“Lowball” offers being made to settle claims are among the top complaints coming from policyholders dealing with Hurricane Michael damage. In some cases, insurance companies use this tactic to reduce claim payout (a sign of bad faith), but in others, these lowball offers can be due to improper claim adjusting. Keep reading to learn the most common reasons for low insurance claim settlement offers.
1.Improper Damage Assessment
The most common reason for low settlement offers is due to missed damage in the adjuster’s estimate. In a previous post, we discussed how the person documenting the damage to your home or business could impact the outcome of your claim. Insurance adjuster experience level is something policyholders dealing with Hurricane Michael damage should watch out for. Before you accept the settlement offer, you can request a reinspection of your home or business to ensure the adjuster’s estimate includes ALL the damage.
2. Depreciation Adjustment
The depreciation adjustment used to determine claim settlements can cause “low-ball” offers. Deprecation can be figured in several ways depending on who is making the calculations. A standard way of calculating depreciation is to calculate a percentage based on the age of an item and its full life expectancy. For example, if an item is one year old and the average life is 20 years, 5% depreciation will be applied. The depreciation amount can also be based on usage. Having a professional on your side experienced with these issues can be of benefit to policyholders.
3. Hurricane Deductible
Florida hurricane deductibles are one of the highest deductible policyholders will have to pay when making a claim. If the deductible is calculated incorrectly it will reduce claim payout. In addition, more could be owed under the policy if the damage was not properly assessed.
However, if the losses exceed the policy, you may not have to pay your deductible. For example, let’s say you have coverage up to $30,000 but your loss causes damages of $35,000. In this case, your deductible should be “absorbed” as you have already shared in the loss. It is not uncommon to find that an insurance company has improperly calculated or applied the policy deductible.
If you were given a claim settlement offer from your insurance company and it is much less than the actual cost to repair your home or business, you have options. Contact us online or by calling 813-940-1500 to learn more. There is no charge and no obligation.