How to get your money

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Mager said the second important thing that people who file a claim should do is write constantly. When you learn when your inspector is coming, write to you insurance provider and say you’re looking forward to meeting with the inspector. If the inspector does not come on the scheduled day, write them again and ask them to explain in writing why they did not come. “It’s important to dog your claim,” Mager said.

When you have a contractor come in to do work, do not pay them in cash, Mager said. Also make sure you get a written, detailed estimate of how much the work will cost and what is being done.

“Don’t have someone come in and give you an estimate that says, ‘fix walls: $700,’” said Mager. “I want to know specifically what they did, what kind of work, what labor, what materials. Because you want to document that. Imagine if you’re FEMA or an insurance company: if you don’t understand it, you’re not going to pay it. So you want to make sure that all of those estimates are detailed and they talk about the work that they do.”

It’s also important, Mager said, to contact your insurance company and request a certified copy of your policy, so you know exactly what you’re covered for. It is your agent’s duty to provide you with a copy of your policy if you ask. “You also want to make sure that insurance agent is going to be actively involved in your claim,” he said. “They have an affirmative duty to assist you with your claim.”

“But you should know that in most of these situations, in the mass claims that I have been involved in, you will find that most times you get blanket denials,” Mager said. “And it leaves you very angry and frustrated as to why you pay for insurance and what the people are doing. You have to combat that with fire: with documentation, with letter-writing, with the stuff I’m talking about. If you do that, you’re going to get a recovery. If you don’t do that, good luck.”

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