Accidents happen all the time. They occur randomly and you are never really prepared for them. They are one of the biggest threats to modern homeowners and community associations. In the event that an unforeseeable accident causes significant damage to your house, it is likely that you will have no idea what steps to take moving forward. Surely you have insurance, but filing a claim on your insurance is one of the biggest pains to deal with, especially when you are a part of an organization like a community association. There are all kinds of paperwork and files and pictures, and it never truly seems like your insurance company is trying their best to help you, despite their claims to the contrary.
So, in the event of damage to your home, what do you do? You have to file on your insurance, and even though your insurance company assigns you someone to help you and advocate for you, they might not be the best person to get non-biased assistance from.
And you definitely cannot do it alone. Filing a claim on insurance has to be treated like a full-time job, and one where you probably do not know half of what is going on most of the time. If you have suffered a huge amount of damage to your home, then maybe the do-it-yourself method is not the best way to go. You would not send your weakest fighter to win the boxing championship, would you?
You need a public adjuster. Their only job is to advocate for you during your claim process. They deal with all of the harrowing paperwork, meetings, and documents necessary, and they are extremely proficient in earning you a speedy and efficient settlement—mostly because that is how they get paid. They know the inner workings of insurance policies and how to maneuver within the restrictions they pose against you getting all your policy offers.
A public adjuster is one of the most definite ways to get a quick and easy settlement from your insurance. But what if you live in a community association, where it can be difficult to deal with your insurance personally? They will work with those, too. Let’s talk about how.
What Is A Community Association?
A community association is essentially an inter-community mini-government comprised of homeowners. Community associations can be formed by entire neighborhoods, apartment buildings, condominium communities, and really any other large grouping of homes. They create rules that all homeowners in the community must adhere to.
If you have ever seen a movie with a neighborhood watch system, that program was hypothetically formed by a communal leading body like a community association.
No, that does not mean you are part of some secret governing society, but it does mean there are local representatives from your home community making sure your neighborhood runs safely and smoothly—which is a comforting thought.
The best thing about community associations is that all rules decided by them are made by people within the community, so there are no non-relevant and uninformed board of people making decisions about your community without your permission.
What do they make rules about? Basically anything. The board can make rules about anything they want. The goal is to make the neighborhood cohesive, safe, and visually appealing. They can dictate architectural guidelines and specific door colors. They even have the right to decide when your grass is too long.
How do they function? Community associations have to charge monthly fees in order to even do any of this. They decide the monthly rate, and then they decide how to spend it, too. Usually, community associations use the money to keep up the maintenance of the public areas also pay for events and business fees. The associations are considered non-profit organizations, so they need the fees in order to be utilized well.
They also decide community budgets to keep up the public aspects of the community. Maintaining common areas like sidewalks and roads are very important for a public image, just as planning and coordinating events is important for a sense of community.
When it comes to insurance policies, community associations have to have insurance policies to cover all public areas inside the community. This includes sidewalks, fencing, common areas, and anywhere in the public eye. This can sometimes cover some of a homeowner’s property if there is a blatantly public portion of your property. (Sometimes community associations have to hire public adjusters to help them claim, too!)
They can also decide what type of homeowner’s policy you are allowed to have and how to go about filing on your insurance. A community association will have its own insurance for damages done, so their policies for the community and the policy can conflict when it comes to filing efficiently. So, you can see where this can get a little complicated when it comes to filing a claim on your homeowner’s insurance.
This is where the public adjuster comes in handy. In the event of damage done to your home, they will do the work of talking with both your community association and your insurance company so that you can get the best settlement possible.
How Can A Public Adjuster Help You with Your Community Association After Home Damage?
Accidental disasters happen all the time, and if one damages your home, being a part of a community association that has a lot of strict insurance policies can cause complicated conflicts with your own insurance policies, which can cause you a lot of incessant fury and frustration.
It has already been established that a public adjuster is your best advocate. But this does not just stop with your insurance company. They can help you mediate between your insurance policy and your community associations input on the damage done to your home. Your community association wants the damages fixed as much as you do, especially because part of their policy covers your property, too. Here some examples of how public adjusters work with your community association:
1. They are the first ones on the scene.
Your public adjuster should be the first person you call when something goes wrong because they will come sprinting like an insurance Superman. They are like your mother after someone bullied you in middle school. They are there to take care of you and alleviate your stress.
Having them be the first ones to help you after a disaster makes sure you have the advantage in the claim process. The public adjuster will document all of the immediate damages and take the pictures that prove the extent of the damage. Your insurance company is not your enemy, but they are not necessarily on your side either. They are not going to want to pay out thousands of dollars to you if they can help it.
Insurance companies are never going to try to help you prove your claim. They will ask for specific documentation that must be met for them to even consider you are telling the truth about your claim. In a way, they will try to disprove your claim in every way possible. But, your public adjuster would know what kinds of things are necessary to effectively prove the extent of the damages—like specifically what to photograph and document.
In doing this, they would also be ensuring that your community association’s portion of the insurance filing would be taken care of as well. Since your home is part of their organization, they have to file as well, only it would not cover all the damages to your personal home, only the parts of the property that would be under the association’s policy (like the outside or sidewalks). The public adjuster would help bridge the two insurance filings and make sure all documentation is done properly.
Your public adjuster would also be able to get into contact with contractors that could help survey and estimate the cost of the damages, which would help you and your community association know how much to expect from the settlement (assuming your policy covered all damages).
2. They make sure everything goes where it needs to go.
There are A LOT of documents that are needed throughout the entire claim and settlement process. It is very confusing on what is needed when and where, and who it goes to. A public adjuster is much more informed on what to do with what. They can make sure that every document gets to where it needs to go.
If there are documents that need to go to your community association, the public adjuster will make sure it gets there. And all the other hundreds of documents and pictures that need to go to your insurance company, the public adjuster will send them that way.
3. They will make sure all settlements are speedy.
With both you and your community association dealing with insurance filings and companies, the assumption would be that the final settlement would take months (and sometimes years) to complete. And if you were to be dealing with everything on your own or just through your insurance company, it would. No one has the time to only deal with their insurance claims, and when it is not a constant focus in your life (which it should not be) there are possibilities it could take much longer than actually necessary.
But a public adjuster’s main job is to handle situations like these, so they would ensure that your settlement is not prolonged for any reason. They have the time to focus on your case. It is their literal job.
4. They will not get in the way.
Sometimes when you have someone as your advocator, they can get in the way of you doing other things. This is not the case for public adjusters. Their purpose is to make you feel better about the claiming process, not make you feel smothered or choked off by it. So, they will not get in the way of your life continuing on past the insurance battle.
Your public adjuster also will not get in the way of your community association’s process for the damage. Your community association will be having to do their own claiming process for any damage done to the public portions of your property, so the public adjuster will work with them to make sure no one is feeling overridden or overshadowed.
The main purpose of a public adjuster is to make sure you get through the claim process with as little stress on your part as possible. They literally take the reins on the whole thing, so all you have to do is talk about what happened. They’re your guide through the jungle—they lead, you follow.
They want your settlement to be as efficient as possible, just as much as you do. If it takes forever or the settlement is useless, the public adjuster suffers too. Not as much as you do, obviously, but they spent countless hours on your case without acknowledgment.
While filing a claim can seem extremely complicated when it comes to additionally dealing with a community association, a public adjuster makes sure this is not so. They mediate so everyone ends up happy with what the settlements become. Public adjusters hold both of your hands throughout the entire process.
It is rare that a public adjuster will have to mediate between the community association and a single homeowner. That is because the community association wants your home to be fixed almost as much as you do. Both sides are rooting for your claim to go through, so while it seems public adjusters and community associations conflict a lot by principal alone, that does not always happen. That would make a lot of extra stress that would be very counterproductive.
Because of how much they help, there is no downside to hiring a public adjuster to help you through the devastation that accidents can cause to your home. Unless you’re some kind of genius insurance layman, a public adjuster would be your best bet at getting a fair settlement.
If your home or condo has been damaged in a storm or another disaster, reach out to Bulldog Adjusters. Not only do we do free damage inspections and estimates, but we get you the biggest possible settlement from your insurance company!