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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 15, 2012

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Insurance Question from Birmingham, AL

Asked on 02/15/2012

total loss home My house was considered a total loss after a tornado came through our area. The insurance company called and told me my checks were ready. Everyone keeps telling me not to sign anything until I am sure I am getting what is due to me. How do I know that I am getting all of what is due to me?

Answer given on February 15, 2012

If your home was a total loss due to a tornado, I presume you have been working with the insurance company as to the settlement for the home. If you are intending to rebuild the home, the insurance company will usually give you a check for the actual cash value of the home until it is actually rebuilt. Once you start rebuilding, you need to keep in touch with the adjuster so they are aware of the costs. They will provide additional payments for the work as it is done, until the policy limits are met. They will not pay more than the policy limit unless they have a clause providing an additional percentage to rebuild the home.Your personal property settlement is separate. You should have provided a list of your personal property and the insurance company should pay you for that amount. If you have not replaced your personal property, the insruance company will again pay actual cash vslue (depreciated from replacement cost) until you actually replace the property.Meet with the adjuster and make sure you understand how the checks apply to the settlement. If they are saying this is full & final payment, you need to be very careful. Make them explain how they reached the figures they are using to pay you for your home and contents. However, it is most likely this is just the first of several payments to rebuild your home.


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