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Tips and Advice

What NOT to Sign Without Counsel

During a natural disaster, one can experience the best of humanity. Communities coming together to help rebuild, neighbors helping neighbors, and strangers offering a hand during times of need and grief. Unfortunately, during times of crisis and vulnerability, there are also those who are looking to take advantage.

Do not allow yourself to be a victim and be careful what you are signing. Here are a few contracts you should be aware of.

  1. Assignment of benefits (AOB) – This is a contract between you and a third party – typically a contractor, roofer or water mitigation company – giving them the right to deal directly with your insurance company and receive payment for your claim. If you sign an AOB, you give up your right to manage your claim and ensure it is resolved to your complete satisfaction. If you unknowingly signed an AOB, you have the right to cancel the agreement under certain circumstances in order to take back control of your claim.
  2.  Advanced Payment Request- Your insurer may offer an advanced payment on your insurance claim. This is money that you can use immediately towards your repairs. Although it is alright to sign this contract, you need to be aware that you are liable to pay back this loan if your claim is denied. Additionally, you may be required to pay back a portion of this loan if your insurance payout is less than the loan received. You may also be responsible for fees and attorney costs if you fail to pay back the loan.
  3. Deductible Waiving Contracts or “Just Pay Your Deductible” Contracts- Never sign a contract that tells you they will waive your deductible or help you pay it, this is Insurance Fraud. Also, never fall for the “you only have to pay your deductible” trick. You should never pay your deductible to anyone other than your insurance company.