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Growing up in the Insurance World

Public Insurance Adjusters

Everyone has their own set of subcultures that they have grown up with, true experts on any random aspect in life, perhaps passed down from their parents and their parent’s parents. A generational profession seems simply innate for children engulfed in the subculture. Even without pursuing the field, children have a working knowledge of their parent’s profession, more so if the business is their own.

I was fortunate enough to have parents who have pursued an incredible profession in public adjusting. My Stepmother, Alice, began Brown O’Haver of Oklahoma in 2006. Her parents before her started Brown O’Haver in 1988 in Mesa, AZ. Naturally, even if I choose not to pursue this profession, my knowledge on the insurance process is exponentially greater than those not in the field. For this reason, I may never understand uncertainty during an insurance claim like many people experience. Here are a couple things that have surprised me in my conversations with people outside of the insurance field.

No, You Do Not Have To Rebuild

One idea among people who are outside of the insurance industry that is consistent is the idea that you must rebuild your home if you suffer from a large loss. You do not have to rebuild after an insurance claim. You don’t have to rebuild after a roof claim. You do not have to rebuild period. Many people believe (and some insurance companies promote) that the only option you have after an insurance claim is to rebuild. One of the benefits of rebuilding is that you can recover your depreciation if you have a replacement cost policy. The downside of not using your insurance proceeds for your repairs is that you can’t be paid for damages to the same building material more than once unless you actually complete the repairs before it is damaged in another loss. With this knowledge in mind, you can spend your insurance proceeds on whatever you please. The job of insurance adjusters, both public and company, is to prove the damages and get you the money, NOT tell you how to spend it. Once you receive your initial estimate, for both structure and contents, you can do whatever you please. You can pay off your mortgage and make a down payment on another home. You can level the house and start from scratch. You can sell the property as is and rebuild or buy somewhere else. You can gamble it all at the casino. It does not matter. The point is, you have options. Your insurance owes your for a covered loss regardless of how you choose to spend the money.

Utilize Your ALE

Many people do not realize the extent of what their additional living expenses covers. Others believe that saving money and spending sparingly after a loss is the appropriate decision, and in some cases it is. However, ALE is designed to last the extent of the claim if you are covered properly,. Use it! Keep in mind that ALE is cost incurred, which means you must spend it and show proof that you have spent it before being compensated. Keeping your receipts and invoices is imperative. Furthermore, ALE covers much more than just meals and rent. You can actually be compensated for mileage if where you are temporarily staying is further away from anything regular such as work, doctor’s appointments, and church. Also, if you have to maintain more than one yard because of being displaced from a loss, you can be reimbursed for hiring a company to maintain one of the lawns. If you have a strict HOA and your yard needs to be kept up, ALE covers that. You can use whomever you want to take care of your yard, whether that be an actual landscaping company, or the 15-year-old kid next door. As long as you can show proof that you have spent it, you are covered. Lastly, something that people rarely take advantage of is the situation in which you must stay with a relative or friend for an extended period after a loss. Like many families, they may not charge you a dime for your stay, but IT IS VITAL THEY DO! They have a right to be compensated for your stay, even if they are a friend or family member.

These are just a couple of things that I have learned from growing up in the business. We can’t all be experts in every field and for that reason; it makes sense to talk to an expert in the insurance world when you suffer a loss to your property. Brown O’Haver has the expertise to help you navigate your claim.

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