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“The Hidden Secrets to Your Property Insurance…

Your Insurance Company Is Scared to Death You Will Learn!”

Scott J Melrose
For a no-cost, no-obligation discussion of your damage, call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit

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“The Hidden Secrets to Your Property Insurance…
Your Insurance Company Is Scared to Death You Will Learn”

Copyright © 2012 by Scott J Melrose All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the author.

For a no-cost, no-obligation discussion of your damage, call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit

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Forward
Scott hit the nail right on the head. As a Real Estate investor, I have to deal with insurance companies all the time. In my experience, they will do everything they can to pay you as little as they can get away with. Scott understands the plight of the homeowner and the business owner when they have damage to their property. He gets you the maximum settlement possible. His book will open the eyes of a lot of people. It’s a shame so many homeowners don’t realize they could and should get more than the insurance company paid them. Bottom line is you should never file an insurance claim without using someone like Scott. Read his book and you will never file a claim without Scott or a Public Adjuster again. Great book thank you. Paul J Da Costa Realtor and Real Estate Investor.

For a no-cost, no-obligation discussion of your damage, call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit

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Dedication Thanks to so many people: My colleagues and trainers who have taught me so much. My beautiful and wonderful wife Sue for her support and understanding as I established myself in this business and wrote this book. The insurance companies who create the opportunities to make a living by helping my clients get what they deserve in the first place. my past. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Most of all. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 4 . no-obligation discussion of your damage. - - For a no-cost. present and future clients who put their trust in me to get the insurance companies to treat them fairly and pay them enough to cover their damages.

call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 5 . no-obligation discussion of your damage.TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER 1 WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE? CHAPTER 2 “JUST WHAT IS A PUBLIC ADJUSTER ANYWAY?” CHAPTER 3 “WHAT DOES MY POLICY COVER?” CHAPTER 4 “HOW MUCH SHOULD THE Y PAY ME?” CHAPTER 5 “WHAT ABOUT THE REASONS TO NOT CALL A PUBLIC ADJUSTER?” CHAPTER 6 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE SPENDING ANOTHER DOLLAR ON PROPERTY INSURANCE CHAPTER 7 “WHAT ABOUT MY COMMERCIAL PROPERTY?” CHAPTER 8 CHAPTER 9 EPLIOG 85 90 “OK HOW DO I CHOOSE MY PUBLIC ADJUSTER?” 79 65 42 30 16 12 6 For a no-cost.

Both were tastefully updated and kept in beautiful condition. The damage to each home was similar as well. They were smart. “the storm” pelted both homes with large hail and tore off shingles.Chapter One What Made the Difference? In a nice neighborhood in your town. and got along well with all the other neighbors. educated. For a no-cost. they were the same model and built in the same year. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 6 . The homes and the families were very much alike. siding and fence sections with the high winds that came with “the storm”. Their homes were very much alike as well. Like many other homes. Then last summer came “the storm”. two families bought homes on the same street. no-obligation discussion of your damage. In fact.

just what makes this kind of difference in the outcome? It isn’t always the amount of damage or even that one has a “good” insurance company or a “good” agent. there was one big difference. One of the homeowners got a check for thousands of dollars. this happens all the time.But. It even happens when the insurance company sends out the same adjuster on the same day. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 7 . In fact. Have you ever wondered. It happens when neighbors have the same policy with the same company. the second homeowner even lost their “claim free discount” just for trying to get the money they felt they deserved. It happens when they have the same agent. In fact. The difference comes from what people know and how they use that For a no-cost. The other homeowner was “denied” and received… nothing.

For that is the whole purpose of the service: To give homeowners knowledge and representation – representation that will get them the ca$h their insurance company should be paying them. And that is why I am writing this book about how thousands of homeowners can benefit by hiring an advocate to work with their insurance company. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 8 . no-obligation discussion of your damage. They use it to get thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in settlements. while neighbors get… the treatment. You see my service as an advocate for the homeowner is a For a no-cost.knowledge – the hidden secrets to their policies. Some people know who to call and ask to help them. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Getting paid fairly for your damage doesn’t have to be random. Those fortunate people get what the insurance company should pay them.

damaged floors. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 9 . call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. The Barron’s Dictionary of Insurance Terms defines indemnify as.unique service. no matter which type of damage or which insurance company. I assist the homeowners. types of damage. Well that’s fine. whether leaky pipes. “Compensate for loss”. indemnify. Indemnify is one of those fancy words the insurance companies use to confuse homeowners – even those with Ivy League educations. broken furnaces. Not just storms and fires. but just what does it mean in your case? Just how do you figure out exactly how much you should get for your damage? Each day. no-obligation discussion of your damage. and coverage issues. For a no-cost. fireplace mishaps. I represent homeowners on a broad range of properties. but any kind of damage that is sudden and accidental. It’s about a fancy word in the insurance industry.

Then she replaced the roof out of her own pocket. fire damage. stained carpet. leaky roofs. what’s so special about me that allows me to get my clients thousands – or even tens of thousands – of dollars that their For a no-cost. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 10 . stained hardwood. You will be shocked when I tell you how I was able to get her the money to pay for the roof. leaky pipes. water damaged laminate floors. no-obligation discussion of your damage. and dozens of other types of damage. water in cabinets. and dozens of others. I‘m thinking of some of the stories of past clients. So. Right now. One lady got a denial from her insurance company for hail damage – even though many neighbors got money. cracked tiles. smoke damage.vandalism. Every type of damage is in those stories: storm damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. gouged hardwood.

insurance companies would not pay them? Well. no-obligation discussion of your damage. training. I’m a licensed and bonded Public Adjuster. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. For a no-cost. it comes down to a specific license. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 11 . experience. and the commitment to fight for my clients. What makes it all possible is the license I hold for a position that most people have never heard of.

Knowing his skill as a negotiator. public adjusting has been around in a formal structure for well over 100 years. I’m sure he helped people get good settlements. One of the early Public Adjusters was also one of our founding fathers… Benjamin Franklin. 44 states and the District of Columbia For a no-cost. States began setting up Licensing structures for Public Adjusters in the late 1800’s. It’s not surprising at all that Dr. Franklin was a skilled negotiator for his clients.Chapter Two “Just What Is a Public Adjuster Anyway?” Public Adjusting has a long history in the United States. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 12 . no-obligation discussion of your damage. So. As I write this book.

While it does have a licensing structure. Arkansas. Alabama is a special case. Virginia’s law goes into effect January 1. For example. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. my home state of Illinois actually For a no-cost. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 13 . only an attorney licensed in Alabama is permitted to hold the Public Adjuster’s license in that state. Once the Virginia law goes into effect only Alaska. acts on behalf of an insured” Each state has its own nuances in the law it adopts. 2013. Many states follow a model law that has been approved by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners – NAIC. South Dakota and Wisconsin will have no licensing structure or regulation set up. That model law describes a public adjuster as: "any person who. for compensation or any other thing of value.have a licensing structure or regulation set up and operating.

no-obligation discussion of your damage. what are “fee cap” of a Adjuster may The “fee cap” ends up keeping property owners from getting the help they need on smaller claims. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. They work to get payment for repairs they are making. On the other hand. many states allow contractors to negotiate with insurance companies. For a no-cost. The Florida Supreme Court struck down that part of the law in 2012.requires anyone who negotiates with the insurance company for someone else to be a licensed Public Adjuster. Part of the Florida law forced property owners wait for 48 hours after having damage to hire a Public Adjuster. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 14 . A limits the percentage settlement the Public receive. Violating that law is a misdemeanor in Illinois. Some states have called “fee caps”.

The insurance companies love fee caps because they end up not having to pay on many claims that could get the homeowners thousands of dollars.000 – even in states without a “fee cap”.You see the amount of work it takes to help a homeowner with claim is about the same until you get into very large claims. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 15 . When the percentage of a settlement the Public Adjuster can receive is limited. no-obligation discussion of your damage. The work becomes much more extensive at say $50. Many Public Adjusters won’t work on claims under about $30. The homeowners in most cases don’t even realize they could collect money on the damage at all.000 or so. For a no-cost. it’s no longer worth it to work on a small claim.

no-obligation discussion of your damage. The post-WWII housing explosion in the United Sates would not have been possible with the homeowner’s policies. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 16 . Not surprisingly. It was called a standard policy.Chapter Three “What Does My Policy Cover?” The insurance industry created the first standardized homeowners insurance policy in 1943. banks played a big role in creating the standardized homeowner’s insurance policy. so the banks cover their own butts. Current policies come in three different types: Basic. I will give both the banks and the insurance companies their do. The standard policy was limited compared to current policies. It covered only fire and lightning. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Even though the standard policy was created. Broad or For a no-cost.

The basic policy is rarely if ever sold to home owners these days.Volcanic eruption .Special. The type that you have can make a tremendous difference in how much you get paid for damage. Those 9 perils are: Fire Lightning Explosion Windstorm and hail Riot or civil commotion Vehicles (not driven by owner) . The basic policy covers 9 named types of damage.Vandalism or malicious mischief For a no-cost. no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. The special is also called “all risk” or “all peril”. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 17 .Smoke . The industry uses the word “peril” for a type of damage. You can still find it for rental property though.

call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. It can come from a fireplace mishap.Frozen pipes (when building is properly heated) For a no-cost.Accidental discharge of water . We’ll go over the impact of that smoke damage when we discuss some actual clients. cracking. Smoke can even come from a damaged furnace. The broad policy adds an additional 7 named perils to bring the total to 16.Weight of ice and snow . Smoke in particular is an under claimed cause of damage. Those 7 perils are: . smoke can come from a cooking mishap.Falling objects . You see.Tearing apart. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 18 . burning or bulging (of HVAC) . no-obligation discussion of your damage.Some of these types of damage can come from unexpected causes though.

Collapse Now we come to the type of homeowner’s policy that the vast majority of people have. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.. no-obligation discussion of your damage.Flood (you can get flood coverage from the federal government in a specific policy though) .Earthquake (called ground movement) For a no-cost. it covers any damage that is sudden and accidental as long as the policy does not specifically exclude it up front. In the all-risk policy.Artificially generated electrical current . What’s excluded? Here is a good start on common exclusions in an all-risk policy: . If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 19 . The industry name is “HO-3”. It’s the special or “all risk” or “all peril” policy.

Mold (unless caused by a covered peril) .Gauged hardwood floor For a no-cost.War (when the Japanese bomb your town. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. My colleagues and I have gotten homeowners paid thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for the following types of damage: .Negligence . those exclusions leave many types of losses that are covered that most people don’t realize..Wear and tear (including most damage caused by pets) .Cracked ceramic tile . no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 20 . that’s not covered) While that looks like a lot.Damage from most types of pests (especially insects and members of the rodent family) .Ongoing damage that is not addressed (mitigation is important) .

Water damaged hardwood floor .Soaked carpet .Stolen computers .Smoke damage from a cracked heat exchanger .Toilet overflows .Smoke damage from a faulty water heater .Damaged clothing . If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 21 .Building code updates (check your policy) .Damaged laminate floor .Broken pipes .Damaged granite counter tops .Stains or spills on carpet .Stolen water heater For a no-cost.Damaged personal property . no-obligation discussion of your damage.Tub or shower overflows .Water damaged sub-floor . call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.Smoke damage from a fireplace in the garage .Stolen furnace ..Water back-up from sewer or sump pump(requires endorsement) .

call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 22 .- - - Stolen cabinets Damage from break in Damage from tenants Damage from raccoons (one of the few types of pest damage that is often covered. no-obligation discussion of your damage. raccoon droppings are treated as hazardous waste) Cars driving into the house (your homeowner’s policy will pay much more than going directly through the driver’s auto policy) Stolen copper pipes Stolen wiring Garbage truck hitting garage Eggs on siding Dent from baseball in siding Melted siding from a hot grill Stolen jewelry Stolen property while traveling For a no-cost.

Frozen pipes .Tear out and repair when pipes burst or break .. And I could add many more types of covered damage. It happens because the policy is designed to pay enough to bring the property back to pre-loss condition. you get the idea by now. Still most homeowners only even consider filing for damage like a large fire or major storm damage. payment for damage can add up a lot quicker than people realize. Second. Here’re a couple of things most people are missing. For a no-cost. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.Loss of use of home or business property . But. Here’s where that fancy word we used back in Chapter 1 comes in. dozens (maybe hundreds) of types of damage are covered.Damage caused by the homeowners themselves. First. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 23 . no-obligation discussion of your damage.

even if in more than one room. An important characteristic of ceramic tile is that it is made by laminating a high definition photo onto the visible surface of the tile. What if the tile runs under cabinets? Those cabinets must be removed and re-installed. For a no-cost. For the homeowner it means to pay enough to put the property back in pre-loss condition. Usually that same exact tile – often the same manufacturer’s lot – is no longer available. no-obligation discussion of your damage. So. the insurance company must pay to replace all of the tile. how does that work exactly? Let’s look at a common type of loss that homeowners almost always overlook – cracked ceramic tile. They pay to replace all of it. The appearance of the tile varies by lot. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.The fancy word is indemnify. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 24 . In that case.

You see how it can all add up. One of my clients in Hazel Crest. For a no-cost.What if the cabinets have granite counter tops? The granite counter tops need to be removed and re-installed. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 25 . Since she replaced the roof with money out of her own pocket. What if the tile runs under appliances? The appliances must be moved (by professionals) and reinstalled. while performing the damage audit. IL had a hailstorm go through her neighborhood. it was too late for me to help her directly with the hail damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Her insurance company denied her claim for hail damage to the roof. Here’s an example. However. Many of her neighbors were able to get some kind of payment from their insurance company. no-obligation discussion of your damage. I found a cracked ceramic tile.

I was able to get her a settlement that was over $12,000.00 for that cracked tile because of the factors I just listed. It was a large floor that ran under cabinets with expensive counter tops. She even had commercial grade appliances. Let’s look at a couple of things that happened to me before I knew about Public Adjusters and just how policies work. I dropped the battery from my cordless drill and gauged the hardwood floor in my brand new home. Not knowing any better, I ran out to the big box home improvement store and bought a can of wood repair glop. Glop is a technical term by the way. ;-) Over a weekend, I filled the gauged area with several coats of glop. I carefully made it level. Then I masked off the good part of the floor while sanding the
For a no-cost, no-obligation discussion of your damage, call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit

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hardened glop to be level and smooth. Once I had that looking OK, I got some magic markers. I colored in the hardened glop to match the rest of the floor as closely as I could. I made the best of it, but the floor has never been quite the same. I didn’t understand back then that the policy covers that damage. Not only would the policy cover, but also it would pay to repair and refinish the entire floor – in three large rooms. Another time I left the plate out from under a potted plant in the family room. By the time my wife caught it, water getting through the dirt and the metal pot created a huge rust stain in the middle of the carpet. Not knowing any better, we just lived with the damage. The policy covers that damage as well
For a no-cost, no-obligation discussion of your damage, call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit

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though. The policy would pay to replace all of the carpet, and the pad. If the sub floor were damaged, it would be covered as well. One of the people who trained me as a Public Adjuster has a young son. While he was giving his son a bath, he got a phone call. While on the phone call, his son decided to see how quickly he could empty the tub with his toy bucket onto the floor. Some of that water even got into the vent. That water went all the way down to the basement and damaged the furnace. Yes, it’s a covered loss. The owner got enough money to make all of the repairs. So, what made between the damage has to “live with” the homeowner gets the difference the homeowner and damage that paid?

For a no-cost, no-obligation discussion of your damage, call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit

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my job is to get the homeowner the highest settlement possible under their policy.The difference is access to a licensed and bonded Public Adjuster. as a Public Adjuster. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. You may be wondering about fairness to the insurance companies. “If everyone gets that kind of settlement. what happens to insurance rates?” We’ll go over how insurance companies pay in the next chapter. You see. When all conditions of the policy are met. The policy is a contract. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 29 . You may be asking. that contract directs the insurance company to indemnify – pay – the homeowner. For a no-cost. no-obligation discussion of your damage.

Chapter Four “How Much Should They Pay Me?” We ended Chapter 4 by looking at how a small bit of damage to one ceramic tile can trigger a 5-figure payment from the homeowner’s policy. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 30 . Does that type of claim treat the insurance company badly? Well. first of only a small fraction of people who have similar damage ever report or get paid for it. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. The lucky few who do will get a pittance. Those who report most of the types of damage I listed on their own will be lucky to get any payment at all. Why does that happen? We’ll talk about it some more later. For a no-cost. no-obligation discussion of your damage. but it comes down to the conditions required for payment and presenting the damage properly to the insurance company.

let’s go over the general state of payments for damage by insurance companies.Right now. Since the mid 1990’s the insurance industry has been hiring high-powered management consultants to teach them how to be able to pay out less on damage claims. Deny. The insurance companies have turned this into a science. The Insurance Hoax” hosted by David Brancaccio – a Walter Cronkite Award Winner. You can purchase it from PBS. no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.com – in three parts. Or you can view the 2007 PBS/Bloomberg Markets program. “Insurance 9-1-1. Both the book and the video will show you just how serious the For a no-cost. Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don’t Pay Claims and What You Can Do about It by Jay Feinman. Delay. The ISBN is 9781591843153. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 31 . Or you can find it on youtube. You can read about it in a book titled.

insurance companies are about paying as little as they can. two of the largest For a no-cost. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 32 . call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. That effort happened at the same time their profits skyrocketed. Also. That adjuster told Smart Money Magazine that 80% of the former employer’s clients ended up with 25 to 40 cents on the dollar. After one of the bad hurricane seasons in the early 2000’s. Smart Money Magazine interviewed a former insurance company adjuster. Brancaccio and two reporters from Bloomberg Markets Magazine review how the insurance companies have made a systematic effort to reduce their payments on claims. you already knew that or you wouldn’t still be reading. But. Then there is the Florida study. The comparison was against homeowners who got an independent estimate – from say a Public Adjuster.

This company was new and not used to the higher settlements when a Public Adjuster helps the homeowner. it created a mess in Florida. no-obligation discussion of your damage. Florida created a state run insurance company. So. The two companies have over half of the market. The two companies chose… none.insurance companies decided not to write new policies in parts of Florida. It’s called Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. they demanded an investigation. For a no-cost. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Florida wanted to fill the gap and create some choice for their residents. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 33 . was alarmed by the difference between payouts when a Public Adjuster worked on the claim. Florida told them to either write new policies in the whole state or write none. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. When they pulled out.

The Florida Legislature’s Office of Program and Policy Analysis & Government Accountability studied over 72. For a no-cost.187 with a Public Adjuster. That’s a 574% increase. Then the average settlement went from $2029 without a Public Adjuster to $17. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. OPPAGA found that the Public Adjusters were not doing anything wrong. the difference was even greater.000 claims. The difference for the claims with a named storm was 747%. So just how much more were homeowners getting when they used a Public Adjuster? The OPPAGA study of the 2005 hurricane season found that using a Public Adjuster increased the settlement from an average of $1391 to $9379 when no named storm was present. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 34 . The Public Adjusters were just being more thorough to document everything the policyholder should get. If a named storm was involved. no-obligation discussion of your damage.

no-obligation discussion of your damage. What about other types of damage? Let’s talk about fire then. One of their people said that when they work with a good Public Adjuster. They like to work with Public Adjusters when they can. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 35 . you read that correctly. Now the numbers we just looked at are for storm damage. I’m leaving out their name because they do get business directly from insurance companies. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. We sometimes work together with a large restoration company. the Public Adjuster gets a settlement over two times what they would bill out when working with the insurance company directly. Yes. Working with a Public Adjuster will For a no-cost.See figure 1 on page 34.

pdf For a no-cost.Figure 1: How Much More $$$$$ Can You Get Using a Public Adjuster? Florida Data: 20000 18000 16000 14000 12000 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 Without PA With PA CAT Event ($) Non-CAT Event ($) Source: FL Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability http://www. no-obligation discussion of your damage.us/reports/pdf/1006rpt. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.state.fl.oppaga. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 36 .

The insurance companies regularly deny people for claims that could and should be paid. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 37 . You see. If you remember. no-obligation discussion of your damage. all the numbers and stories I just shared understate the impact of a Public Adjuster on settlements.get the homeowner a settlement twice as high as dealing directly with the insurance company and their restoration company. It could be a homeowner with a broken pipe in the basement. all those numbers and most of the stories don’t reflect people who were wrongly denied. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. By the way. That observation comes from a key person working for a major restoration company. I help get those people paid by presenting the claim properly. Many of my own clients would get literally nothing without help. flood For a no-cost. who tells the insurance company he has a “flood”.

The homeowner did stay in a hotel – after my colleague took care of the situation. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. I like to refer to flood as the “f-word” because it trips up so many homeowners. A homeowner had a whole house fire. Her insurance company’s adjuster “forgot” to remind her that she was covered for the loss of use of her home. For a no-cost. Words such as “accidental discharge” or “water back-up” or “overflow from a blockage” work so much better. She had contacted the insurance company before working with my colleague. Also. she and her children were sleeping in her car in the driveway. Instead of staying in a hotel that was direct billed to the insurance company. the numbers don’t reflect a situation one of my colleagues worked on. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 38 . no-obligation discussion of your damage.is one of the exclusions to all of these policies.

Just before boarding ships. Once the Trojans were exhausted from celebrating. The Trojans thought they had successfully weathered the storm and brought the horse inside the city gates as they celebrated. they left a huge horse outside the gates of Troy. This allowed the Greek army. You remember the story of the Trojan horse? That’s the story of the Greeks failing to take the city of Troy. the Greeks hidden in the horse emerged and opened the gates to Troy. which had For a no-cost.Another trick insurance companies like to use after a large loss is the “Trojan Dumpster”. The Greeks made a show of breaking up their camp and leaving. no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. The Trojans did not count on the small group of Greek soldiers hiding inside the horse. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 39 .

they don’t have to pay for them. You see.stayed nearby to finally conquer Troy. When the homeowners try to get paid for those damaged items. Pictures are not enough. they are at the mercy of the insurance company adjuster. the insurance company will quickly send out a dumpster. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 40 . For a no-cost. They have the right to inspect the damaged items. The homeowner finds the dumpster handy to get rid of all the things that have been ruined. Often after a large fire or major storm. The insurance company adjuster will show up after the dumpster has been removed. no-obligation discussion of your damage. one of the seven conditions we have been discussion is that the insurance company has the right to inspect any damage they are paying for. If you can no longer produce those items for inspection.

no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. I do hope that she and her husband pulled it out of the dumpster so they could be paid properly for it. She was less than happy with my news. She and her husband had already tossed their large swing set/play center in the dumpster the insurance company happily provided. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 41 . I warned her about the need to have the actual swing set available for examination by the insurance company adjuster. For a no-cost.That’s true even if the insurance company sent the dumpster you used to dispose of the items. I spoke with a lady who had tornado damage. So beware before throwing out damaged items from a fire or other large loss.

If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 42 . only a trained professional can truly tell whether damage that looks small can give you a big payment or not. no-obligation discussion of your damage. “My damage looks small. “Is MY Damage Big Enough?” Often damage that looks and is “small” can cause the insurance company to pay a lot. there can only be seven reasons. I’ll wait until something really big happens to call the insurance company. I can just live with it or make a minor repair myself. you may be thinking. Let’s go over them: First. With the right person.Chapter Five “What about the Reasons to Not Call a Public Adjuster?” Now for those of you who are not yet convinced. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.” Well. telling them in the right way sometimes the insurance For a no-cost.

Also. you may be jeopardizing the very thing you are trying to preserve. There are dozens of ways for this to happen. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 43 .company will pay to replace an entire surface because the surface is no longer repairable. hardwood or laminate). That surface can be a floor (tile. A good Public Adjuster will make sure the insurance company addresses ALL of the damage. a roof or siding. You see a small patch job on one part of the house can allow the insurance For a no-cost. so get a professional – a Public Adjuster . often we need to address damage under the surface that you may not see by looking at the outside. Even if the damage looks small and you can “fix” it with a small inexpensive repair. no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.to see if your damage is a lot bigger than it looks.

If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 44 . Another part of this objection is when people are afraid that the insurance company will jack up their rates for filing a claim. For the states that I currently am licensed (IL & IN) insurance is regulated by the Department of Insurance in that state. Almost daily I see people who have cost themselves thousands of dollars because they made a “small” repair themselves.company to pay you a lot less once you do have “big” damage. Insurance is regulated on a state-by-state basis. there are some differences from state to state. no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Those same departments issue my license in each state. It’s so sad when they could have gotten a much better outcome by making one simple phone call. For a no-cost. So.

It is against the regulations of the Department of Insurance for an insurance company to: - Drop a homeowner - Choose not to renew a homeowner - Raise the homeowner’s premiums. The one thing that they can mess with for filing a claim is a “claim-free” discount. The “claim-free” discount is a small bribe the insurance company offers in return for not filing a claim. It typically is about $150 or so. When you file a claim, the insurance company will withhold that discount for 3 years. The net effect is like adding about $500 or so to your deductible. Therefore, it just means your deductible hurdle is a little bit higher. I take it into account
For a no-cost, no-obligation discussion of your damage, call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit

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prior to any recommendation on filing a claim.

“Hey Melrose, I’m Pretty Smart Myself”
A second reason you might not be convinced yet, is that you think you can do this yourself and save the fee. Yes, Public Adjusters do charge a fee for their services. Licensed and bonded Public Adjusters have to maintain a license. That includes continuing education. Being paid for the service is Public Adjusters feed their families. However, remember the data on how much more people end up with when they use a Public Adjuster? The state of Florida data says that homeowners who use Public Adjusters get 574% to 747% higher settlements for their claims. Also, remember the Smart Money Magazine interview with a former insurance company adjuster. She said her insurance company’s
For a no-cost, no-obligation discussion of your damage, call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit

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clients routinely ended up with much less. They got only 25 to 40 cents on the dollar - compared to those who got an independent appraisal. In the 2007 Article by David Dietz and Darrell Preston of Bloomberg Markets Magazine, “Home Insurance Secret Tactics Cheat Fire Victims, Hike Profits”, the two authors document funny business by multiple insurance companies. Dietz and Preston quoted an email from a manager at a major insurance company to “…resist the temptation of paying more just to move this type of file.” They also quoted Jo Ann Katzman, a former claims adjuster at a major insurance company. Ms Katzman told about pep talks to keep claim payments down and prizes awarded to adjusters who deny fire claims by blaming the fire on arson.

For a no-cost, no-obligation discussion of your damage, call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit

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But.Yes. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. would you let the insurance company hire an attorney to represent both of you? I didn’t think so. They hire someone who works in the field every day. no-obligation discussion of your damage. They also know spending the time and hassle to grind out a payment from the insurance company will cost them in their own productivity. For a no-cost. Or it could cost them in time they would rather spend with friends and family. They know it’s not worth the time to keep up with something they use once every decade or so. Why do that same thing now when there isn’t even a neutral judge present to protect your rights? Those who are truly smart know when to bring in a specialist. you can go up against the insurance company on your own if you want to. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 48 . consider this: If you were deciding this in court.

” Sadly. The companies conveniently skip the dozens of types of damage that people do get paid for. After all. Agents get lots of training – on how to SELL insurance. “He’s the guy I’m paying for this policy. In fact. “I’m sorry? I’ll your event because I have to home for the contractor to out for an estimate. the agents who want to get paid top dollar on their own personal claims know who to call.to a miss stay come I’ll How often do you want to say loved one. He should know. Maybe make it next time. Agents don’t even learn how to use the software that generates claim estimates.” “What Am I Paying the Agent For?” Some people just call their agent when they have damage. For a no-cost. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. no-obligation discussion of your damage. that’s rarely the case. It “seems” logical. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 49 .

no-obligation discussion of your damage.It’s NOT their own company adjusters. The walls and floor were undamaged. The carpet ran throughout the first floor and up the stairs. He missed that stain because he had been looking at the ceiling. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. “What’s the deal with the blue stain?” The homeowner told an interesting story about the stain. He asked the homeowner. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 50 . For a no-cost. When he was walking down the stairs to leave. he noticed a huge blue stain in the carpet. My colleague had to reluctantly tell the client that the damage was not large enough to submit to the insurance company. The stain was small. There was no opening in the roof. One of my colleagues was called out to a house for a water stain on the ceiling.

Therefore. it would be covered by the homeowner’s policy. After my colleague wrote up the claim. he piles up the laundry basket until its overflowing.When the homeowner’s son does laundry. It tumbled to the bottom of the stairs and dumped out all the detergent while the son stood there dumbfounded. One time the bottle of detergent fell and cracked. letting it bounce on each step. “By the way I’m a (well known insurance company) agent. The homeowner said. As much as he tried. no-obligation discussion of your damage. Next. the son puts the detergent bottle on top of the pile of clothes. he was about to leave – for a second time. My colleague responded that the stain was sudden and accidental damage.” For a no-cost. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Then he drags the basket down the stairs. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 51 . the homeowner could not get out the huge blue stain.

no. “I’ll get my offer from the insurance company’s guy and then call Melrose to see if he can improve the offer. The Two-Step. I don’t discriminate!” And the homeowner said. you’re not getting it. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. the agents would tell the homeowners. “That’s OK.My colleague replied.” Does that actually work? It depends. no-obligation discussion of your damage. I had no idea that damage was covered. If the insurance companies don’t even tell their own agents about what is covered? How are the homeowners supposed to know? If the insurance companies did share all of these secrets with their agents. Does It Work? You might be thinking. Telling the agents would cost them a lot more money. “No. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 52 . Is your objective to For a no-cost. That’s one big reason why you need a Public Adjuster to level the playing field.

Know what it is? It’s that “f-word” we talked about earlier – flood. I have met… one… who had a flood policy from the federal government program. There is one word in particular that you NEVER want to say to the insurance company.pay the lowest amount possible for any service you use? Or. no-obligation discussion of your damage. those are two different matters. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. In the hundred of policies I’ve reviewed for homeowners. For a no-cost. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 53 . You see a homeowner can torpedo their claim with ONE WRONG WORD. is your objective to end up with the most cash possible in your own pocket? How Do You Get the Most Ca$h for Your Damage? When it comes to dealing with the insurance company and their expert adjusters.

If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 54 . Also. We’ll talk about that more when we discuss what endorsements should be included in your policy. Some of those I can’t help once the insurance company adjuster has his own set of pictures or his notes on what he saw before the homeowner fulfilled their obligations under the policy. When the insurance company adjuster shows up. the adjuster can reduce or even deny the claim for that alone.Even he was using it in a way that would not get him paid though. no-obligation discussion of your damage. What you say can and often does allow the insurance For a no-cost. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. your policy has seven conditions that you need to meet before they will pay. Be careful when you talk to anyone at the insurance company about your claim. If you have skipped a step. it could be big trouble for you. You see. anything you say can and will be used against you.

Once you make that misstep. It’s called Xactimate. “But Scott. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 55 . And. no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Even if you say everything correctly. To get paid fully. you need to use the same format the insurance companies use. If you meet the insurance company adjuster by yourself.company to reduce or even deny your claim. you need to give the insurance company an estimate. the adjuster usually will make that lowball offer of 25 to 40 cents on the dollar. They Already Gave Me a Check!” Another reason you may not have already called me for an appointment is that they already For a no-cost. getting full payment becomes a fight. the insurance company expects to get away with the lowball offer. He’ll then inform the insurance company of the amount.

it’s not too late to help you. It can and does happen though. In most states by law. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. you can have damage they did not address that is worth THOUSANDS to you! Remember the restoration company we looked at earlier? The one who also does insurance work. It’s a lot tougher to get you ca$h in this case. I won’t sugar coat this. Well. Maybe you cashed it too. So.gave you a check. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 56 . Even though they get much of their For a no-cost. no-obligation discussion of your damage. what are you waiting for? Talk with a Public Adjuster! Even if they gave you what you think is a “good” settlement. it’s not too late to call in a Public Adjuster. Often a Public Adjuster can still help. Even if they denied your claim. a Public Adjuster can “re-open” your claim up to 365 days after the date of your loss. You’ll need to talk about the details to see.

construction companies send out salesmen to go door to door to sign up business. no-obligation discussion of your damage. “A Nice Man Came to the Door and It’s So Convenient!” When a big storm hits. They will promise to get your work taken care of and guarantee that you don’t have to come out of pocket. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 57 . we get the homeowners twice what the insurance company would pay out. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Those companies can seem like such a good option. He said that when they work with a Public Adjuster. This contractor is NOT a cut-rate contractor either. One of their top guys shared the reason with me. I’ll admit it’s a tempting offer… on the surface. It’s convenient and takes a lot of the For a no-cost.business directly from the insurance company. they LOVE to work with a Public Adjuster when they can.

For a no-cost. Don’t take my word for it by the way. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. representing a homeowner on insurance settlements without the proper license – Public Adjuster – is not even legal.hassle out of getting your damage addressed. It especially is meant for “storm chasers”. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 58 . very few of them use the state of the art estimating software – Xactimate. the gold standard of the estimating industry – that Public Adjusters use. Did you know though that your insurance company is not required by law to listen to them or respect their estimate? In fact. that includes contractors. Yes. “My Contractor Is Not Acting Legally?!?!?” In at least one state (Illinois). no-obligation discussion of your damage. Ask the contractor (in IL) if he is complying with 215 ILCS 5/1510 and 215 ILCS 5/1605.

So why would the insurance company even talk with them? It’s simple really. Why? It’s because they KNOW they can get away with paying less money than when you have the proper and legal advocate. “Not much. How Do You KNOW How Well Your Contractor Is Performing? So then. how can the contractor still work and get enough money so they don’t go For a no-cost. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 59 . How much leverage can a contractor who is not acting legally have over the insurance company? If you answered. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Guess who? A licensed and bonded Public Adjuster can do a much better job of representing YOUR interests.” You’re right. The insurance company is typically willing to talk with contractors.Not complying is a Class A misdemeanor under 215 ILCS 5/1610. no-obligation discussion of your damage.

they wouldn’t. Some contractors are skilled enough to skip things that may not matter to getting the repair “functional”. no-obligation discussion of your damage. The only way to get ALL damage properly addressed by policy is to get an estimate Xactimate by someone trained of the the in and For a no-cost. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 60 . So how do they make up for not getting enough money from the insurance company to cover the costs for a true repair? The only way they can make that up is skip parts of the repair that are in a good Xactimate estimate. if they addressed everything that a thorough Xactimate estimate would call for.broke? Well. So am I saying you’re getting a “bad” repair? It depends. Are they doing everything to bring the property back to pre-loss condition though? They can’t. They would lose money.

If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 61 . You see. it depends. a Public Adjuster can get the insurance company to tack on the funds to pay for a general contractor (overhead. “Will I Have Enough Money to Make the Repairs?” Again. no-obligation discussion of your damage. profit. taxes. That’s a licensed and bonded Public Adjuster. you are not required to hire one if you don’t want to. One more place where it helps to have a Public Adjuster instead of just a contractor is when you have a complex job with damage to the interior and the exterior.incentivized to get you the most money possible under your policy. Adding on the general contractor’s fee can add up to 2530% to what you would get. For a no-cost. when the damage is that complex. permits and insurance) whether you hire one or not. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Again.

We stay neutral among reliable local contractors. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 62 . A Public Adjuster’s job is to get you the money for your repairs. Check references and check with your local government and supply houses. If you hire one of those companies that are all over the TV channels. It’s a very good bet that a contractor who has been working in your town for many years with a good reputation is available at a reasonable price these days. You Just Want Your House Fixed – and Fixed Right! For a no-cost. you probably will spend more money than you need to. no-obligation discussion of your damage. You are going to have to do some shopping.Now anyone can go out and spend the kind of money for a repair that the folks who have more money than brains spend. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Just Who Should You Hire? Contractors are scrambling right now.

The seventh and final reason you may be thinking of not calling is that you may be concerned about how much hassle and time this will take. You won’t have to give the insurance company 3 estimates from contractors who are like herding cats. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 63 . no-obligation discussion of your damage. that they are bidding against each other to cut corners the most – and get paid the least… or For a no-cost. They know up front. the path to the least hassle – other than putting your head in the sand and letting the damage just sit there for eternity – is to call a licensed and bonded Public Adjuster. Well. You see. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. a Public Adjuster can keep the insurance company from making you jump through lots of unnecessary hoops. The contractors know the insurance companies are going to force you to accept the lowest bid.

you won’t be stuck with getting only the money from the lowest bid. That’s the guy willing to cut the most corners by the way. You won’t have to play phone tag with the insurance company either. When you call a Public Adjuster. no-obligation discussion of your damage. For a no-cost. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 64 .putting in a few hours of work for no pay whatsoever.

Out of the several hundred policies.Chapter Six What You Need to Know Before Spending Another Dollar on Property Insurance This chapter is based on a process I perform in homes hundreds of times each year. In the home. I have examined only one had all the bases covered. no-obligation discussion of your damage. I strongly believe that a homeowner’s best value for the money is in the “allrisk” or HO-3 policy. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. You pay a little bit more for it than a Broad or HO-2 policy. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 65 . The first thing I look at is the type of policy. It’s called a policy analysis. I translate a homeowner’s policy into English so the homeowner can understand their coverage. But the all-risk policy gives you so much more in coverage that it is one of the true For a no-cost.

I have met owners who thought their agent was doing them a favor and saving them a few bucks by keeping the policy a homeowner’s policy. those agents are putting the coverage in jeopardy. he contacted me too late in the process to help him at all. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. I have worked with an owner who received nothing from a whole house fire because his family lived in it while he lived elsewhere. The insurance company already For a no-cost. If you own a house that you are no longer living in.bargains in financial services available. see the chapter on commercial policies. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 66 . In fact. Once you no longer live in the house. Sadly. it becomes a commercial property and requires a commercial policy The change to commercial policy applies even if you have family members living there.

no-obligation discussion of your damage. I have seen some that specifically exclude weather. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 67 . the forced-place policy is designed to pay off the lender for a total loss – not allowing the homeowner to rebuild. Another thing to check is whether the homeowner has a “forced place” policy. The forced-place policy that excludes weather is weaker than even the standard policy – which has been extinct for many years.had many recorded statements and written responses that doomed his chances to collect for the damage. The lender imposes these policies when the homeowner allows their policy to lapse. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. the forced placement policy costs a multiple of what a normal homeowner’s policy costs. That means lightning is not covered. Forced-place policies are limited in their coverage. And to top it off. For a no-cost. Also.

The Coverage A number has two jobs. If. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.Pay enough to totally rebuild from the ground up. Each one comes into play if you have a total loss.If you have one of these forced-place policies. One of the most important numbers in the policy is your amount for the dwelling coverage. so I For a no-cost. the amount of Coverage A needs to be large enough to: . God forbid. The type of loss we concerned with here could be a whole house fire or a tornado carrying the house off to Kansas. you have that total loss. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 68 . It’s shown as “Coverage A” under many homeowner’s policies.Pay off any mortgage(s) . The lenders are pretty good at keeping their butts covered. I urge you to replace it with a normal homeowner’s policy as soon as you have 2 nickels to rub together. no-obligation discussion of your damage.

In my area at this time. $130 per square foot is a typical number contractors tell me they need to rebuild completely.don’t concern myself with checking that out. Check on you area and for your type of house. Another thing to check on that is a bit beyond what I look at in a policy review is the issue of “full replacement value” versus “extended For a no-cost. It varies a lot. no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. I do mention it to the homeowner though in case they want to check it out. That number is typically higher than what the house would sell for. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 69 . Check for your metro area and your neighborhood. Being able to rebuild though is a bigger concern. In nicer neighborhoods in my area. The Coverage A amount needs to be large enough to pay to totally rebuild the house from the ground up. it might take $150. $200 or even more per square foot.

replacement value”. After the change to the “Extended Replacement Value”. The episode of NOW hosted by David Brancaccio we discussed earlier spends much of the episode on this specific issue.This issue has not been an issue in my markets to date . According to the homeowners. no-obligation discussion of your damage. many homeowners lost about 60% of their coverage in the case of a total loss. Prior to the southern California fires of 2003. many insurance companies quietly changed the language of their policies. Some owners reported noticing the change and asking their agent.You should look at the full policy to make sure what you have. The reasons I haven’t been directly involved with are: . If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 70 . call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. the agents told them that it was For a no-cost.

When you have water back-up through the sewer or sump pump. The water from such a back-up is deemed hazardous waste. An endorsement is additional coverage for a specific peril or risk that the insurance company can offer. black water is not just a song by the Doobie Brothers. The industry terms are Category 3 or “black water”. The next part to look at in a policy review is an endorsement for “water back-up”. animal droppings. that water has traveled through the ground outside. Those contaminants can be fertilizer. Unfortunately. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 71 . Therefore. the water is contaminated by whatever is around the outside of your home. No. It For a no-cost. pesticides and herbicides – just to name a few. that turned out not to be the case. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.the same or even a better policy.

Most insurance companies will sell this coverage in increments of $5000 or $10. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. A finished basement will need a minimum of around $20. If they will only sell me $10. That’s even if “partially” finished. the settlement for a proper clean up of an unfinished basement is usually around $10.000. I would change insurance companies. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 72 .000. When black water is in the home.000 to rebuild. I have talked to many homeowners who have no coverage or inadequate coverage for this type of loss. For a no-cost.000. However. I would get as much coverage for water back-up as they would sell me. I know that sounds awfully strong. When buying insurance for my own home with a finished basement.can cost you big money without the proper coverage. no-obligation discussion of your damage. Unfortunately.

then it’s out of your pocket. The way this endorsement works comes down to the type of damage you have. that repair is covered. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 73 . your local government will make you bring that system up to the current code. you could have a small fire in the kitchen that damages the electrical system. How much is enough? The best way to figure that is to consider how old your house is and what systems have been updated recently. Let’s say you have damage that affects one of the systems in your house. no-obligation discussion of your damage. or don’t have enough. If you don’t have it. Another coverage to look at is one called “All Laws and Ordinances”. When you get your permits to have the work done. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. For example.they didn’t talk to me until after they needed it. If you have the right endorsement. For a no-cost.

It would take him tens of thousands of dollars just on that system alone. One town in my metro area a special requirement any time a house in the older part of town has a major rehab. Imagine what it takes to cut a hole in a brick wall to make a window bigger. For a no-cost. What about plumbing systems? What if some damage forced you to update the entire plumbing system? Damage could also affect items like stair width. He has the kind that runs bare wire along insulators that are attached to the rafters. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. window size. Half the house still has the original wiring. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 74 .One owner I worked with has a house that is over 80 years old. stair slope. Those houses must comply with ADA .the Americans with Disabilities Act. or how high a window is off the floor. no-obligation discussion of your damage.

By the way.adding lifts .many more changes Do you want to be the one footing that bill? Another coverage that few people think of is for their jewelry. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.possibly installing a bathroom on the first floor .For a major renovation in that area. no-obligation discussion of your damage.adding ramps .installing grab bars . that coverage only applies if you can provide a police report for the loss – stole. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 75 . you are looking at changes like: . Even the all-risk policy has limits of $1500 per piece of jewelry to $2500 maximum for all jewelry (and furs).making all doors wider . If you can’t provide a police report for the loss – lost or damaged – there is no coverage. For a no-cost.

but it looked like a $10. You tell your agent which pieces you have and what it would cost to replace them – at today’s prices.” I’m no expert on jewelry.At many of my appointments. Of course. no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 76 . She explained that she thought they didn’t need additional coverage on her ring because her husband “only paid $450 for it – in 1962. One lady had a large diamond ring on her finger. each of these additional coverages will cost some For a no-cost. your jewelry is covered wherever you take it. The right way to address the jewelry issue is with a “schedule” for the specific pieces of jewelry. it’s covered. the jewelry the wife has on her hand dwarfs that coverage. If you travel to Tibet and the jewelry turns up missing.000+ replacement cost to me. Once you have the schedule.

In effect. The coverages I recommend are for losses that could be quite expensive if self-insured.money. Remember. We discussed it back in Chapter 5 and should re-visit it here. Do you want to take the risk for those types of losses? One final item for the policy review is the “claim-free discount”. no-obligation discussion of your damage. They find out the hard way after it’s too late. the claim-free discount is a small bribe the insurance company may offer to persuade you to not file a claim that could get you thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. For a no-cost. Whether you invest in the coverages I suggested is a business decision for you. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 77 . Most people don’t realize that they are self-insured for those losses. it becomes an add-on to your deductible. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.

call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. To figure it in to your decision. no-obligation discussion of your damage. For a no-cost. the insurance company will withhold that discount for three years.When you file a claim. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 78 . multiply your yearly discount by three and add it to your deductible.

without the proper policy.Chapter Seven What about My Commercial Property? Commercial properties bring in some different wrinkles from the homeowner’s policy. you could well absorb any major For a no-cost. If you are a landlord.You have a friend or family member staying there . make sure you change the policy. you need a commercial policy. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you used to live in the property and decided to rent it out after moving.The agent is going along with it To repeat what we went over earlier.You are not collecting rent . That’s true even if: . If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 79 . call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.

your policy will be similar to a homeowner’s policy. Well.dwelling policy – instead of an HO on the paperwork. It will be a “DP” . no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you do own such a property that you no longer live in. We went over a few key endorsements for the homeowner’s policy. then you have a bit of a different animal. The reason is that the insurance company can choose to not pay at all if you have the HO-3 and you don’t reside in the property. the For a no-cost. The commercial policy is made up of dozens of endorsements. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. for commercial.loss totally out of your own pocket. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 80 . you are better protected with a DP-1 (Basic – 7 named perils) than an HO-3 (all-risk). If your property is a residential building with 1 to 4 units. If you have commercial property that is anything other than residential with 1-4 units.

I’ll confess that I lack hard statistics on that issue. it means that when you set up your commercial insurance. you are betting your business on what you get. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 81 . call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Getting to the bottom of commercial policies requires analysis by a commercial policy specialist. I believe it’s in the ballpark though. no-obligation discussion of your damage. Even if that 50% stat is double the real number.endorsements are pretty much the whole ball game. A contractor once presented that over 50% of businesses that have a large loss due to insurable perils never re-open their doors. The endorsements giveth and the endorsements taketh away. For a no-cost. I’ll show you a way to get a complementary review of your commercial policy at the end of this chapter.

call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. My colleague was able to get the insurance company to take over the responsibility for the mortgage. no-obligation discussion of your damage. The endorsement to have the insurance company take responsibility for the mortgage was huge in being able to get through the process though. what do you do? If you’re a good businessperson. it was a huge settlement. Initially. A multi-story hotel had its sprinkler system freeze and burst. In time. so the owner did not get wiped out while going through the process. The burst pipes created an indoor waterfall in the middle of winter. if you agree or even suspect that you have bet your company on your commercial property. So. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 82 . you For a no-cost. the insurance company denied the claim.One commercial loss a colleague of mine worked on shows this.

Analyze your policy and translate it into English for you so you can make an intelligent decision about future coverage . You may be interested in a service that will .Represent you at pre-set rates based on the size of your loss that are aggressive in the industry For a no-cost. no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.get an analysis of that policy by a commercial property specialist so you at least know what risks you are really taking. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 83 .Document and file your building structure and your contents so they’re ready to go to the insurance company in case of a loss .Have accountants who talk with yours and set up files that have your baseline numbers to establish loss of use/loss of business .

I’ll get back to you shortly.Bring in a resource that will document all of your emergency shut-offs (gas. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.. Then say you want to learn about commercial services and leave your contact information. electricity. etc) into a convenient form for you (How much damage does an extra 5 minutes to find and get to the water shut off valve cost you when the sprinkler system has frozen?) . Press “1” during the greeting. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 84 . water. For a no-cost.Do all of the above for an upfront fee of… .ZERO dollars To learn more call the tollfree hot line 24/7 at (855) 3874448.Develop and document a calling plan to alert emergency services when you have damage .

you don’t have access to the same kind of information you can get to choose the members of your fantasy league team. No one compiles stats on winning percentage or size of settlements. How Do I Choose My Public Adjuster? Choosing a Public Adjuster. “If I can’t tell whether I’m getting someone For a no-cost. Some people might just throw up their hands and say. I truly do not know what anyone else’s really is. is a lot like choosing any other kind of professional.Chapter Eight OK. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 85 . no-obligation discussion of your damage. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Unfortunately. No one really knows who does the best in tough situations. As proud as I am about my own success rate.

why bother at all?” I’ll tell you why. Would you even consider going into a legal negotiation and allowing the other person to have his attorney speak for both you and him? Would you make that choice without even an impartial judge to protect your rights? As crazy as it sounds. Just having your own Public Adjuster will influence the way the For a no-cost. Therefore. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 86 . no-obligation discussion of your damage. I’m going to say that any licensed and bonded Public Adjuster will do a better job of protecting your rights and getting you as much money as possible for your damage than not having one. that’s the choice most people make when dealing with the experienced experts at their insurance company.who is any good. Let’s consider a legal situation.

Does the Public Adjuster use Xactimate software for his estimates? For a no-cost.naic. you can review my IL license status at: https://sbs-il.org/Lionweb/jsp/sbsreports/AgentLookup. The whole purpose of this book is to help guide you into selecting the Public Adjuster who will be the best fit for you. no-obligation discussion of your damage.Does the Public Adjuster belong to an industry trade group like the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters? (AAPIA) . So here are some things to look for: . call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.insurance company treats you during the process.Is the license current? In most states you can check this online. For example.Does the Public Adjuster train other Adjusters? . If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 87 .jsp .

If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 88 . call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. no-obligation discussion of your damage.Does the Public Adjuster have access to thousands of settled claims to use as precedents to get the most from the insurance company? Additional criteria for commercial property owners: .Does the Public Adjuster offer you a complementary policy analysis? ..Does the Public Adjuster provide a resource for a For a no-cost.Does the Public Adjuster network with other Adjusters to keep up to date on current trends? .Does the Public Adjuster Display the license when they show up at your home or property? .Does the Public Adjuster offer to translate you policy into English? .Does the Public Adjuster dress professionally? .

If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 89 . call the 24/7 toll-free hot line at (855) 387-4448. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. During the greeting press “1”.Does the Public Adjuster operate in all of the states you do? For the complementary services I’ve discussed. I wish you good luck and big fat checks from your settlements. no-obligation discussion of your damage. I’ll be in touch shortly. Scott J Melrose October 2012 For a no-cost. contents and baseline business activity? . At the tone please share the issue to discuss and your contact info.Does the Public Adjuster offer to file data for your structure.complimentary emergency plan? .

call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. The Smart family got that settlement because they hired a Public Adjuster. One set of owners. Their Public Adjuster was able to develop an estimate in Xactimate ahead of the meeting with the insurance company adjuster. Smart got a full settlement for their damage. The Public Adjuster’s estimate also showed how much the insurance company adjuster should expect to pay the Smart family for the damage.Chapter Nine Epilog Let’s return to those two families and the two houses we met in Chapter One. In fact the insurance company adjuster decided to save himself some time and just cut and For a no-cost. The Public Adjuster then educated the insurance company adjuster about the full extent of the damage. we’ll call them Mr & Mrs. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 90 .

no-obligation discussion of your damage. The Doh family had decided to contact the For a no-cost. They found those contractors from those who had done a good job at a fair price for their friends and neighbors. Some of the contractors even do subcontracting for the big name contractors who charge an arm and a leg. Mr & Mrs. The Smarts were able to work with a reliable local contractor who was able to work comfortably within their budget and complete the work properly. The Smarts got their check from the insurance company in a few weeks and was able to negotiate with several local contractors directly.paste the Public Adjuster’s file into his own file for the claim. Doh. The Smarts lived happily ever after. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 91 . were already behind the eightball when we met them. Their neighbors.

The agent was nice enough. the Dohs ended up with less money than the Smarts. But. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 92 . the agent was not able to help them get more money. The Smarts also told the Dohs that their contractor was completing all of the repairs within the budget they set.insurance company directly. They were faced with the choice of coming out of pocket to make up the For a no-cost. when the insurance company’s adjuster gave the Dohs a lowball offer. The Dohs did share their frustration with the Smarts. The Smarts told the Dohs how happy they were with their settlement. The Public Adjuster was able to re-open the claim and increase the amount the insurance company paid them. The Dohs finally decided to call the Public Adjuster who had helped the Smarts. Sadly though. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info.

difference or skimp on their repairs. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. For a no-cost. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 93 .

The Insurance Hoax” by PBS NOW. Deny. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. Darrell Bloomberg Markets “Home Insurers' Secret Tactics Cheat Fire Victims.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid =aIOpZROwhvNI Feinman. David “Insurance 9-1-1. Dietz. Jay Delay.bloomberg. David and Preston.Resources: Brancaccio. For a no-cost. The program is available for purchase from PBS. NY 2010 ISBN 9781591843153. Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don’t Pay Claims and What You Can Do about It Portfolio – a member of the Penguin Group New York. Hike Profits” August 2007 Web link: http://www. no-obligation discussion of your damage. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 94 .

Scott and his wife Susan live in Mokena. Stephen. Scott has been a Certified Quality Engineer by the American Society of Quality and has held several licenses in the financial. He has also served as a catechist in the religious education ministry.About the Author Scott Melrose is a licensed and bonded Public Adjuster licensed in IL & IN. IL. insurance and legal services industries in past lives. IL and Orland Park. He serves as a lector and a catechist for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. If you are in IL or IN ask about the 57-point damage audit Page 95 . IL. Get Your Claim’s Worth” and has appeared on the WLS AM 890-morning show with Don Wade and Roma. Scott is a member of St. Deacon and Martyr Catholic Church in Tinley Park. no-obligation discussion of your damage. Scott is a past ambassador for the Mokena. They have four grown children and three grandchildren. Scott is a member of the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (AAPIA) and the Mokena. call the 24/7 toll free hot line at (855) 387-4448 and during the greeting press 1 to leave your contact info. IL Chambers of Commerce. For a no-cost. Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Chemical Engineering) from the Cleveland State University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. IL Chamber of Commerce. Scott has been a regular panelist on the internet radio talk show “Got Damage.