I don’t sell insurance, but I have customers contact me daily for insurance claim advice. The first item I request is a copy of their complete insurance policy. Most people seem to have misplaced and or can’t find a copy of their homeowner insurance policy but only have the insurance declaration pages.
The insurance declaration pages are just a summary of their insurance policy coverage. Like a book with names of the chapters, but without any reading material inside the book. Missing from the insurance declaration pages is the actual insurance contract and endorsements that the policy holder purchased.
When Florida insurance policy holders request a copy of their home owners insurance policy from their Florida insurance agent, their own insurance agent usually tells them they only have a copy of their insurance declaration pages too! The policy holder is then directed by me to request the policy directly from their Florida insurance company. I find it troublesome that Florida Insurance agents can’t supply their own customers with a copy of the policy that they sold to them!
Here is a recent story about a customer, whom I will call Bob, who owns a nice home in Boca Raton, Florida. Bob bought a new refrigerator. Within weeks after the refrigerator was installed it leaked and caused damage to his kitchen cabinets, kitchen walls and floor.
When Bob called me he had spent three months trying to settle his claim with the manufacture of the refrigerator and was not getting anywhere. Bob did not want the insurance claim to go on his home owner’s insurance record or have to pay a $2,500 deductible. In addition, Bob felt that the damage was caused by a defective part in the refrigerator. The insurance adjuster for the manufacturer agreed that the manufacturer was responsible for the damages and made a settlement offer of about $5,000 for Bob to repair his kitchen. Bob had talked to a couple of kitchen contractors they said the damages would exceed $30,000. Bob did not know what to do! I also reviewed Bob’s damaged kitchen and I agreed to write him an estimate that came to $42,000.
At this time, I asked Bob to get me a complete copy of his homeowner’s insurance policy. I suggested to Bob that if he continues to get nowhere with the refrigerator manufacturer he might be able to put his claim through his Florida home owner’s insurance company. His home owner’s insurance company will pay him for his damages and the Florida homeowners insurance company can go after the refrigerator manufacture to recoup their money and maybe his deductible too! However, I told Bob that the first thing I needed to do was read his insurance policy to see if my suggestion was a good idea for him?
Luckily Bob was able to quickly send me a complete copy of his Florida homeowners insurance policy for me to review.
As it turned out Bob Florida home owner’s insurance policy has a $10,000 limit on paying for water damage to his home! That means Bob is between a rock and hard place. He is dealing with the manufacturer to get paid by their insurance company and that insurance company is not bound under a contract of insurance to pay him. In other word there is no insurance contract between Bob and the manufacturer. On the other side of the coin, Bob can only get his homeowners insurance company to pay him up to $10,000 for his damages. Either way Bob may be out of pocket thousands of dollars?
Bob is a savvy business man who runs a big company out of state, but he relied on his insurance agent to get him the best insurance policy. It makes me wonder if Bob’s insurance agent really explained to Bob what he was buying?
Make Sure You Understand What Your Insurance Policy Covers You For!
Advocate Claims Public Adjusters will, at no cost to you, review your insurance policy and explain the coverages that you purchased! All you need to do is send me a complete copy of your insurance policy. From their you will be able to make an informed decision on whether or not you are adequately covered.
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Steven David Venook, President, Advocate Claims Public Adjusters