Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions? We have answers!
(If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.)
At Advocate Claims Public Adjusters, we are happy to assist you in any way possible!
A few of the most Frequently Asked Questions include:
Q – Should I call the insurance company or insurance agent before I hire a public adjuster?
A – No! Advocate Claims Public Adjusters will help you to decide if claims are covered and if it is worth reporting this claim to your insurance company. Even if you are only asking them a question, insurance companies keep records on your calls and will often count a call as a claim. This may raise your rates even though you never really meant to make an actual claim.
Q – Am I required to use the insurance company’s contractor?
A – No, often they will offer you a “preferred contractor program” to provide emergency service or repairs, but they will NOT warranty or guarantee their work. Ask their contractor for references in the same way you would hire your own independent contractor. Remember, these contractors get their work assignments from the insurance company so, ask yourself, who do they really work for?
Q – My roof is leaking. Should I report this to my insurance company?
A – No, your roof is not covered. Roof repairs are considered regular maintenance. The insurance policy only covers the interior damages that occur subsequently to your roof damage. Call us to see if such a claim is worth reporting.
Q – I am not happy with my insurance settlement. What should I do?
A – Your claim can be supplemented or reopened for additional damages, if your damages are properly documented.
Q – My contractor said he will negotiate my claim. Should I allow him to do this?
A – Absolutely not. The only people authorized in the State of Florida to negotiate and settle an insurance claim are: the policyholder, a public adjuster (such as Advocate Claims Public Adjusters) and an attorney.
Q – Should I cash my check even if I don’t like the claim settlement?
A – Yes, it is ok to cash your check on property damage insurance claims in Florida. Doing so does not prevent you from asking for additional money.
Q – If the insurance company’s check is written to my mortgage company, how do I cash the check?
A – Florida law requires that the insurance company notify your mortgage company that you had a loss. This is done by writing the insurance settlement check to your mortgage company. Your mortgage company will have to endorse your check in order for you to cash it or, perhaps better, they should reimburse you for the total amount of your claim check. You will need to communicate with your mortgage company to find out their particular process for determining that you repaired your damage to their satisfaction.
Q – Can my insurance company drop me after I make a claim for property damage?
A – Yes, an insurance company can basically do as they please. They can raise your premium or drop you after a claim. The bottom line is your insurance company makes the rules and decides if you are a profitable customer to them. The watch phrase here is buyer beware.
Q – The insurance company requires three written estimates. What should I do?
A – There is no requirement in your policy stating that you have to get three estimates. Advocate Claims Public Adjusters will put the estimate of damages together for you and save you the trouble of getting three estimates. In addition, the estimates must be determined on a per-line item basis and most contractor estimates do not comply with this. If your three contractor estimates are not properly detailed, the insurance company will ignore them anyway. Furthermore, most contractors do not have the software, knowledge, or time to write estimates for free.
Q – The insurance company adjuster came and took pictures and told me it is fine to throw everything away, but the adjuster left things out of my estimate. How do I deal with this?
A – It is up to you to document your loss. Many “storm adjusters” are only here temporarily after a hurricane or similar event, leaving you to prove your damages after they have skipped town. You may have multiple adjusters sent to your house too. As a public adjuster Advocate Claims Public Adjusters will fully document your loss for you.
Q – The insurance company said the loss is not covered. Can I still hire a public adjuster like Advocate Claims Public Adjusters?
A – Yes, but a public adjuster will only take on assignments if they feel it should be covered. That is why it is better to meet with a public adjuster at the start of your claim process, before you contact your insurance company.
Q – I have a water leak but I don’t know where it is coming from. What should I do?
A – You have an obligation to stop any leak and mitigate any damage under the conditions of the insurance policy. The insurance company can deny your claim for not stopping the leak in a timely manner. This can be very costly if not taken care of properly.
Q – I want to report my claim and see what they pay me before I hire a public adjuster. Shouldn’t I do this?
A – Most public adjusters will charge more for a claim once it has been submitted to the insurance company because it is more work to undo problems that existed before they entered the case.
Q – I called my insurance agent to discuss my claim. Should I have done this?
A – No, you shouldn’t have called them. Calling them right away is the conventional wisdom drummed into policyholder minds from insurance company advertising. Remember, the “captive” insurance agent works for their insurance company and “independent” agents work for many insurance companies. All of these agents have a contractual obligation and get paid by the insurance company. Only public adjusters like Advocate Claims Public Adjusters and attorneys are licensed to advocate insurance claims on your behalf.
Q – Should I hire a public adjuster like Advocate Claims Public Adjusters or an attorney to handle my claim?
A – Public adjusters offer many advantages over hiring an attorney for a covered insurance loss. Adjusters handle claims for the insurance company, just like public adjusters give you personal adjusting service. Public Adjusters try to keep the claim moving, arriving at a much quicker settlement for far less money than attorneys. Remember, once you hire an attorney, the insurance company will bring in their attorneys too. If the courts are involved you may be looking at years to get your claim settled!