Dirty Little Insurance Secret - The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Fair Settlement

By
Real Estate Agent with BrokerInTrust Real Estate Cal BRE #01345507

With the Southern California fires blazing all around me, I thought it might be a good time to talk about Private Insurance Consultants.  Big insurance companies have a dirty little secret.  They systematically deny claims over and over in order to reduce their payout.  It's the squeaky wheel that gets the fair settlement.

Fire calabasasI learned this lesson the hard way.

Several years ago a pipe burst under my kitchen floor.  The water came up from under the floor and damaged many of my cabinets and the wood floors.  I submitted a claim to my Insurance Company and they tried to pay me a few thousand dollars.  The Insurance Company denied most of my claim.

Luckily I had a friend who referred me to his Independent Insurance Consultant, Bob Barton from Barton Consulting who I hired to file my insurance claim.  Bob worked with the Insurance Company's adjuster and a Mold Contractor to complete an estimate for a complete repair of my kitchen including mold remediation.  After only a few months, I ended up with a check for more than $60,000.  I was able to have my kitchen completely repaired.

Bob Barton of Barton Consulting is now a part of my on-call real estate team. 

I recently was on a listing appointment and while touring the home, I smelled mold.  When we got to a room off the garage, I couldn't believe what I saw.  Because of an un-repaired roof leak, there was mold growing in the room.  I immediately called Barton Consulting.  After visiting with my client, Bob filed a claim for roof damage and mold remediation.  My client has now collected a sizable check from his insurance company and is in the process of repairing his damaged roof.  Instead of listing a handy man special, I will now be listing a home in good repair.  Needless to say, my client is thrilled with this extra service.

The fires that are burning here in Southern California cause more problems than burned homes.  There is also smoke and water damage.  Many insurance policies even cover mandatory evacuation costs and will reimburse hotel stays. 

If you have smoke damage, (when you move a picture on the wall you can see a clean outline) your insurance company will pay to have your home steamed and cleaned, but only if you understand how to file the claim.  It pays to hire a professional Independent Insurance Consultant.

If your home has been fire damaged partially or totally because of these fires, it is important to hire an expert to help recover the costs necessary to rebuild your home and your life.  You would be surprised at what an insurance policy will cover, but you have to know what to ask for in order to reap the benefits.  Unfortunately Insurance Companies don't volunteer this information to their clients.

If you would like more information on filing an insurance claim, please call Bob Barton at Barton Consulting.  Bob has helped thousands of families repair their lives after a disaster.  He has a staff of contractors, mold testers, attorney's and other professionals that will assist you in getting the compensation that you deserve.  Bob's company works in most states.  I highly recommend this company for your personal loss or your client's losses.  You can visit Barton Consulting's website or call 1-800-994-9680.

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Thank you for the great information. I live in Palmdale and so far we are lucky that the fires have not ht us but they are very close.  The fire in Aqua Dulce started about 15 miles from my home.  I have many friends and clients in the burn area so I will pass on this valuable information.  Hopefully they will not need it but it is always great to have in case of an emergency
Oct 23, 2007 04:03 PM #12
Rainer
36,439
Donna Oehler
HomeBased Realty - Palmdale, CA
A.V. Foreclosure Specialist

Thank you for the great information. I live in Palmdale and so far we are lucky that the fires have not ht us but they are very close.  The fire in Aqua Dulce started about 15 miles from my home.  I have many friends and clients in the burn area so I will pass on this valuable information.  Hopefully they will not need it but it is always great to have in case of an emergency

(sorry did not realize I was not signed in until I tried to bookmark)

Oct 23, 2007 04:07 PM #13
Rainer
10,871
Kotambu "KS" Shabazz
Quality Real Estate Services - Renton, WA
Renton, Real Estate Consultant

Tracy this is good to know. When I got started as an insurance agent in 1999 I always wondered why more real estate agents weren't open to having a business relationship with a good insurance consultant. Instead many transaction fell apart because an insurance binder was just another piece of paper you needed to close so a a result, I was usually called the day before or the day of closing requesting homeowners insurance. If there was a problem with the house or the buyer, occasionally I didn't have time to make it work. It is absolutely important to have a working relationship with a knowledgeable insurance professional if you are going to be successful in this business.

Oct 23, 2007 04:17 PM #14
Anonymous
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Having a public insurance claims adjuster on your side can be a big plus.  I recently had an adjuster speak to my Bradenton Real Estate Club. It was amazing to hear his stories and to hear how much he was able to help people with their claims.  His card is now close at hand for those who need help in our area.
Oct 23, 2007 04:34 PM #15
Rainmaker
451,399
Cyndee Haydon
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
727-710-8035 Clearwater, Beach Short Sales Luxury Condos &Homes
Tracey - That is great information for people to have - especially when a whole area is hit by things like fire, flood or hurricanes - it's extra important.  
Oct 23, 2007 04:37 PM #16
Rainmaker
605,804
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
Thanks, Tracey. I'll keep that information on file for the next time we have hurricane or tropical storm damage in this area - or fire, or mold - perhaps even sinkholes.
Oct 23, 2007 04:41 PM #17
Rainmaker
112,511
Tracey Thomas
BrokerInTrust Real Estate - Calabasas, CA
CA Real Estate Broker

Sally - Thanks, it looks like things are looking up here in LA County, but San Diego is still having major problems.

Diane - We're real estate specialists and Bob and his company is an Insurance specialist.

Fred - Thanks so much 

 

 

Oct 23, 2007 05:03 PM #18
Rainmaker
112,511
Tracey Thomas
BrokerInTrust Real Estate - Calabasas, CA
CA Real Estate Broker

Kate - It's amazing how much you can get done when hire a professional that understands the system.

Lizette - Your friend is lucky that her insurance adjuster made sure that everything was covered.  Most people aren't so lucky.

Joe - I agree.  It pays to have someone on your side.

Oct 23, 2007 05:08 PM #19
Rainmaker
112,511
Tracey Thomas
BrokerInTrust Real Estate - Calabasas, CA
CA Real Estate Broker

Donna - Just keep the number and website, you might run across a client who has other insurance related issues.

Kotambu - I really agree, I think it's important to have an insurance specialist on call.  There are so many different issues with homeowners insurance that could be resolved if you just had the right advice.

Dan - Yes, these are the good guys.

Oct 23, 2007 05:11 PM #20
Rainmaker
112,511
Tracey Thomas
BrokerInTrust Real Estate - Calabasas, CA
CA Real Estate Broker

Cyndee - Bob and his staff flew to New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and helped many of those folks rebuild their lives. 

Sharon - Any kind of homeowner policy claim can be handeld by an independent consultant.  Remember, Insurance Companies deny most claims first and only if you fight and know the rules do you win.

Oct 23, 2007 05:14 PM #21
Ambassador
1,909,309
Nestor & Katerina Gasset
International Properties and Investments LLC - Wellington, FL
Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale
Tracey- Are you still alright? I hope you get through this without any damage to your home. Congratulations on your feature! This is very timely information for your community as well as for us here in places like Florida. I have heard of insurance consultant, we had one in our BNI group and I never heard of that before he joined our group. I am glad that you have him with your team! Katerina
Oct 23, 2007 05:58 PM #22
Rainmaker
144,407
Gilbert Arizona Real Estate - REALTORĀ® Candace Robinson Broker Associate
Red Hawk Realty & Property Management - Mesa, AZ
Red Hawk Realty & Property Management
Tracy - This is some very valuable information for sure! I personally was involved with a litigation with my insurance company, unfortunately I didn't have someone representing me like Bob. My insurance was OK about most thing, however I had several policies with them at the time. I was currently renting and I had kept insurance on my personal belongings in fear my neighbor lit up their Christmas tree or something. Long story short, the owners had mold issues after a leak in the attic that led me down a path of inconvenience for over a year and a half. All and all my insurance company paid a settlement and then had to subrogate with the other insured. But in the end, they dropped my rental insurance and kept me on with their life, car and other policies I had with them. I was not crazy about this part of the deal, but they seem to be holding the ball when it came to my policy!! I never wanted to make the claim and wanted to go against the owners insurance but they fought us all the way. My daughters health was an issue when we found a huge mold content in her closet!! Enough said, but Bob sure would have come in handy with his expertise. I would definitely hire an expert if this were to cross my path again. At the time I didn't realize these negotiators were available. Wise choice!!
Oct 23, 2007 07:04 PM #23
Rainmaker
112,511
Tracey Thomas
BrokerInTrust Real Estate - Calabasas, CA
CA Real Estate Broker

Hey Katerina!  Yep, I'm OK, and it looks like things are getting a lot better here in LA.  The sky is still all smoke, but the winds are much better.

Candance - Mold is a very tricky thing when it comes to insurance, but remediation is covered if the claim is handled correctly.  It's just hard to find out the real story when it comes to how to get a claim settled.  I'm glad that your daughter is OK. Mold is nothing to mess with.

Oct 23, 2007 07:26 PM #24
Rainmaker
297,572
Michael J. O'Connor
Diamond Ridge Realty - Corona, CA
Eastvale - 951-847-4883
Thank you Tracey for sharing this info.  I always HATE the thought that I might need to use a service like this but he's now in my bookmarks for 'just in case' help.  I think it's just awesome that you were able to help a client with this information before you took the listing.  That's SERVICE!!
Oct 23, 2007 07:26 PM #25
Rainer
122,017
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent

I didn't know people like Bob existed. It makes sense that they would deny. I remember the John Travolta movie about the water. I can't remember the name of the movie, but in it they say they denied every claim off the start. Most people give up!

Oct 24, 2007 12:09 AM #26
Rainer
66,710
Darleen McCullen
Raleigh, NC
Broker - Raleigh, NC Real Estate
Tracey, Did your insurance company terminate your coverage when you were up for renewal? I've heard that they sometimes do that or raise your premiums.
Oct 24, 2007 12:13 AM #27
Rainmaker
112,511
Tracey Thomas
BrokerInTrust Real Estate - Calabasas, CA
CA Real Estate Broker

Michael - You can use an independent insurance consultant for any homeowners claim for you or your clients.  It makes a big difference.

Christy - I'll have to check for this movie.

Darleen - No, my insurance premium was not raised and I had no problem with renewal.  I was concerned about this also but have had no problems.  This is why we pay our premiums to have coverage.  Don't be afraid to use it.

Oct 24, 2007 12:18 AM #28
Ambassador
565,532
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC. - Metairie, LA
Homes for Sale Kenner - Metairie, La.
Tracey, being in the landlord or property management I am all together to learn on the insurance game. Pre Hurricane Katrina experiences pay off with my rather large Hurricane Katrina claims. You better bring your A game when expecting to get your fair insurance settlement. The good people on the west coast may think they survive the fire but have not face the insurance company heat. It is ashame that insurance company who you pay year in and year out don't wont to pay when due.
Oct 24, 2007 05:44 AM #29
Rainmaker
325,145
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD

Tracey,

This is invaluable information for any homeowner. It's sad to read that insurance companies appear to routinely short-change policy holders on their claims. Especially in bigger claims the best way to go is hire someone like Bob Barton.

Oct 24, 2007 03:43 PM #30
Rainmaker
34,692
Jon Mitchell
Classic Property Management - Santa Clarita, CA
Excellent advice Tracy...I find that being the squeaky wheel is generally the best option when it comes to money matters!  LOL!  I will keep your blog in mind if I come across someone with a fire damaged home.
Oct 24, 2007 05:00 PM #31
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