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Storm damage? Make sure you get all the compensation you are owed

In the last few months, the number of storms and natural disasters is extraordinary. It seems like there is no end to the damage—from Puerto Rico to Texas and Florida to Mexico, many folks have endured extreme devastation to their homes and other property. As a result, insurance companies have been flooded with new claims.

What happens, though, when your insurance company decides not to make good on your claim? If you’ve paid your premiums and kept your policy up to date, can your insurance company just decide not to pay?

How to handle the fallout

The good news is that you do have recourse. An insurance policy is a legally binding contract. As such, your insurance cannot simply just ignore your right to be paid. But beware, an insurance company is in the business of making money.

Accordingly, some of their tactics include undervaluing costs of repair or replacement, as well as alleging that the damage sustained predated the storm. Here are two good ways to refute those assertions:

Document damage when it does occur: Don’t begin cleanup until your adjuster has been out to make an assessment. Make sure you take photos as soon as possible so you have proof of the exact extent of the damage.

Hire your own adjuster: In the event your insurance company does not budge, you have the right to hire a private adjuster. A private adjuster works for you and has your best interest at heart. They are also well versed in insurance practices and policies. Payment is usually a percentage of the amount the adjuster recoups for you.

Still having problems?

If, after exhausting all your options, you are still having problems with your company not honoring your claim, it would be wise to consult an attorney who practices in the area of bad-faith insurance claims. Often it takes legal action before an insurance company will pay attention--and pay up!

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