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Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco, Attorney
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I had a water leak in my rental house on Oct. 13 and State

Customer Question

I had a water leak in my rental house on Oct. 13 and State Farm agent came out, did an estimate, and gave me a check the next day (Friday). No one was living in the house, but we stayed there Oct. 11 after the hurricane. We had stayed there on Oct. 11 and were repairing it on the 12th and 13th and noticed the leak from the washing machine, but it actually was from a copper pipe in the wall.
I was happy the state farm agent came so quickly and paid me so quickly with a very detailed report of exactly what they were paying. The check was for $7,455. So, my question is, while the claim is still open and serv pro is still servicing my house, should I be asking any new questions or observing things I am not observing yet? We just went through hurricane matthew and the serv pro people are going to another town during the day, and checking on my house at night.
Serv pro will be at my house until Tuesday because the water got under my new laminate flooring and about 800 square feet had to be pulled up. I called and told them more flooring looked damaged on a voice mail, both the serve pro and the state farm agent who seems to be a very responsible, older gentleman. Also, I went to Lowes and saw that the customer service rep on the phone gave me a lower price per square foot on the flooring by phone than what I saw on the sign on Saturday. It is was $2.49 per sq ft not $2.20 per square foot. So I left a message for the state farm man on Saturday.
I asked serv pro to make sure the kitchen cabinets were not damaged because the whole kitchen floor was flooded underneath the laminate flooring for about 24 hours. They have about 12 fans and a dehumidifier that will run from Friday to Tuesday. They took a moisture reading of the cabinets and said they were not damaged.
My question for you is: What should I be looking for or asking them while serv pro is still at my house, and while the claim is still open? Am I missing anything? I want what is fair and reasonable, and I don't want to look back on this experience a year later and tell myself I should have looked after my own interests and the condition of the house better.
Thank you,
Cindy Holloway
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Damien Bosco replied 9 months ago.

Hello. My name is***** am an attorney. I will review your question. I may need to clarify facts first. I will answer & we can discuss issues.

Expert:  Damien Bosco replied 9 months ago.

Hi Cindy:

Let me know if this is what you are looking for: a step by step of what to do after a Hurricane to make sure you cover everything to protect your rights:

  1. Take pictures or video. Nothing will preserve the extent of damage better for your hurricane claims with an insurance company. Your natural instinct is to start picking up the damage first and by the time the insurance adjustor arrives at your house, you have made it look as presentable as possible. Taking photos or videotape of the hurricane damage before you clean up preserves and establishes the true extent of damages your house suffered.
  2. Don't Clean Up First. See Step number 1 above!
  3. After video or photos of the hurricane are taken, you then should do what is necessary to protect your home from further damage.
  4. Contact your insurance agent to report your claim. At this point, after a hurricane, your insurance company will probably have a hotline or some other contact point for you to use. Since hurricanes devastate everyone in your community, you will want to be persistent. It will be difficult to get through to someone and to get responses. Stay at it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
  5. Start calling every contractor you can find. Look for contractors in nearby cities 100 to 200 miles away. After a hurricane, contractors are in extreme demand. If you wait to contact a contractor until after your insurance company responds to your claim, you will be at the back of the line. You can get an estimate BEFORE the insurance adjuster evaluates your hurricane damage claim.
  6. Keep track of your phone, email and other contact with your homeowner insurance company. Get a calendar and write down every time you phone and get no response. Record every time you do speak to someone and keep notes of what they tell you.
  7. Start a file on all communications you get from the insurance company after the hurricane. Keep your calendar, notes and correspondence together along with your photos and videotape.
  8. Take photos and videotape of the repairs and reconstruction.
  9. Know your insurance timeline. The insurance company has to perform certain tasks within certain dates after you report the hurricane damage. What the insurance companies count on is that most people do not know or understand the timelines involved or that they will be patient and understanding since the insurance company is having to handle so many claims at once. You can be sure that they insurance company will depend on your kindness and never return the favor. The reason insurance companies have billions and billions of dollars is not because they are nice and pay claims. The insurance companies have billions and billions of dollars because they fight over every detail. You can win that fight if you are ready for it.
  10. Locate your receipts for payments of anything destroyed because the insurance company will assign a value to the item regardless of how much you actually paid for it. If you don't have a receipt, go online and determine what the current replacement cost is. The insurance company will depreciate your item based on how old it is unless you have specific endorsements otherwise, so document the cost and the condition of the item at the time you suffered the loss.
Expert:  Damien Bosco replied 9 months ago.

Hello Cindy: I have not heard back from you. I am following up to see if you still need further help. If so, please let me know. If not, I hope that I have provided excellent service and, if so, would love you to give me a 5 star rating for the service I provided to you.. If the answer was especially helpful you can provide a bonus too! Best regards.

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