LL&D Law
Carefully Review Insurance Before Buying

by Johnny G. Beech
7/7/2010 10:20:00 AM

      You live in Oklahoma so you know the risk of damage spring storms can cause. You believe you’ve taken the steps necessary to protect yourself and your property by purchasing insurance. Your insurance agent has assured you the coverage you have will repair or replace your house, roof and vehicles in the event you find yourself in the path of a serious weather event.

     However, reliance on the agent without conducting a careful examination of your true insurance coverage can be disastrous. Insurance policies are filled with legal jargon that can be difficult to follow. Insurance policies can provide coverage in one paragraph while taking it away in the next. To avoid problems when the storm has passed and it has become too late, you should review your coverage with your agent on an annual basis. The prudent homeowner may also have her attorney review the policy to insure it actually covers what has been represented. For instance, many policies in the last several years apply a significant deductible to homes damaged by storms, or no longer offer replacement value for a roof, unless you pay extra. If you find yourself with such a policy that is not tied to replacement cost value you may be forced to pay a substantial out of pocket amount to get your home repaired.

      A May storm has passed by your home dropping baseball sized hail for several minutes. Your vehicle is battered and you are sure your roof received significant damage as well. What shall you do? The first step is to contact your insurance agent and file your claim. This is a process that can be accomplished over the phone. An adjuster hired by the insurance company will make contact with you, schedule a time to examine the damage and adjust your loss. If you are unhappy with the offer made by the adjuster you can obtain a couple of estimates from repair companies and present them to the adjuster for consideration. You are now engaged in the negotiation process.

     If negotiations with the adjuster do not result in an agreement, you may wish to contact an attorney for assistance. Attorneys have been trained in negotiation and are usually familiar with the process of negotiating insurance benefits. However, even this process may not achieve the desired result, and you may have to file a lawsuit.



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