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About: Kiarah Bates

Name  :  Kiarah Bates
 
E-mail  :  Kiarahbates@gmail.com
 
Website  :  www.adjusteradvocate.com
 
Profile  :  Kiarah Bates is one of our public adjusters in our Oklahoma office. She is a graduate of Oklahoma City University where she earned her Bachelor in Mass Communications. Kiarah is proud to be Level II certified in Xactimate training. Kiarah has been with us since 2017. Kiarah is a member of the Seminole Nation Tribe of Oklahoma and is also Absentee Shawnee, Kansas Kickapoo, Lower Brule Sioux, and Muscogee Creek. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her loved ones and dog outdoors soaking in the sunshine.
 

Posts by Kiarah Bates:

What does the Settlement Mean?

As public adjusters, we often have clients concerned with the term settlement during their insurance claims. Throughout the claims process, insurance companies should send a notice of payment letter any time a payment is issued. Often these letters will either say “Settlement Notice” at the top of the page or have a line within that has a settlement amount listed.

The most common misconception that insureds have is that the letter and payment mean that the insurance claim is settled and nothing further can happen. This is not true. Estimates are almost always subject to change as additional repairs may be needed or items were not included that should have been. When there are additional repairs needed, this is called a supplement.

The other common misconception is that by cashing the payment, you agree to settle the claim. Again, this is not true. The insurance company has made a payment that they agree to and have settled on the scope of work and the amount of payment at that time. The payment is an undisputed amount meaning both you and the insurance company agree you are owed at LEAST that much.

In these situations, the term settlement is essentially used to reference the specific payment that is being issued. The same will occur when there is a revised estimate or inventory.

A true settlement on a claim where the claim is closed will most of the time have an attorney involved. Attorneys get involved with insurance claims because of bad faith. At that point, the attorney will negotiate a settlement amount with the insurance company to finalize the claim. That being said, if an insurance company requests you to sign a “full release of claim” for payment, that would be a release, and you should always contact an attorney for advice.

If you receive a payment from the insurance company and you are concerned that you will not be able to repair your home with that amount, call your public adjuster. They will work for you with the insurance company to ensure you are paid properly and that any payment and settlement letter is accurate.

Choosing a Contractor is Your Choice

Many times, when homeowners have insurance claims, their insurance company will have a third-party contractor or restoration company prepare an estimate. This person or company is what’s called a preferred vendor to the insurance company. These companies typically have a close relationship with the insurance company and often get paid directly as well.

Most homeowners will use the preferred vendor because that person most likely was the first to inspect the damages, prepare an estimate, and have a direct connection with the insurance company, which they believe puts them at a higher advantage. However, as the homeowner, you have the right to choose the contractor that repairs your home.

It is best practice to shop around for the right contractor and get multiple estimates. When traveling, you do research and consider numerous hotels or Airbnb’s before booking, right? You read the reviews, look at the photos, and compare prices for each one to make sure you are getting the best deal. The same process applies to hiring a contractor.

Getting multiple estimates also helps determine what needs to be done to repair your home properly. This also helps eliminate the contractors who do not estimate enough or too much. Make sure you hire someone who is credible, licensed, and that you can trust to do the repairs the way you want them.

Remember, it is your right to receive the insurance proceeds from your insurance company directly. The payments do not have to go directly to a contractor or vendor. At Brown O’Haver, it is our job to get you paid accurately for your claim and your job to spend it.

How to Handle Multiple Weather Events

Did you file a hail claim at the beginning of the year? Were the repairs complete or not? If so, you may be wondering what’s next. If you didn’t repair the previous damages, then no claim should be made. If you have new damage, it is best to gather receipts and have photos of the work done so that you can prove to your insurance company that the repairs were complete. This allows you to be paid for the new roof or windows that were damaged. The following steps are what you should do for the new damages.

Step one – Document the damages. Take many photos and videos when you first notice the damage.

Step two – Mitigate the damages to prevent any further repairs to your home. This includes tarping leaks in the roof, boarding up broken windows, and clearing debris.

Step three – Have a roofer, someone you trust, or your public adjuster inspect your home so that you know the extent of the damages to help determine if filing a claim is in your best interest.

Step four- Make sure to have your full policy. Know your policy coverages and the deductible amount. This is helpful because you want to know if the damages are going to be covered. You also want to know if the cost to repair will be greater than your deductible. If the amount is higher than your deductible, then it makes sense to file a claim. If not, then there isn’t a need to file a claim. If you currently have an open claim, the storm damages would be a new claim as it is a separate occurrence, so make sure this is new damage.

Step five – Don’t make any quick decisions when it comes to restoring your home. It is common for contractors to go door to door when a hailstorm comes through. Make sure you are open to multiple opinions and getting multiple estimates.

At Brown O’Haver, we are here to help in situations like these. We will inspect the damages and review your policy for you so that you are able to make the best decision.