The Fire Was The Easy Part

Lea Hernandez is trying to get her life together after her house burned down. She’s having a hard time dealing with insurance agents and realtors, or as she puts it, “We are now the stars of our very own midget clown fuckdown rodeo.”

If you, knowledgeable and informed reader, have any suggestions on how to handle difficult claims adjusters, Lea could use some helpful comments on her blog.

Comments

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  1. homerjay says:

    She needs to hire a mediator. She shouldn’t be dealing with the insurance company herself. They’ll screw the bowel out of her. (Thats worse than screwing the shit out of someone)

    They usually come out of the woodwork and promise to get her a huge settlement. Speaking from second hand experience, they actually do. A good one at least. How do you find a good one? Not sure. I just know they’re worth what you pay them.

  2. Shaggy says:

    My house burned down a while ago (1992), so I’ve got a few bits of advice:

    1) GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING

    If something your adjuster says doesn’t sound right, get them to put it in writing, and have them sign it.

    2) YOU ARE IN CONTROL

    The adjuster will tell you otherwise. But, it’s your settlement. You don’t have to pay for things you don’t want to, within reason. For example: my adjuster wanted to have just about everything in the house “recovered” (that is, cleaned up with all the toxins removed). This is REALLY expensive. We didn’t want to pay to have ALL of my sister’s stuffed animals recovered (which would have cost almost $10,000), but our adjuster balked and told us we had to do it. That is, until we asked her to put it in writing (see above); then, she backed down.

    3) GET A LAWYER

    You’ll have to threaten legal action AT LEAST three or four times to get them to give you what they owe you. They won’t take your threats seriously if you don’t have a lawyer. Plus, a lawyer will help you read (and understand) the three million pages of paperwork you’ll have to sign.

    4) DOCUMENT EVERYTHING

    If you have to pay for ANYTHING, save the receipt. Write down the dates and times of every conversation with your adjuster (or the insurance company). EVERYTHING. Phone calls, personal conversations, whatever. Also write a brief summary of the topic of conversation.

    5) IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY PAYS FOR HOUSING, DON’T LET THEM PUT YOU IN REALLY, REALLY NICE HOUSING

    The insurance company will want to put you up in a nice, big, beautiful apartment or long-term-stay hotel. Do not let them. The money for this comes out of your settlement; the insurance company know this and will put you up in a property that they either own or that they have an existing relationship with. What does this mean? It means that the company may only be paying $200-$300 a month to put you up, but it will cost you much, MUCH more (in my case, the company put us up in an apartment that they owned, at a cost of $1500 a month to me).

    This doesn’t mean that you have to live in a rat-infested hovel, just that you don’t have to live in a palace while you’re looking for someplace else to live. If you can stay with family, DO IT. That means more money for a house or whatever.

    I may have just had a bad experience with my insurance adjuster (she’s STILL serving a jail sentance for multiple counts of fraud…testifying was such sweet revenge), but learn from my experience. Better safe than sorry.

  3. juri squared says:

    Oh, I’m really glad you posted this. I’ve been a longtime reader of my blog and her situation is just heartbreaking.

    Fortunately, it does seem as though she’s since gotten the adjuster’s ass handed to him. Hooray!

  4. riggs says:

    A couple things here. First, use some basic common sense. Keep in contact with not just the adjustor, but your agent as well, as a good agent can talk to people in the company that you probably can’t. Secondly, I agree with documenting everything you can. There’s no such thing as overly meticulous records. The last thing is to KNOW YOUR POLICY. I can’t stress that last one enough. You need to know exactly what’s covered, exactly what isn’t, and what the coverage amounts are. This makes it a lot easier to have an informed conversation with your adjustor, which in turn helps you get what you’re entitled to.

  5. chrissy2006 says:

    My heart indeed goes out for her. She is quite a lady isn’t she? But can she make her way out on this? She’ll get screwed!
    http://www.isbaltimores.com

  6. madderhatter says:

    Every state has an office for dealing with insurance adjusters and agents. They regulate all aspects of insurance with the state, including fraud. Just look for Dept of Insurance or Div of Consumer Services – it will be something similar to those. I don’t know what state you’re in or I’d find the site for you.