Do you know the difference between “betterment” and “improvement”? Do you know that some insurance policies distinguish between damage caused by “wind” and a “windstorm”? After insurance pays out, do you know who owns any recovered stolen property? And how does someone, standing in the ashes of their home, even begin to prove all the contents they once had?
Many readers have learned the answers to these questions the hard way: by experiencing the frustration of wrangling with insurers over the value of lost or damaged property, only to end up feeling cheated when payouts fall short of expectations — or worse, being denied coverage.
Author Karl Hechavarria’s information-packed book seeks to defuse those situations before they arise, by educating readers about what insurance policies do and do not cover, what to expect when they file a claim, and their obligations under an insurance contract. The author draws on 28 years working in the claims department of three major casualty insurance companies (his book notes that he’s an “accredited claims adjuster” and “certified fraud examiner,” among other credentials) to inform readers about how insurance actually works.
Hechavarria offers advice applicable to the U.S. and Canada. He starts with the basics, the application form, where he stresses the importance of answering questions honestly. That’s critical, he notes, even with such commonplace issues as running a home-based business or renting part of your house: anything less than full disclosure may later jeopardize your claim.
The author goes on to tackle insurance for buildings, personal property, and liability, and digs deepest into the world of claims adjustment. That’s the twilight zone of “actual cash value” versus “replacement cost” where an insurer pays $2,500 for your damaged $10,000 couch, and calculates only the worth of a single earring even though its loss ruins a valuable pair.
Insurance is inevitably an arcane, complicated process. Thankfully for Hechavarria’s readers, his comprehensive and detail-driven book should help ease the pain.
Also available as an ebook.