Sandy Victims May Need Legal Help with Claims Disputes [AUDIO]
Could you be turning your back on tens of thousands of dollars you need to rebuild from Superstorm Sandy by settling your insurance claims too quickly?
Law practices that handle insurance claims disputes are saying many of you are.
Former Claims Adjuster and Case Manager Mario Corletti of Los Angeles-based Price Law Group says insurance companies are counting on you not to challenge them.
"Ninety percent of people that have insurance claims usually listen to what their insurance companies are telling them, according to Corletti".
"They've been paying premiums for years. They trust their insurance companies and when their insurance companies say we're going to pay you this much money for this claim, they usually say okay even though they don't like the number that they give."
However, Price encourages you to seek legal representation to challenge settlement amounts because he says there are a number of factors that go into determining insurance pay out amounts as well as a number of things that can go wrong that can cause you to get unfairly shortchanged.
For example, he says an inexperienced claims adjuster may have examined your damage, or the adjuster may not have been thorough.
There's also a computer program used by adjusters to determine settlement amounts but the program may be comparing your losses with a less expensive part of the country. He says even if an adjuster is good and thorough and wants to help you, when your claim is submitted to the company, a Desk Adjuster may arbitrarily slash the estimate submitted.
In many cases insurance companies issue claims checks right away but Price says even if you cashed and used the checks it's still not too late to challenge it.
"We can always reopen something and just because they send us a check, I always tell our clients, deposit the checks. That's fine. Don't sign a piece of paper that's saying this is the final check and I'm agreeing to accept no more money."
While we're hearing about recovery efforts along boardwalks and tourism areas in beach front communities hard hit by Sandy, the pace of recovery for homeowners has been moving at a slower rate. The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) has partnered with the American Arbitration Association to offer a free mediation program to help get insurance claims get settled and speed up the home recovery pace. Insurance experts say anywhere from 93 to 95 percent of Sandy-related insurance claims are now settled.
You can reach the Price Law Group that has a location in New Jersey at 866-612-5701 or 855-91-CLAIM, and on their website.