The recent blog post, My House Has Suffered Water Damage, Am I Covered? suggested to hire a licensed public adjuster, or an attorney if the claim was denied, to help you with a water loss claim. This led me to question, “how anybody would find a quality public adjuster or attorney?” The common answer in today’s computer age is to “Google” a phrase like “water loss in home public adjusters and attorneys.”

Just stop for a second and try this exercise to see what happens.

My search found numerous public adjusters listed and some attorneys. One article written by an attorney caught my eye: “Should I Hire An Insurance Attorney Or A Public Adjuster?” To be fair, in our blog post we suggested hiring a public adjuster to help with a water loss claim and call an attorney if the claim was denied. Obviously, any well-informed policyholder seeking full payment on a denied water loss claim would try to get an appointment with a Merlin Law Group attorney.

Nevertheless, I checked out another blog by the “Should I Hire” law firm to see how accurate and in depth they really are about property insurance law and their ability to help policyholders. This is what they say (I bet not for long) about personal property actual cash value:

It incorporates a reduction for depreciation, whereas replacement cost does not. In simple terms, “actual cash value” is more like ‘fair market value’ and it means the amount of money someone might pay at a garage sale, or on ebay or craigslist, to buy your used, 10 year old couch!

So, from the insurance company’s view, the term ‘depreciation’ is an important one, as it means the original value of the item minus everyday wear, tear, age, and other factors that are applied to determine the current price of the item. As a result, when insurance companies use the term ‘actual cash value’ they really mean fair market value, which is the selling price for a used item that a buyer and seller can agree upon.

What? This is clearly a wrong answer. This advertising law firm clearly has no in-depth experience in property insurance law or insurance adjustment practices. This is not what insurance adjusters are taught; that is not how anybody should go about figuring out an actual cash value determination of contents lost in a home and it is not the law anywhere. I can imagine some professional adjusters are snickering about having to go to eBay to find a 2003 slightly worn coffee pot up for auction. Yet, this is what a real-life advertising attorney has written to the public about what actual cash value means in Florida—it is wrong, and consumers should be careful about selecting public adjusters and attorneys based on advertisements which sound too good to be true. Here are some professional blog posts on the topic of actual cash value of personal property obtained from the Merlin Law Group search engine to this blog:

Water loss claims can pose all types of insurance coverage issues. Water loss claims can be more costly than what first meets the eye because water moisture damage continues to damage materials long after the incident. Policyholders with water damage claims should retain quality professionals to help them and be wary of advertising attorneys who will say anything for business. Call a real professional for help.

Thought For The Day

Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.
—Mark Twain