Frozen Pipes, the Resulting Water Damage, and Now Snow--Is It Time to Call in the Cavalry?
With another polar blast and big snowstorm adding to the misery in the already frozen Northeastern U.S., I was wondering how the property insurance industry is holding up given the onslaught of property claims being filed. Well, that question was answered when we received an auto-reply from an adjuster in New York who works for one of the big insurance companies who we are working with on a claim following Super Storm Sandy. His reply, “please be advised that we are currently experiencing higher than normal volume due to recent weather related events and there may be a delay in returning your email.” Returning timely emails is one thing, but adjusting a loss is a whole other animal given the working conditions in the frozen north. And this auto reply was sent to us on January 20th before the new polar blast and big snow event. Listening to the weather wonks, it sure looks like this winter may be one for the record books. It may also be a notable one for the insurance industry with all the expected claims from water losses due to frozen pipe breaks, collapsed roofs due to heavy snow loads, and most unfortunately fires from faulty heating appliances and improper use of space heaters.
But back to those claims; there will be several issues policyholders will have to deal with, the least of which from an insurance recovery prospective is staying warm or even getting to the loss to meet with all the vendors who may be hired by the insurance industry. No doubt, coverage issues will have to be investigated, subrogation considered, inventories prepared and agreed to, salvage detailed and perhaps professional saviors consulted. And you were busy before your loss and now it is cold!
Is it time to bring in the cavalry? Ask yourself a couple of questions. Are you versed on property insurance policy terms and conditions? How about the practice and procedures on the art of adjusting? Do you know what the line of sight rule is? Do you know the rules on salvage, such as who benefits from salvage rights and recovery? Do you know how your deductible is calculated? One New York policyholder had to go to court to get a judge to rule that their deductible was incorrectly applied by their insurance company. There was no way they were ever going to get paid for their flood loss since the deductible would always exceed their flood coverage limits, making the coverage illusionary. Knowing the standards the claims adjusters operate under and some of the tricks of the trade will play an important part in the scope of your loss and the bottom line amount you will be paid.
There are many facets to adjusting a claim. If you cannot reach the adjuster assigned to your claim by your insurance company, it may well be time to get an expert on your team. There is nothing wrong with having a team on your side. After all the insurance industry has their team. If you have questions regarding any property insurance related issues, please call 800.321.4488 or contact us to submit a question to one of our public adjuster or insurance claim experts.