As a homeowner, it is expected that your home insurance company will provide you protection against unforeseen circumstances such as fire, water damages, storms, or theft. But in reality, dealing with some home insurance companies can be more complex than you ever bargained for. This is because all home insurance companies are profit-oriented enterprises, and they carry the mindset of win-win; their primary objective is to minimize losses and maximize profits.
To achieve this, they may use various tactics to reduce or deny your claim or delay the process, hoping that you will reduce or give up. Some of the tactics they use fall within legal boundaries, but truth be told, some are morally objectionable, while others are out-rightly illegal. As a homeowner, it is important to be aware of these tactics and understand how to protect your rights and interests. And you will know what the home insurance claim adjuster secret tactics are.
In this article, we’ll shed light on some of the hidden procedures used by home insurance claim adjusters. The insights shared herein are based on our experiences as public adjusters assisting home-owners in navigating the complex claims process and securing a fair settlement.
Below are 13 Ways Home Insurance Companies Can Cheat You:
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1. Deliberate/Unnecessary Delays
Home insurance companies can employ delaying tactics, as they are aware that most people become frustrated with delays, particularly when they are in urgent need of funds and repairs. This can encompass not returning your calls or responding to your emails promptly, with the intention of pressuring you into accepting a low-ball settlement offer.
It’s crucial not to succumb to these tactics. If you experience unwarranted delays, you may be dealing with bad faith and should consider consulting with a property damage attorney.
2. Use Vague or Misleading Language
This is perhaps the most prevalent tactic employed by adjusters to undervalue your claim. They may offer a quick settlement that falls significantly short of the actual cost of repairs or replacements. This strategy relies on the hope that you might accept the offer due to desperation or a lack of understanding. Adjusters may also use vague or misleading language to confuse you or misrepresent the policy’s terms.
3. Depreciation Formulas
Another tactic involves reducing your claim by asserting that your damaged property is only worth its depreciated value, considering factors like its age, wear, and tear. Adjusters may use depreciation formulas that deviate from industry standards or the terms of your policy.
4. Exclusion Clauses or Technicalities
The 13th tactics we found out that home insurance companies uses to cheat you is by resorting to denying your claims in some cases, this they do by arguing that your policy doesn’t cover your damages due to some exclusion clauses or technicalities. They might interpret policy language in their favor, even if it contradicts common sense or the policy’s original intent.
5. Fabricated Deadlines
Adjusters may present you with false deadlines in an attempt to coerce you into accepting a low-ball settlement offer. These deadlines are typically fictitious and not binding. In reality, you always have the opportunity to negotiate a better settlement offer, and you are not obligated to accept their low-ball offer within an arbitrary timeframe. If you encounter such tactics and feel apprehensive, reaching out to a property damage attorney can help rectify the situation.
6. Manipulating You into Admitting Fault
Insurance companies frequently attempt to manipulate claimants into admitting fault, which can substantially diminish the value of their claims. In property damage claims, one prevalent tactic is to assert that you:
For instance, they might suggest that your failure to lock windows led to flooding during a storm or that your appliances were damaged long before a fire. These tactics can lead you to inadvertently admit fault, especially when faced with seemingly innocuous questions such as, “Were your windows locked?”
In so many cases, you will even encounter a situation where adjusters will try convincing you into believing that you were at fault. Please, bear this at the back of your mind: home insurance companies are never your allies, and will never be.
7. Dissuading You from Hiring an Attorney
Insurance companies may discourage claimants from hiring an attorney by falsely claiming it is unnecessary, a breach of contract, or a waste of money. None of these claims hold true. Hiring an attorney often results in a higher settlement, even after accounting for attorney fees. Attorneys can advocate aggressively on your behalf throughout the claims process, negating manipulation tactics and maximizing your potential settlement.
8. Faking Concern
Beware of overly amicable insurance adjusters. They may appear friendly but are ultimately working for the insurance company. While respectful and sympathetic treatment is appreciated, red flags should be raised when adjusters attempt to befriend you. This approach is used to lower your guard so that they can gather information that can be used against you. It’s not uncommon for adjusters to receive bonuses for securing low settlements, and you are simply another opportunity.
9. Exploiting Policy Loopholes
Insurance policy documents are often intricate and lengthy, intentionally so. Many clients report that their insurers claim the property damage isn’t covered due to some technical loophole. In most cases, this is untrue. You are a paying customer and deserve coverage.
10. Unnecessary Document Requests
Insurance adjusters may demand various documents, including receipts, photographic evidence, bills, and reports. However, a common tactic employed by insurance adjusters is to request unnecessary documents they know you don’t possess.
For example, you might be asked to provide a repair or construction bill from a decade ago related to the property damage event. This is yet another ploy to wear you down into accepting a low settlement offer.
11. Devaluing Your Claims
When presented with a low-ball offer, it is typically not due to an overestimation of damages. It is more likely because insurance adjusters seek to minimize payouts and wear you down. This is commonly achieved by claiming that repairs can be completed at a significantly lower cost.
Do not concede. If you are dissatisfied with the settlement offer, you can seek an independent inspection of the property and obtain quotes from contractors. These can serve as evidence that your claim has been undervalued or underpaid.
Property damage attorneys are invaluable in these situations as they possess the resources to substantiate the actual costs of the damage, preventing you from incurring losses later.
12. False Promises by Insurance Companies
A home insurance claims adjuster may make promises that seem beneficial to you but ultimately pose a conflict of interest. All this loyalty lies with the insurance company, not you. For instance, they might promise to cover a specific type of repair work but later claim it is ‘excessive’ and not eligible for coverage.
13. Challenging Negotiations
Remember that you have the right to negotiate with an insurance company regarding a property damage settlement offer. However, be prepared for challenging negotiations. The insurance company will not readily agree to your initial or subsequent requests. Negotiating with them can be a protracted process requiring patience and tenacity. It is strongly recommended to enlist the services of a property damage attorney, as their involvement can expedite negotiations and result in a fair settlement.
Due credit to: www.efogator.com