Have Questions! We Have Answers!

Have Questions!  We Have Answers!

At Smellsmoke Public Adjusters Inc, we are happy to assist you in any way possible. A few of the most Frequently Asked Questions include:

Q – My roof is leaking should I report this to my insurance company?
A – No, this is not a covered loss. The repairing of the roof is a maintenance issue and is not covered by your insurance policy. The insurance policy only covers the subsequent damage.

Q – I am not happy with my insurance settlement?
A -You have up to five years from the date of a claim to have your claim modified.

Q – Should I cash my check if I don’t like the claim settlement?
A – Yes, it is ok to cash your check; Doing so does not prevent you from asking for additional money.

Q – If the insurance company’s check has my mortgage company on it, how do I cash the check?
A – Florida law requires that the insurance company notify your mortgage company that you had a loss, by putting their name on your check you will have to get your mortgage company to endorse your check. Your mortgage papers also has wording that requires them to be notified in case there is damage to the property. Remember, they loaned you money and have the right to protect their equity. You will need to speak to your mortgage company to find out their particular process for making sure you repaired your damage to their satisfaction.

Q – Should I call the insurance company before I hire a public adjuster?
A – No, a public adjuster will help you to decide if it is a covered claim and if it is worth reporting this claim to your insurance company. 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 wanted a claim to be reported.

Q – Can my insurance company drop me after a claim?
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 – Am I required to use the insurance company’s contractor?
A – No, they will often have a preferred contractor program to offer you their contractor to do 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 – The insurance company requires three written estimates. What do I do?
A – There is no requirement in your policy that requires you to get three estimates. The public adjuster will put the estimate of damages together for you and save you the trouble of getting three estimates. Further, the estimates have to be written on a per-line item basis and most contractor estimates do not comply with this. If your three contractor estimates are not detailed, the insurance company will ignore them. Most contractors do not have the software, knowledge, or time to write estimates for free.

Q – My contractor said he will negotiate my claim?
A – The only people authorized in the state of Florida to negotiate and settle an insurance claim are:

  • The policy holder
  • Public adjuster
  • Attorney

Q – The adjuster came and took pictures and told me it is ok to throw everything away, but the adjuster left things out of my estimate?
A – It is up to you to document your loss. Many of these “storm adjusters” are only here temporarily leaving you to prove your damages after they have skipped town. If they send out another adjuster, or if a public adjuster needs to have photographs of the damaged items, and you cannot provide them, the insurance company will not consider any additional payment. They are under no obligation to keep your pictures or give you a copy. You must prove your own loss.

Q – The insurance company said the loss is not covered? Can I still hire a public adjuster?
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 first to help guide you through the claim process. Once your loss is denied you may need to hire an attorney.

Q – I have a water leak but I don’t know where it is coming from?
A – You have an obligation to stop any leak and mitigate any damage under your insurance policy. The insurance can deny your claim for not stopping the leak in a timely manner. Your claim can not go forward until you know the cause of loss, and, the estimate of damages cannot be made until after your repairs are completed.

Q – The insurance company is charging more then one deductible for my claim?
A – Each covered cause of loss is a separate deductible. If a pipe leaks today, and then the pipe leaks tomorrow, they can charge you with two deductibles, as it is two separate occurrences.

Q – I want to report my claim and see what they pay me before I hire a public adjuster?
A – Most public adjusters will charge more for a claim once submitted as it is now more work to undo problems that existed before they entered the case

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