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"After the Fires" - Tips to avoid being victimized by an insurance scam

Madison Voss
May 21, 2013 3:59 PM

  • Immediately contact your insurance company and/or insurance agent. If you don't have the contact information, the Department of Insurance can help: 1-800-927-HELP (4357) or www.insurance.ca.gov.
  • Many insurance policies provide for living expenses in cases of emergency. Your insurance company and agent can help make sure the money arrives promptly. 
  • Don't sign any contracts for repairs or other needs until you have spoken directly to your insurance company representative or agent.
  • Demand to see identification from anyone contacting you regarding your claim.
  • There are two types of insurance adjusters:
    1. Private insurance adjusters, representing insurance companies such as Farmers, State Farm, or AAA.
    2. Public adjusters, who represent insurance claimants.
  • Insurance company adjusters are employed by insurance companies. They do not charge a fee.
  • Public adjusters work for and represent insurance claimants. They do charge a fee. Generally, the fee is a percentage of your entire insurance settlement amount.
  • Public adjusters cannot solicit your business:
  1. while the loss is underway
  2. between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.
  3. for seven calendar days after the disaster 
  • Ask to see the California adjuster's license and note the license number and full name. Do not rely upon a business card.
  • If you are unsure, call the Department of Insurance Help Line AT 1-800-927-HELP.
  • A public adjuster contract can be cancelled by you within 72 hours of signing.
  • It is illegal for a public adjuster to advance money as an inducement to sign a contract.
  • Public adjusters may not offer referral fees in excess of $100. 
  • Public adjusters may not have an interest in any contractor, demolition company, or any entity making repairs to your property.
  • Public adjusters may not use a badge as identification.
  • Beware of anyone attempting to rush you into signing a contract.
  • Beware of any contractor attempting to have you sign a contract or begin demolition and clean-up.
  • Beware of any attorney urging you to sign any documents.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR NEED ASSISTANCE, THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE IS HERE TO HELP. PLEASE CALL:

THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE (CDI)
1-800-927-HELP [4357] or www.insurance.ca.gov

 ADDITIONAL CONTACT INFORMATION:

FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY:
1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or www.fema.gov

CONTRACTORS STATE LICENSE BOARD:
1-800-321-CSLB (2752) or www.cslb.ca.gov

NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU
1-888-815-9064 or www.nicb.org

 

 

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