We have written before about what to look for to detect sinkhole activity if you suspect your home may be affected. There are many telltale signs of sinkhole activity and we covered many of them in the article we linked to at the beginning of this one. However, many people may not be fully aware of the steps to take after they discover signs of sinkhole damage. Here are some steps to take in the event your hole may be damaged by sinkhole activity.
1. Research public adjusters. Unless you are willing to deal with lots of paperwork and phone calls fighting with your property insurance provider, you will need a public adjuster to handle the details. Settling a sinkhole claim can be a daunting process which can take a long time to resolve. The process can be a time-consuming mess as insurance companies frequently want to force homeowners to repair on their terms. This can be bad for homeowners as they will frequently try to do the work cheaply, which can lead to shoddy repairs.
2. Call a public adjuster. Before dealing with your home insurance provider, it helps to have someone on your side who will fight for your interests. The insurance companies are notorious for delaying repairs or providing inadequate damage estimates. A public adjuster will negotiate the process with the insurance properties, keeping you from having to burden yourself with all of the paperwork and minutia. This will make things much easier for you, and you will have a professional working hard to get your home repaired properly.
3. Start researching lawyers. Once you have found a public adjuster and signed on with them, it is prudent to start thinking long term. You will hopefully not need to hire a lawyer as, hopefully, the public adjuster can handle everything and resolve your claim themselves. However, if they hit an impasse, which with certain insurers is more likely than with others, you may need to seek legal representation to get the insurance company to hold up their end of the policy agreement.
4. Wait for the inspections and appraisals to be conducted. Once the public adjuster is at work on the claim, they will get preparations in place to have your home inspected. This is standard procedure. You will want to be available when the inspectors come through to make sure they see everything you have seen in regards to the damage. This does not mean you should micromanage them. Stay out of the way unless necessary. Once the assessments are complete, you will have a repair estimate and can decide how to proceed.
5. Make a decision. Here is where things get tricky. Once you have the initial repair estimate, it is up to you to decide whether to accept it or get a second opinion through a neutral evaluator. Your public adjuster will advise you here, so you can typically trust them to make the right call. Neutral evaluation comes into play if you suspect the original estimate is inadequate to properly repair all of the sinkhole damage. If you go for neutral evaluation to attempt to get a higher estimate, Be aware that it might not get the result you want, or the insurance company might ignore it altogether. If the latter happens and you truly believe that the first estimate was unacceptable, then it is time to decide if you should hire a lawyer. If the insurance company will not make the repairs properly, taking them to court may be necessary to get them to comply with their policy agreement.
Those are the basic steps to take when you suspect there may be sinkhole damage to your home. It is a simplified, streamlined example, but it gives you the framework to get started and an insight into the process. If you found this helpful, check back with Spring Hill, Florida Realtor Bonnie Barbieri and subscribe to our site’s news feed to get more helpful information such as this.
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