What I Learned After a Kitchen Fire in my Home
A while back we had a fire in our kitchen. We were absolutely devastated as there was a substantial amount of fire damage to the kitchen and also the hallway. As we were insured, we contacted our insurance company and started the claim process. They sent round one of their loss adjusters to assess the damage and a while later they got in touch with me and recommended a cash offer to settle the insurance claim.
Now as a single mother I did not know the first thing about building works, let alone the costs involved to get my home repaired. Once I received the settlement offer, even with my limited knowledge, I thought that it would barely cover the costs of repairs. After speaking to a local builder, he agreed that it would be very tight, if at all possible to complete repairs on that budget. Now I was really worried and was not sure what to do?
The first thing I did was to ask one of my friends for advice as they had suffered from flooding a few years back, so they were in a similar position to myself. They told me that it was pretty standard for an insurance company to send out one of their loss adjusters to assess the damage and make an offer to cover the costs. In their case they also thought that the settlement offer was well below their expectations and it turned out to be exactly true and in the end they were out of pocket once they had organised the repairs.
Now I was getting really worried, after all don’t you pay your insurance company to look after you when the worst happens? That is what they are there for right? I decided to do a bit of research on the internet to find out my options. I was amazed at what I found out!
Independent Loss Adjusters Who Work For The Public?
I learned that you can hire your own independent loss adjusters who can work on your behalf rather than your insurer. I thought to myself, this would be great but the truth is, I just cannot afford to hire a loss adjuster, especially with the extra costs that I am incurring due to having to keep the children occupied and out of the house whist this disaster has unfolded.
- The would manage my insurance claim on my behalf for a set fee of 10% plus VAT
- The would manage my insurance claim at no cost to me if I agreed to allow them to appoint their recommended building network who would cover their fees on my behalf.
I preferred to go with option one but I was worried about covering the fee myself. After a telephone conversation with a friendly representative from the loss adjusting company, he explained that any fees would be taken directly from the final settlement at the end of the insurance claim. Therefore, I wouldn’t have to worry about having to find the money out of my own pocket beforehand.
He also told me that if I agreed to let them manage the claim, they would take over all contact with my insurer and negotiate with them on my behalf. I was told that they are not there to gain me extra money outside of my policy coverage but at the same time they would examine my insurance policy to ensure that I received everything that I was entitled to. For example; they arranged for temporary accommodation as it was covered within my insurance policy.
He went on to tell me that they were members of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters and were licensed to hold client money through the Financial Conduct Authority. I’m not really sure what this meant but it did sound reassuring.
I Was Really Glad I Got Some Help With My Fire Claim
In the end, I decided to give the insurance claims management company a try and was really happy with the result. They sent round one of their loss adjusters to examine the damage and in turn informed my insurance company what they considered it would cost to repair my home.
They continued to negotiate with my insurer until they both came to a figure that they could both agree on. The end result was that my insurer settled the claim with a much higher amount than they had previously offered me, even once my loss adjusters deducted their fee.
In conclusion, I would say that If ever you have to deal with insurance claims I would definitely recommend looking into getting a reputable loss adjusting company to look after your needs. Unfortunately, most people do not know that they are entitled to do so, just like i didn’t.