Everyone I know can remember exactly where they were when Hurricane Michael tore through the Sunshine State of Florida in 2018. I personally was at home with my family, battening down the hatches and making sure our emergency supplies were sufficient for what was to come. I remember following Truchelut’s announcements, and the fear that our whole community was sharing that this was going to be far more devastating than any storms we had seen before. Tensions were at their highest when Truchelut began to liveblog with various newscasters, and reported that even he; an expert in the field, felt this hurricane was “legitimately terrifying”. When the storm finally hit, it was unreal, I remember my kids describing the howling of the wind like the howling of a pack of wolves.

The damage to our property was, on initial inspection, miraculously minimal. Some of our neighbors had trees fall through their carports, others had sections of roof ripped from their house, we counted ourselves quite lucky. It wasn’t until around a week after the weather had calmed down that we began to see the water damage that was threatening to corrode the foundation of our house. Without a moment of hesitation we contacted our insurance company to see what could be done to save our home, it took them some time to send their adjuster over, and a few more days for him to get back to us with three heartbreaking words: “insurance claim denied”.

Apparently we were to blame for not reporting some mysterious gaps which had allowed the intense rain to penetrate our house, given that it appeared to be more gradual than sudden damage. They took absolutely no responsibility and we were stuck with thousands of dollars in repairs that we thought we had prepared for by investing in a comprehensive policy. This was the most devastating effect we experienced from Michael, and the financial crux it had born upon us still haunts me to this day. 

This whole scenario has created a skeptic within me when it comes to insurance companies. I went through the terms and conditions of the policy contract and lo and behold, they were able to deny the claim from a clause stating that typical Florida storm damage which merely catalyses underlying issues is not their responsibility. Brooding on the devastation to not only my financial situation, but also to my trust in companies which I had known for years, I decided that it was an opportunity to look forward into the future and be better prepared for what was to come.

I began asking around for advice, could I sue the company for claiming to cover water damage when they were able to weasel out of paying with such grace? The few friends I have in law advised against it, as the company would have a strong legal team and funds to keep them safe. Instead I was informed of the existence of professionals who can discuss the situation with the  insurance company on my behalf, and can ensure a fair amount is paid: public adjusters. 

A public adjuster is a professional claims handler who advocates for the policyholder negotiating a claimant's insurance claim. Their technical expertise and ability to interpret the ambiguous wording in insurance policies allow property owners to receive the maximum amount of compensation for their claims. Simply put, a public adjuster is a representative of the policyholder who advises, manages, and submits a claim to the policyholder's insurance company.

Referring back to my friends who work in law, I asked for any recommendations they might have for a good public adjuster in Florida. I was informed there were almost 2,000 public adjusters within Florida alone, a clear indication that there had become a necessity for their services in recent years. Doing my due diligence and checking on each recommendation from them suddenly seemed like a daunting task, so I asked around within my closer circles, a friend who had recently had a denied claim resolved by their Naples-based public adjuster recommended a company.

As an independent blogger I don’t like to push individual companies but if you are interested you can see their website here.

I did what I always do when considering a new company, I read through their testimonies and saw an array of clearly honest messages from people truly grateful to their respective adjusters. On calling them to request a quote on what they might be able to do for me, they quickly informed me that the request would come at no cost, and if I did choose to go with them that they have a policy of not charging if they don’t gain any funds for their customers. A wave of relief rushed over me, I might actually be able to fight back against these insurance company fraudsters who must’ve thought they’d heard the last of me. 

The entire process was almost effortless on my part, within 24 hours they had re-opened the claim file with the insurance company. As promised within the week their public adjuster came to review the damages to my house and immediately noted that there was almost no previous underlying issue and that the storm was entirely to blame for the water damage. Following all of this they organized all communication to go through their office, and if the insurance company was to attempt to call me, I was to refer them back to the public adjusters office.

Shortly after all of this, I received an extremely fair settlement from the insurance company, minus the fees of the public adjuster. Compared to receiving nothing at all, this felt like winning the lottery.

So if you’re looking for some insurance that your insurance company will pay you the amount you deserve, I highly recommend investing in a public adjuster you trust. A very special and personal shout-out to the team at the adjusters for all their hard work, if you’re anywhere in South Florida they are your best bet when it comes to maximizing your claims.

I hope this has been helpful to all my readers out there! Also hoping that the storm season this year is well-received knowing that you’re covered on all bases.

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