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Jean Says What?

By November 16, 2022News, Personal Insurance

A CLAIM IS A CLAIM – NO MATTER HOW SMALL

I recently had a client ask me if it matters if a claim is vandalism versus hail or wind. They wanted to know if it would make a difference in how it affects future policy premiums. The answer is no, a claim is counted as a claim no matter the amount.

However, if a large region is affected by a hailstorm for example, some insurance companies will not count that as a claim against you. Instead, it is categorized as a “catastrophic loss” or “cat loss.” A catastrophe is defined by the insurance industry as an event that “causes insured property losses in excess of established monetary amounts and impacts a significant number of policyholders and insureds.”

It’s important to check with us, your insurance agent, when a service provider tells you something will be covered by insurance, because they don’t know how insurance applies to a specific situation.

Most insurance companies consider the total number of claims turned in during the policy period, regardless of amount, to determine if there will be any loss of credits or surcharges applied at renewal time. They will also look at the frequency of claims.

It is always best to give us a call to discuss before turning in a claim. Sometimes the damage is below the deductible, and we can offer solutions to help. We are always here to help you figure it all out.

WHO CAN I TRUST FOR ROOF REPAIRS?

If you believe you have some roof damage due to wind or hail, please use your own roofing company to check it out for you. Be very careful about using roofing companies that you have not thoroughly vetted. For example, if you get a knock on your door from a roofer and they say, “Oh we just replaced your neighbors’ roof and we think you might have some damage – can we take a look?” We have seen several hail/wind roof claims over the years that turned into vandalism claims. In these instances, when the insurance inspectors went out to verify the damages, it appeared to be from man-made causes versus hail or wind.

Remember to always ask for a certificate of insurance and proof of worker’s comp from any contractor working on your property. If you need some options for roofers or other service professionals, I would start with asking your friends, neighbors, and co-workers for referrals. We also have a list of trusted contractors that we can share with you.

SHOULD I “SHOP” MY INSURANCE EVERY YEAR?

You have probably come across several life and money experts online that claim you should “shop your insurance yearly.” I disagree. Most insurance companies, or carriers, give a loyalty credit for being with them for a while. I do think that it makes sense to complete an in-depth look at all your policies every so often. That is what we, as your independent insurance agent, are here for.

There are insurance companies that add a surcharge for the number of carriers you have been with in the past. So, before you spend a ton of time gathering options, give us a call. We can check out the options available to you with other carriers. When you have history with a carrier and something happens (i.e., a claim, service issue, or coverage issue), we as your agent will have more leverage to advocate on your behalf to the carrier.

It is important to remember that not all policies are equal. If a carrier is offering you a much lower price than you have now, it is likely because it provides less coverage. We are here to help you sift through the fine print and look out for your best interests.

We’d love to hear from you -please reach out! We are here to help.

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