Monday, September 19, 2011
Money Monday: Insurance Nightmare
As we head into the peak of hurricane season, is your property truly protected? If you don't know your rights when it comes to your insurance policy, it could cost you big bucks. 7's Lynn Martinez has more in tonight's "Money Monday."
WSVN -- When Hurricane Wilma blew through in 2005, Christina Robinson didn't think much of it. At first.
Christina Robinson, Homeowner: "Then, we started to see some water coming through."
Her roof was damaged, so she called her insurance company. They sent out an adjustor.
Christina Robinson: "You want things back to normal as quickly as possible."
Christina received a check to pay for a new roof.
She thought the worst was behind her.
Christina Robinson: "Like a big Band-Aid, and it's going to be good and it's going to heal, and unfortunately, that's not what happened."
More than a year later, Christina started to notice a big problem in her bedroom, especially when it rained.
Christina Robinson: "Then, the paint starts to bubble up, then I started to see little drips come through the cracks of the wall."
Her wood-panel floors also started to pop up.
Christina Robinson: "I never would have imagined that this could have happened."
Turns out her walls were breached in the storm, but her insurance company never compensated her for that.
Christina Robinson: "I mean, years later, your house is falling apart, and what do I know about what's behind the walls?"
Dan Odess is a public adjustor. His job is to represent homeowners with their insurance claims.
Dan Odess, President, East Coast Public Adjustors: "Most homeowners and business owners don't know what their rights are under their own policy."
Dan says, if your home is damaged, you can dispute the amount of money the insurance company pays you to make sure you get what you need to rebuild your property.
And they will help you if your insurance company misses damage.
Dan Odess: "What most insureds are doing is relying on the fact that their insurance company is always going to have their best interest in mind."
Almost six years after Wilma, Christina had to re-open her claim.
The company settled, covering the cost of replacing all the drywall in her house.
She wishes she knew her rights years ago.
Christina Robinson: "Make sure that whatever needs to be done is done now, so you don't have anguish and more expenses and aggravation than you need down the road."
Lynn Martinez: "Public adjustors work on a contingency basis. They don't get paid unless you do, and their fees are regulated by the state."
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FOR MORE INFORMATION:
East Coast Public Adjustors
224 Palermo Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Tel: (855) 34-STORM