You don’t, we do all of the negotiations. Please be mindful that we will not accept any offer of payment from insurance companies without your explicit approval in writing. Our function is to make an easily and acceptable formatted Schedule of everything that has been damaged in the fire. Also, be mindful that micro-particles of soot can be found all over the house and just because a room does not look as though it has been affected, there is every possibility/probability that there is some contamination.
Our first interest is to ensure that you and your family will be safely accommodated in a hotel for the first few days while we negotiate with your insurers as to the quality of alternative accommodation to be provided. It is vital that you/your family are accommodated in a similar type of property, in terms of area and square footage/meterage. A common “trick” (we make no apologies for the use of the word because it is a trick) is for a Loss Adjuster to suggest that you are living in, for example a 3-bedroom property but surely you won’t have any problem relocating for a few months to a 2-bedroom apartment. Let’s get it straight from the start. If you are living in a good quality 4-bedroom detached home then your insurers’ liability is to ensure that you are given a property in a similar neighbourhood and the same inside area. However, if, for example, you decide that you are indeed prepared to move into a smaller property. We will negotiate on your behalf to ensure that a goodly percentage of what you would’ve had to pay for the large property will form part of your claim.
We are not “yes men”. If we think that the Loss Adjuster is acting unfairly in his handling of your insurance claim (more often than we would expect!) we will tell them so. Our function is to get you the highest possible settlement due under the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Fire insurance claim negotiation is, sadly, never a quick and easy matter and we find that the average time that a major fire takes to settle can be up to 12/18 months. However, this does not mean that you will have to wait that time for the settlement monies insofar that we will keep tabs on every penny that you spend and we will make sure that your insurers pay you out an interim payment on a very regular basis.
One of the reasons that fire claims take such a long time to settle is because, more often than not, Loss Adjusters have a very heavy workload dealing with lots of very small claims. This also results in it often taking “an age” to respond to your calls and vitally, come back with an offer. Salmon Assessors circumnavigate this by only taking on claims of c. £15,000 (yes, we go into the millions as well!) so we are never overloaded and, if we are, we take on new staff. (Also note that we do not have any junior staff whatsoever).