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MMD > Archives > December 1998 > 1998.12.17 > 05Prev  Next

Consult an Insurance Adjuster
By Dave Smith

Fellow MMD'ers,  Once I read the posting from Jack Breen I have found
that I can remain quiet no longer.  The subject of insurance has been
lightly touched on a few times in the past, but being one that has seen
how the insurance institutes work from the "other side", I thought I
would share the following with you.  Geographic locations have a
determination on certain rules and regulations, so my experience
pertains to upstate New York.

My previous home was separated from a next door commercial building by
the width of our driveway, approximately 20 to 25 feet.  The building
was an auto parts store.  We would quite often visit there to buy sand
paper and spray paints, etc.  On some of our last visits the trouble
they were experiencing with the furnace was obvious.

Late the night of Nov. 13, 1993, the place erupted in flames, with the
fire venting in the direction of our house.  The fire had obviously
"worked" for some time in this enclosed 50' x 200' warehouse type
building.  When it finally vented, finding a renewed source of oxygen,
the flames shot out the side of the building consuming, our house in
fire.  The flames deflecting on the side of the house were at once in
the walls, attic and cellar.

The house was a total loss as was most of our belongings.  As much of
a nightmare as this may have sounded like so far, it fails to compare
with the nightmare of meeting with the insurance adjuster and an
enlightenment of what some of those things meant in my home owners

While I am fully aware of my sarcastic and bitter feelings about this
whole situation, I must confess that my ignorance about insurance
certainly played a significant role.

Today, our instruments are listed under a fine arts policy.  This seems
to be a "catch all" type policy where we can add or remove instruments
as necessary.  Is it "enough?"  No, it certainly would not replace
everything at retail cost, but it would comfortably compensate with
money to start over, if so desired.   But even before worrying about
your contents, be sure your structure is properly covered.  In my
opinion, having anything less than replacement cost insurance is poor
economy!  That is, your home should be insured for what it costs to
replace it.

When that cost is determined, the rest of the policy, usually a
percentage, is assigned to things such as contents, living expense,
loss of use, etc.

We have mandatory recycling here, and when it came time to clean up the
fire damage, everything had to be sorted.  There is a provision in your
policy to cover this expense BUT, I will bet you that it will not cover
the $20,000+ cost that came with our clean-up.

A very enlightening suggestion I might make, is to consult an insurance
adjuster!  While your insurance agent may be well versed at his job in
selling the policy, they usually have nothing to do with the settlement
process.  Many companies hire independent adjusters, and this is who I
would suggest calling for some real hard facts.  After all, these are
the people that make the determination of your loss and they can tell
you how they make such a determination.

Good luck.

Dave Smith
Out-Back Mechanical Music

(Message sent Thu 17 Dec 1998, 17:02:27 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Adjuster, an, Consult, Insurance

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