To begin with, expert advisors guide clients to purchase policies from reputable companies. They control insurers by checking their financial security, regulatory data and customer service.
In particular, they rate insurers’ credit ratings from agencies such as AM Best Company and Demotech. As insurance companies are regulated in each state in which they operate, advisers can contact the state insurance department to confirm that a particular carrier is in good standing and licensed to sell policies in that state. They can also monitor customer satisfaction surveys that measure a claim service.
Thomas O’Connor, a certified financial planner in Huntsville, Ala., Recalls that he helped a client buy a homeowner’s policy from a highly regarded and trusted insurance company. The client listened to O’Connor’s advice. When the customer later made a claim and received excellent service, it reflected O’Connor well.
“We introduced him to what we knew to be a reliable insurance company and supported the whole process,” O’Connor said. “Just this week, he called to rejoice at how the insurance company responded to his recent statement.”
A real test of the value of an advisor comes when clients incur losses and file a claim. Some people may not realize that their counselor may suggest ways to get a higher claim payout.
Atlanta counselor Faye Sykes cites the example of women in their 40s with three children. After the death of her ex-husband, she sought death benefits from her three life insurance policies.
To her dismay, the widow discovered that two of the three policies had expired due to non-payment of insurance premiums. Due to a long-term disability, her ex-husband had stopped paying bills.
Examining the subtle publications of the policies, Sykes found that the ex-husband wanted disability leave when he initially bought his life insurance but never sent the final documents. (Waiver of disability relieves insured persons from paying premiums in the event of a serious disability.)
“It took everyone about 60 days to clear up,” Sykes said. “I involved my wholesaler who works with an insurance company and sent all the right documents.”
As a result, his client collected $ 750,000 in death benefits. Leaving him alone would have ended the widow with much less money – just one of three policies.
“He didn’t know what giving up disability is,” Sykes said. “People in his situation may assume, ‘Oh, the policy is outdated,’ and think they won’t benefit from it. But you can’t stop there. Having incomplete documentation can keep things going.”
Immediate filing will almost always work in your favor, regardless of the type of insurance. However, it is worth consulting your advisor, who can analyze the policy with you.
“Notify your insurance company of the claim as soon as possible, but first know your deductible,” said Eileen Freiburger, a certified financial planner in Sebastopol, California. For example, it may not make sense to file a car insurance claim. an intrusion or stone that hits the windshield, he says, because the coverage may not be high and your rates may rise later.
Applying for long-term care insurance is time-consuming and complicated. However, postponing a cumbersome process can work against you and your loved one receiving care.
Echo Huang, a certified financial planner in Plymouth, Minn., Urges policyholders not to get upset when it comes to collecting a medical certificate and filling out other forms for claiming long-term care insurance. Many rules provide for a waiting period, usually between 30 and 180 days before receiving benefits.
So, if you know that the policyholder cannot do at least two of the six daily activities (such as bathing, eating and dressing), start putting together documents to make a claim. “If you don’t know, no one will know when the start date is,” Huang said.
Some advisors are used to helping clients recover from disasters. This is especially true if they live in a high-risk area that is prone to severe storms or fires.
Freiburger, located in Sonoma County, California, is known for the devastation of large fires. He says that after complete damage, the key question for policyholders is how to ensure that they get a fair deal that fully reflects what they are entitled to collect under their homeowners policy.
From his experience in advising his clients, he has found that insurance companies can hang a seemingly generous amount to move faster to an agreement and close a claim file. He advises insured persons to be careful.
“Some insurers may say, ‘We’ll reduce your check by 50% or 75% of your content, so don’t hesitate to provide details.” [the contents you’ve lost]”Freiburger said. But this population figure may not be enough if the home had customized features with antiques, art and jewelry.
Diligent homeowners keep detailed documents and receipts about the contents and architectural improvements so that they can accurately count the lost value.