..."Hurry up and fix!" Is an Assignment of Benefits the solution for you?
What is an assignment of benefits? Sometimes an accident to property requires immediate attention, requiring homeowners to begin immediate repairs before settling the claim with the insurance company. Often, homeowners are asked by contractors or repair services to assign over their benefits to a third-party contractor. The assignment of benefits is attractive to homeowners because they often avoid upfront costs and the insurance company pays the contractor directly.
The trouble with Assignments of Benefits? If the insurance company argues the claim is not covered, tries to settle the claim for less than the cost of the repairs, or disputes certain expenses, the homeowner’s troubles begin. Since the contractor is simply seeking payment for repairs, they may not have the tools or experience to successfully negotiate with the insurance company. The contractor is then in a position where they may be unwilling or unable to finish the repairs because of the delay in payment or denial of coverage. Contractors may then turn to the property owner for payment.
An experienced lawyer can help you navigate through these issues. After all, insurance companies often have attorneys working for them. Jiron Law, P.A. is here to aggressively pursue your rights, whether through out-of-court negotiations or through litigation. Call Jiron Law, P.A. to schedule your initial consultation and to discuss how Jiron Law, P.A. can meet your goals.
No pagues ese techo?!
Assuming the policy provides coverage for the loss, the second question I'm usually asked is "how much is my claim worth?" Once you report a claim to your insurance company, the insurance company will send an adjuster to determine how much the insurance company will pay. It is important to remember that this adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. It's always a good idea to get at least one, if not several, quotes from contractors who are willing to do repairs to your home. Always ask for identification from contractors and look up their license number. After natural disasters, many contractors come to Florida looking for work. You want to make sure you are getting quotes from someone who will actually do these repairs for the price they quoted.
Hiring a lawyer right away gives your attorney the greatest opportunity to guide you through these complex issues. An attorney can help you understand your insurance policy, evaluate the condition of your property and negotiate on your behalf with insurance carriers. If you need any help with your property damage claims, contact Jiron Law today.
Disaster planning is more than canned food and water.
Here in Miami we were recently spared the worst of what could have potentially been a very serious hurricane. But the devastation in the Florida Keys, the West Coast of Florida, more recently in Puerto Rico and in Mexico city got me thinking about what it means to prepare for natural disaster from a legal standpoint. There is so much to think about besides just buying canned food and water.
One great tip, especially in areas where water damage is of great concern, is to keep all important documents in a sealed plastic folder and bag. It's hard to pinpoint what are "important documents" when you're already in disaster planning mode, so it's a good idea to do this at the start of Hurricane season or before any threat of storms. Here are some, but not all, important documents you should consider having hard copies of and sealing those documents in a plastic bag:
1. Health - Health insurance card and copies of prescriptions.
2. Insurance Documents - A copy of all insurance policies for your personal property including Homeowners, Flood, Windstorm and Auto. If you own a business, a copy of your Commercial Property and Commercial General Liability policies.
3. Personal Documents (Yours and your family's)- State-issued ID card, social security card, birth certificates and passports.
4. Asset documentation - Deeds, mortgage documents or rental agreements, financial statements and account numbers, estate planning documents, authenticity certificates for art collections or expensive items.
5. Special considerations for Special Needs Families - If you care for a disabled adult, any Powers of Attorney, Guardianship documents, or any other document relating to the care or custody of that adult.
It is not a bad idea to keep scanned copies of all of these documents on a document "cloud"; however, don't rely on the cloud because infrastructure such as electricity, cable, and phone service may not be working after a major disaster.
Keep in mind that you will still need to do everything you would normally do to prepare for a hurricane, but this is an additional step to think about! If you find you need help preparing legal documents to have your affairs in order, do not hesitate to call us.