. This software provides detailed prices by zip code, for basic replaceable items like carpets, cabinets, light fixtures, and almost everything else that you would need to make your house more like home again. It even provides information on every possible task that you would need to have done for the home to be back in its original state.
As there are thousands of variables, often times those inexperienced adjusters may miss a few, which in turn means less money for the storm victim.