Welcome to Florida’s Rainy Season!

loose and broken roof tiles

Just imagine walking into your kitchen to find this disaster! A ceiling collapse like this can happen to your home after going through the recent rain soaked days we’ve had in South Florida combined with the very strong windy days we had last month. And unfortunately this is not uncommon if you have existing Hurricane Irma damage that you weren’t unaware of. 

The good news is that there is still time to file a claim with your homeowners insurance to help you recover from this type of loss, however, it must be filed before September 11, 2020.  If you are experiencing roof leaks, or staining on your ceiling you may have existing hurricane damage. Contact one of our licensed professional public adjusters at Claims Aid Consultants for a free inspection and evaluation today at 954.482.5246. 

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Season Sign With Stormy Background

These Four Category 5 U.S. Hurricane Landfalls Prove Why You Should Be Prepared Before Hurricane Season Begins

The four Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the United States were all tropical storms just three days before they struck, providing a reminder of why you should be prepared before the season begins in case there are rapidly-escalating storms.

Hurricane preparedness week in the U.S. is an annual NOAA event that calls attention to the importance of making preparations before the season begins. This includes restocking supplies in your hurricane kit, checking important documents and your insurance coverage and also making sure you have multiple destination options if ordered to leave a hurricane evacuation zone.

It will also be important this year to factor in the latest CDC guidelines for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, NOAA says.

Hurricane Michael in 2018 is the most recent Category 5 to hit the U.S. It was just a tropical storm a few days earlier. It brought catastrophic storm surge to the Florida Panhandle and also caused extensive wind damage well inland from the panhandle into southwest Georgia.

Michael was a tropical storm with 50 mph winds early in the afternoon on Oct. 7, 2018. About 72 hours later, it roared ashore in Florida with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph.

The 2020 hurricane season is predicted to be more active than usual, but it’s impossible to know what, if any, areas of the U.S. coastline might be threatened this year.

Some locations go many years without facing a significant threat of a tropical storm or hurricane; that can lead to complacency. So it’s important to make sure you have your plan in place prior to each season instead of getting caught off guard.

Call us today for a FREE POLICY EVALUATION. Contact Claims Aid Consultants Public Adjusters at 954-48-CLAIM (482-5246).

RED Flag Warning

Soliciting for or engaging in insurance claim adjusting without a license is a third degree felony in Florida.

Has a Contractor, Roofer, Plumber or Restoration Company Offered To Handle Your Insurance Claim? If they are not licensed public adjusters, they may be committing a crime!

Only licensed public insurance adjusters and attorneys are permitted to solicit to represent policy holders in the claim process. Navigating an insurance claim is such a foreign experience for many homeowners and business owners, insureds are often victims who unknowingly trust people who say they can help when they are not trained or licensed to do so.  In most states, the licensure of a public insurance adjuster can be found on the department of insurance’s website. Florida public adjusters licenses can be checked here.

Report the unlicensed practice of adjusting – click above or visit this link

11 Reasons You Should Hire A Public Insurance Adjuster

interior of the house flooded with water. 3d illustration

You’re at a disadvantage when you have major house damage or a total loss of your home. You face a property insurance claim process that could easily stretch out for more than a year, require reams of paperwork and leave you mentally and physically exhausted. Unless you’ve already run the gauntlet of a major home insurance claim, you don’t know what to expect. Most people don’t learn much about insurance until they have a loss.

Public adjusters work on behalf of policyholders to help people get all that they’re entitled to from insurance claims. They help evaluate damage and rebuilding costs, track the flow of insurance payments and amounts due, and work with home insurance companies to expedite their clients’ insurance claims.

Here’s what takes many people by surprise when they have large home insurance claims, whether it’s due to fire or natural disasters.

1. A claim for a total loss of a house can cost less than rebuilding a damaged house.

New construction from scratch costs less per foot than construction for rebuilding. Often it’s “easier” to fix your problem if your house is simply gone, rather than to try to repair damaged sections.

“When you start from scratch (new construction), you don’t have to tie into existing construction — some of which may be outdated, so you have a clean slate to start with. Also, it’s often more costly to bring your old house up to code than to start fresh.

2. If you have a mortgage, your insurance checks will be made out to you and your mortgage bank.

Your mortgage holder is likely listed as a “loss payee” on your home insurance policy, so payments for rebuilding are issued to both you and your lien holder. And don’t expect your mortgage holder to sign the check over to you.

Policyholders “have to endorse and send the check to the mortgage company, and it will sit in an escrow account until repairs are made. Mortgage banks typically release the funds back to you in three installments over the course of your reconstruction. Mortgage companies want to be sure your property is repaired before releasing payment to you. As a result, you may have to advance your own money for constructions costs until the mortgage company verifies the repairs.

3. Don’t cash any insurance checks marked “full and final settlement.”

In some states, it’s illegal for an insurer to issue a check like this. You don’t want to cut yourself off from what you’re entitled to if you later discover that not everything has been paid for, which may happen if you cash a “final” payment check.

4. Don’t sign a release on your home insurance claim.

This takes the home insurer off the hook for any future payments on your claim. Insurance companies ask the insured to do it when they think there’s a problem or big dispute coming. The home insurance policy does not require the insured to execute a release, so why should you?

5. Don’t let your insurance company replace your Pottery Barn stuff with Walmart stuff.

The values of particular items are often disputed in home insurance claims. If you’ve bought expensive items, your insurance company may say it can replace them with very similar items from Walmart or Target. The insured is entitled to be paid for what he had — not a knock-off version of it.

6. Many condo owners have no idea that they need their own home insurance policies.

They think that the condo association’s policy covers their property. However, the association’s policy covers only common areas, typically up to the walls of your condo. If you want your own space and belongings protected, you need an HO-6 home insurance policy. Otherwise, all your belongings, furniture, appliances and cabinets are uninsured.

Without an HO-6, you may have no liability protection if you’re sued for something that happens within your condo, like a slip-and-fall injury.

7. If you’re evacuated, don’t sleep at a shelter.

Your home insurance covers your “additional living expenses” if there’s a mandatory evacuation, including hotels and food — even additional transportation costs. Why sleep on a cot when you could go to a hotel? You don’t realize you have that coverage until you have a loss.

8. After a widespread disaster, insurance companies will bring in company adjusters from out of state who aren’t familiar with local costs.

Adjusters from outside your area will not have a handle on how much tradespeople such as electricians or plumbers charge, or how much it costs to rebuild a house. The insurance company will bring in out-of-state adjusters who are probably not licensed in your state. They’re not as familiar with local building codes.

9. People regularly settle for less than the total cost of their damages because they are exhausted.

Especially near the end of a complicated claim such as a total home loss, homeowners just want the process to be over. Even if your policy entitles you to “replacement cost” of your belongings, home insurance companies will initially issue checks for your belongings’ actual cash value. Then, later, when you replace the items, you need to submit your receipts to get the remainder due. In reality, most people don’t go back and submit receipts because they’re so frustrated with the claim, they’re done with it. They’ll settle for less and close the claim and rebuild for less, and the insurance company knows this.

10. The value of hiring a public insurance adjuster.

Hiring a public claims adjuster can put you on an even playing field with your insurance company. Your insurer may assign three different adjusters to work on your claim: one for “additional living expenses,” one for your personal property and one for the building portion of your claim. A public adjuster will be able to explain the process and work on your behalf handling the countless meetings, e-mails, phone calls and paper documents that flow for a large claim. The insured can get on with daily life and leave the insurance adjusting to a professional.

11. Public adjuster fees.

Most public adjusters calculate their fees based on a percentage of your total claim, which gives them incentive to maximize your insurance payments. Even if you’re working with the best home insurance companies, it’s better to hire a public adjuster early in the process in order to streamline your claim. It’s difficult for an adjuster to come in halfway or at the end of a claim and try to work backwards to assess the situation. An adjuster hired at the end of a claim to help squeeze out the remainder due could charge 20 percent because he still has to determine the value.

If you do need to file a claim.

Contact Claims Aid Consultants Public Adjusters to help your claims process go smoothly and obtain the best settlement possible.

July Update: 2019 Hurricane Prediction – Average Season With Two Major Storms

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a “near-normal” hurricane season in 2019, with between two and four major hurricanes expected. However, only two major hurricanes hit in 2018, but both made direct strikes on the United States, causing billions of dollars in damage and claiming dozens of lives.

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1 and will run until Nov. 30. However, Subtropical Storm Andrea has already formed, making 2019 the fifth consecutive year to have a named storm outside of the Atlantic hurricane season.

What are the predictions for hurricanes in 2019?

About nine to 15 named storms are expected to form, including four to eight hurricanes and two to four “major” hurricanes––storms that reach Category 3 to Category 5.

This year, there is an ongoing weak El Nino, which is expected to suppress activity. At the same time, however, warmer water temperatures and a stronger than average West African monsoon are expected to increase the odds of hurricanes.

Despite the prediction of an average season, researchers remind residents along the coast that “it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”

Researchers will release their final hurricane forecast for 2019 on Aug. 5.

How do you set up a free consultation with Claims Aid Consultants Public Adjusters? Contact Us either by phone or e-mail and we will set up an appointment to meet with you free of charge and with no obligation.

Firework Safety on the 4th of July

4th of july graphic illustration

Fourth of July fireworks can turn a fun-filled celebration into a painful memory if you do not exercise caution. Even the most innocent-looking fireworks can cause injury or a fire. For example, a sparkler can reach 1,800° F, a temperature hot enough to melt gold. Keep reading to learn firework tips and facts to help keep your Independence Day celebration safe.

Firework Safety Tips

  • Wear safety goggles when handling fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby when lighting fireworks. Soak fireworks that you lit or those that are duds.
  • Do not light fireworks in a container, especially those made of glass or metal.
  • Follow the packaging instructions for firework storage. Otherwise, store them in a cool, dry place.
  • Always require adult supervision when children are around fireworks.
  • Do not hold fireworks in your hand as you ignite them.
  • Do not try to relight fireworks that malfunction.
  • Ignite fireworks a safe distance from your home.
  • Make sure your pets are in a safe place before lighting fireworks because the noise can scare them.

Remember this Independence Day: playing it safe with fireworks is more fun than being in the emergency room because of a preventable injury or seeing your house go up in flames.

Property damage as a result of fireworks

Fire prevention is important when fireworks are involved. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks caused about 15,600 fires in the United States in 2013. 1,400 structures and 200 vehicles caught fire because of the lack of fireworks safety measures. The remaining 14,000 fires occurred outside or in other areas. Practicing appropriate fire prevention strategies, such as those listed above, can help reduce this number during the Fourth of July holiday.

The National Fire Protection Association also reports that a whopping 47 percent of all fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks. This means that almost half of total reported fires occurred because of the lack of fireworks safety measures. Having a fire safety plan can reduce the likelihood of property damage and decrease the risk of fire.

Practice good fire prevention and fireworks safety tips this Fourth of July and keep us all safe as we celebrate Independence Day. Happy Fourth of July!

Today is the First Day of Hurricane Season and Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

DP web bannerThe 2018 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.

This sales tax holiday begins Friday, June 1, 2018 and extends through Thursday, June 7, 2018. During this sales tax holiday period, qualifying items related to disaster preparedness are exempt from sales tax.

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Our Public Adjusters Got You Covered…

Woman Holding The Buckets Under The Water Leakage
If you have ever suffered a property loss due to a hurricane, fire or water damage and had to file a claim with your homeowners insurance company you already know how complicated it can be. And understanding the process can be even more frustrating. Your insurance company will assign or hire an adjuster to process your claim and their goal is to represent the interests of their employer (the insurance company) in order to limit their liability and damages paid out.
 
What your insurance company will never tell you is that you are entitled to have your own representation (a public adjuster) in the recovery of your loss.
 
Believe it or not, an insured will rarely recover a fair settlement handling a claim on their own. Claims Aid Consultants are Florida licensed and bonded Public Adjusters. We are trained and experienced professionals who help residential property owners like yourself after a loss. We are experts with the claims filing process including all conditions associated with the policy, and will guide you every step of the way through your recovery.
 
If you filed a claim and were not fairly compensated, or was paid under deductible (meaning your claim was covered but did not meet the threshold of your deductible so you received no funds) or if your claim was denied, please contact us for a free, no obligation evaluation. We are able to re-open your claim to seek a satisfactory resolution if the date of loss has been within the last 4 years.
 
We truly value our clients and the level of trust vested in us throughout the claims process. This is precisely what has contributed to our company’s success which has largely been built on referrals.
 
If you have any questions you can reach us at (954) 482-5246 or (772) 933-4449. We are available 7 days a week and 24/7 for emergency service.

Sun Sentinel Article Addresses a Very Important Subject Regarding Your Insurance Claim

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Article published in the Sun Sentinel on May 15, 2018 in the Money section.

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Claims Aid Consultants, Inc. is a Florida Public Adjusting firm. We exclusively represent home and business owners after they have suffered a flood, fire or other disaster for which they make an insurance claim. Claims Aid Consultants works on behalf of the policyholder to ensure the insurance claim process is navigated and documented correctly.

If you need help with property damage, visit the contact us page here or call Antonio Hernandez PA at 954-482-5246.

The Benefits of Preparing an Accurate Home Inventory

woman working on laptop computer

Creating a Home Inventory

How many possessions could the average homeowner name from memory? That number is likely much smaller than it should be. Without looking through your drawers, cabinets and closets, most homeowners may find it challenging to not only list these items, but to provide descriptions, purchase dates, current prices and other relevant details.

Why should creating an accurate inventory of all personal possessions be at the top of your to-do list? Because it is nearly impossible to remember all the contents you had in your home if it’s destroyed. Providing this information is an important and required part of filing a property insurance claim and getting the maximum financial settlement that is owed to you under your policy.

Here are a few tips on what to do when preparing a personal property inventory:

First, start with one room by writing down every item contained in that room. It is important to include everything in the inventory – both big and small – so the kids’ toys, old CD’s and everything in the junk drawer should be documented. Include details such as: Age, purchase price, colors, materials, model numbers, features and brands. Not including enough detail – such as the brand, fabric or style of a couch – can lead to lower insurance payouts.

Then, move onto the next room and repeat the process until all rooms have been inventoried.

Your next step is to take photos and/or slow videos of every room including shots of opened drawers, cabinets, closets and dressers. Please note that photos are much easier to use when filing insurance claims than videos are, so pictures are the preferred method. When it comes to inventories, photos are worth a thousand words.

Store the inventory and backup documentation on a server or in the cloud along with any photos, videos, scanned receipts, warranties, credit card statements or other backup documentation. A safety deposit box or a trusted relative or friend’s home can be used to store printed documents. Remember that the inventory should be looked at as a working document – so when new items are purchased, they should be added to the list. At a minimum, the list and photo documentation should be reviewed and updated every couple of years.

Benefits of Creating an Inventory

There are two surprising benefits of creating an inventory. First, the process of creating a home inventory can help you determine if you have purchased enough insurance coverage. You may find that your personal property is worth much more than the amount for which you are covered in which case, you will need to speak to your agent or broker about increasing your coverage. This often occurs with renter’s insurance.

The second surprising benefit of conducting your own personal inventory is that a detailed inventory can help prove and verify a policyholder’s standard of living — especially for high dollar items such as expensive clothing, artwork, wines, décor and other collectibles.

We strongly advise all policyholders to prepare an accurate personal property inventory so that it will be ready in the event a fire, hurricane or other disaster that damages or destroys your home.

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Claims Aid Consultants, Inc. is a Florida Public Adjusting firm. We exclusively represent home and business owners after they have suffered a flood, fire or other disaster for which they make an insurance claim. Claims Aid Consultants Public Adjusters works on behalf of the policyholder to ensure the insurance claim process is navigated and documented correctly.

If you need help with property damage, contact us through the contact form on the right or call Antonio Hernandez PA at 954-482-5246.