Assignment of Benefits – Everything You Need to Know

Mother nature has done it again… She brings in a strong natural disaster that damages your home or business that you’ve worked so hard on. With it being one of your largest assets, it’s your priority to get it fixed as soon as possible. You hop on a call with a contractor to have them assess the situation and give you an estimate of the cost. You know the insurance company will want one anyway, so why not get a head start. Well believe it or not “getting a head start” may sound like a simple process, but it could turn into a nightmare. The reason why you ask? Assignment of benefits.

What you need to know

Assignment of benefits is a legal document that allows a third party to be paid for certain services that they do for an insured homeowner, in which the homeowner would normally be reimbursed by the insurance company directly after making a claim. Assignment of benefits (AOB) is commonly used when a homeowner experiences roof damage, a leaky pipe, a damaged appliance, etc. and they contact a contractor for assistance. Most Assignment of Benefits agreements presented to the homeowner allow the contractor to stand in the shoes of the homeowner for insurance collection purposes. This causes legal battles between the contractor and the insurance company leaving the homeowner left out of the picture.

How to avoid an Assignment of Benefits (AOB)

If the form says anything related to “I transfer and assign all insurance rights, benefits, and causes of action under my property insurance policy to the contractor” then you are probably signing an Assignment of Benefits. You are signing away your rights to the claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Educate yourself. If you experience a loss, be sure to contact your insurance company first, before doing anything else. This will help you avoid dealing with an AOB issue completely.

Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Someone knocks on your door to tell you about damage to your home that you had no idea about
  • Someone says you will get a free kitchen or free roof for no particular reason
  • They claim the damage is a lot more than it clearly is
  • Permanent repairs start before your insurance company is allowed to inspect or is notified
  • They claim to cover your deductible

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be a victim of AOB. Contact your Bankers agent if you have any questions or concerns if you need to sign any contracts. Our agents are available every day of the week to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t hesitate to call 800-627-0000.

Going Home After Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma

Torrential rain poured onto properties and businesses and flood waters kept rising. Destructive winds battered trees, homes and shelters. It felt like the storm would never end. Losses keep piling up as people tried to evacuate from the devastation. Homes were lost, ranches were destroyed and businesses may never re-open their doors. Hurricanes are no joke, and this hurricane season of 2017 has not been so kind, with Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey as examples.

As the rain subsides, and the time comes to return to your homes and businesses, safety should be the first thing on your mind when you open those doors. Your household items may be lost, but remember – it’s just stuff. Take that into perspective as you start your recovery process. Safety for you and your loved ones should be the first thing on your mind as you return home and start to absorb the destruction that Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Harvey may have caused.

As you start to handle the overwhelming damage, here are some helpful tips:

 

Responsibilities for every homeowner:

  • Report a claim as soon as possible under the flood or homeowners policy by contacting your agent or the company that sold the policy to you. Bankers claim number: (800-765-9700)
  • Homeowners are responsible for mitigating any additional damage to their property
  • Keep track of expenses incurred to repair or replace property, since these will be submitted as part of the insurance claim

 

Watch out for dangers.

  • If you have fuel oil or propane tanks, make sure to turn off the fuel valve on the tank
  • Only enter buildings during the day, since there will be many hazards that may not be visible at night
  • Mold can begin to form in 24-48 hours. Pregnant women, young children and people with health issues need to be very cautious
  • Heavy work or thick-soled rain boots provide greater protection against exposed nails, popped boards, mountains of debris and unexpected encounters with some wildlife

 

Take pictures of the damage.

  • Take as many pictures as you can
  • After everything is photographed, damaged property should be separated from undamaged property in order to be reviewed by your insurance carrier
  • Take a careful inventory of what was damaged. (Insurers will ask for documentation)
  • Proof of loss needs to be sent within 60 days after a loss

 

Time for the Cleanup.

  • Wet contents such as books, clothing, furniture and other items should be removed from drawers, cabinets and shelves and laid out to dry
  • Open dresser and cabinet drawers to allow air to circulate inside – it’ll help to keep drawers from sticking together
  • Don’t clean everything with bleach, you can use regular clear water to rinse off then use regular cleaning products
  • Clean-up all debris around your home

 

There’s no place like home and there’s no place like a safe and protected home. Follow these easy steps to begin your recovery process after a hurricane like Irma or Harvey comes blowing through. We understand it’s not easy or fun, but we hope these simple steps will make the process a lot smoother. Contact your Bankers agent at (800-765-9700)  today to report a claim or if you have any questions on how to recover after a hurricane. We’re here to help!

 

(BARLOW, 2017)