The minute you send in an insurance claim for damage to your home, you enter a negotiation. Your insurance company will be seeking the pay to lowest amount possible, and you will be looking to have all of your damages covered. What they ultimately pay will very likely depend on how you negotiate. Here are three tips:
Have a Settlement Amount In Mind. Before you talk settlement amount with your insurance company, do your due diligence and find out for yourself exactly what your repairs will cost. A reputable licensed contractor should be able to give you an estimate of material and labor cost to repair you damage. Further, when you have your own adjuster or licensed contractor inspect your property, they will look for any related damages that will also need to be repaired. Have the cost of all of these repairs in mind before you negotiate with your insurance company.
Don’t Take The First Offer. Some insurance adjusters make initial offers so low that they are simply a way to assess if you know what you are doing. This offer may not be even a quarter of your total damage. Or, they could offer something that is reasonable, but doesn’t cover the full cost of repairs. But because this is a negotiation, you can – and should – make a counteroffer. This counteroffer can be slightly lower than the settlement amount you’d like, to show the adjuster that you are willing to be reasonable, but there should always be a counteroffer.
Ask That The Offer Be Justified. If your insurance adjuster gives you a lower amount than what you are looking for, ask them to justify how they arrived at that amount, Not only does this show that you are going to expect that they validate their position, but also that you too, know the cost of repairs, and are well aware of just how much it is going to take to fix your damage. Make sure that you get this in writing, so that you can respond to each of their points. Then, the next time you speak with the adjuster, ask for a response to your letter. It is usually then that they make you a reasonable offer.
By Joe Carroll
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