The Test of Your Coverage

The test of your insurance comes when you file a claim. However, you want to know your insurance company’s track record before you have to file a claim. You can check with the state insurance department to see what complaints have been filed against an insurer you are considering. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners also has information available for the insurance consumer.

Consumer Reports did a survey of insureds evaluating clams paying results and premium costs. They report their findings on 15+ companies. We used this list to get three quotes to review our coverage.

Issues with claims surface at the $30,000 mark and above. 18% of those surveyed by Consumer Reports expressed dissatisfaction with the claims process over this amount, while only 4% had complaints if the claim was under $30,000.

If you are filing a claim after a natural disaster, you are likely to see lower claim payments. This is a time it could make sense to negotiate for a higher settlement. Consumer Reports survey showed an average of $6,000 increase in payments for those who negotiated their claim.

If you have a dispute over a claim, you may ask for an outside independent contractor. Another alternative is to use a public adjuster. They will charge 10% of the settlement amount, yet they receive an average of 19% to over 700% additional payout on losses they handle. You can find a public adjuster at www.napia.com, the website for the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

Be aware that negotiating and disputing a claim will slow down your settlement.

Make a point to periodically review your insurance coverage. Do it before a crisis is looming. When the Robie Creek fire in 2012 caused our subdivision to be on evacuation alert, I was the 16th insured calling the company to assure ourselves of adequate coverage.

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