Your Options When the Insurance Company Chooses to Repair
If your property has been damaged, the insurance company may reimburse you for the cost of repairs or replacement. The replacement cost value usually reimburses the property owner for the price of labor and materials to rebuild their property from scratch.
But what if the insurance company chooses to repair and you do not agree with the insurer’s assessment or think it would be more appropriate to rebuild your home? In that case, you may have options.
Sometimes, property owners may not agree with the insurance adjuster’s repair assessment or settlement offer and may need an attorney to stand up for their rights. Attorney Jeff Pekar helps clients in Tampa, Florida, handle all aspects of the property damage claims process. As the founding attorney at Pekar Law, P.A., he can help you explore your options and seek a better settlement of your claim.
The Insurance Company’s Repair Assessment
After informing the insurance company of damages to your property, the insurer will send a claims adjuster to your property to assess the extent of the damage and determine the required repairs to return the property to its original condition. Keep in mind that claims adjusters work for the insurance company that hired them and do not have the policyholder’s best interests in mind when conducting the assessment.
Once the assessment is complete, the claims adjuster will provide a report of their findings. The adjuster’s report will serve as the basis for the insurance company’s settlement offer. Depending on the extent of the damage to your property, the insurer will either choose to repair or replace the damaged elements of the property. While repairs are typically more suitable for minor issues, replacement may be a more appropriate option when elements are damaged beyond repair and the cost of repairing the damaged element would exceed the cost of replacement or rebuilding from scratch.
What Are Your Options When the Insurer Chooses to Repair?
Just because the insurance company chooses to repair damaged elements in your property does not mean you should agree with the insurer’s assessment and do what it says. After all, you have rights as the policyholder and can explore other options. If you do not agree with the insurance company’s repair assessment, consider the following options:
Request a second opinion. As mentioned earlier, the insurance company’s decision on your claim is based on the assessment of the adjuster sent to your property. The adjuster has their employer’s best interests in mind, not yours, which means they may attempt to limit their company’s liability by paying you less than what your claim is worth. That is why you might want to request a second opinion and have your damages reevaluated by an unbiased third party.
Conduct the repairs yourself. Unless your insurance policy specifically requires hiring contractors or using the insurance company’s contractors to repair your property to restore it to its pre-loss condition, you can generally conduct the repairs yourself after receiving your check from the insurance company.
Negotiate with the insurance company. As a policyholder, it’s your right to negotiate with the insurance company if you do not agree with its assessment of your property damage claim. However, before engaging in negotiations, you need to clearly outline what you want to achieve and what the appropriate settlement would be. The negotiations are more likely to end in your favor if your arguments are reasonable and justifiable.
Try mediation or arbitration. Mediation and arbitration are both alternative dispute resolution methods that may be worth considering when a claimant and the insurance company cannot come to an agreement. Mediation involves hiring a neutral third party (mediator) to facilitate negotiation between the parties and reach a mutually acceptable agreement. In arbitration, the parties present their arguments and evidence to the arbitrator who then makes a determination for them.
File a lawsuit. Taking your dispute with the insurance company to court is a long and expensive process, which is why it’s typically the last resort when having disagreements with the insurer. However, in some cases, it may be the only viable option left to claim the damages owed to you.
Everyone’s situation is unique, which is why some claimants may benefit from requesting a second opinion and trying to negotiate with the insurance company, while others may need to go straight to suing the insurer. You might want to consult with a property claims attorney to discuss your best course of action when you do not agree with the insurance company’s assessment or decision to repair your property.
Importance of Understanding Your Insurance Policy
Often, disagreements between the property owner and the insurance company are the result of the policyholder’s lack of understanding of the policy terms. However, disagreements may also arise when the insurer is trying to misrepresent the terms of the policy.
When considering your options to challenge the insurance company’s repair assessment, you might want to review your insurance policy first. When the insurer denies your property damage claim or opts for repairs instead of replacement, the insurer will generally send a letter explaining the reasoning behind their decision. The letter will usually cite the appropriate parts of the insurance policy.
For example, one of the most misunderstood terms in property insurance is the so-called “right to repair” clause. Typically, when a policyholder’s claim is approved, the policyholder receives a monetary amount to reimburse them for the cost of repairs, allowing them to hire a contractor of their choice. However, the “right to repair” clause gives the insurance company the ability to make repairs to the property by using their own contractors.
Seek Guidance From Attorney Jeff Pekar
Trying to fight the insurance company’s decision on your property damage claim may feel like a daunting task, especially when you feel that the insurer is not treating you right. If this sounds like your situation, you might want to get legal counsel.
Attorney Jeff Pekar can command the attention and respect of the insurance company to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. His law firm serves clients throughout Western and Central Florida, including Fort Myers, Orlando, Sarasota, and Lakeland. Reach out today for a free consultation.