Late Winter Storms & Damage Costs

Winter storms, whether they are snow and ice related, or water and wind-related, cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage in the United States every year. Therefore, it is crucial to understand your homeowner’s policy to know what you are covered for. Flooding is one of the things that are not always covered by a regular homeowner’s policy, so if you live in an area where flooding happens even occasionally, you may want to invest in flood insurance.

Common Claims in Winter

Roof Failure: Due to the snow and ice of the winters in New England, we often see that the weight of this snow and ice can cause a lot of problems with roofing. One way to prevent this is by hiring a professional to clean heavy snow off your roof.

Trees Falling: Trees fall during the winter due to high winds or the weight of snow. Fallen trees can wreak havoc on your house, shed, pool, fence, and backyard. Tree claims are usually covered.

Sump Pump Failure Caused by Power Outage: We have a ton of these claims this month and it’s hard to tell people it’s probably not covered. Any type of sump pump failure, even if it’s due to a power failure outside of your home, is not covered unless you have a special endorsement on the policy.

Ice Dams: Ice dams can cause interior water damage. We saw a lot of this type of damage back in 2015 during all of the blizzards. Damage caused by ice dams is usually covered.

Frozen Pipes: The water flowing through your pipes can freeze which can cause them to burst and create a flood. This type of flooding is generally covered unless you haven’t maintained an appropriate level of heat in the house.

House Fires: While seeming like the least obvious claim that you’d have to make in the winter, house fires are common because of the increased use in heating and lighting systems in the wintertime.

Contact Us Today!

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the entire life-cycle of a claim. Contact us today by sending us an email, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243!

Springtime Damage & Public Adjusters

Springtime is a time for new beginnings. The snow starts to melt and we’re on our way to flowers, summer, and sunshine. But this blissful outlook can flip like a switch when spring actually begins in full force. The spring thaw and the storms that typically occur during this time period can cause a lot of damage to your home, and you need to make sure you’re covered for whatever happens.

What Kind of Coverage Do I Need?

The first thing you should do when getting new insurance for your home is read the whole policy through to know exactly what you are covered for. Not all policies are the same. Don’t be surprised at the worst possible moment. Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters can look over your policy to ensure you’re covered for any event.

What Can Cause Damage in the Spring?


Trees have a tendency to fall at the most inconvenient times and in the most inconvenient places. During storms in the springtime, it’s common for trees to fall, causing damage to homes as well as backyards and pool areas. Fallen trees are generally covered by your homeowner’s policy.


Hail can cause very bad roof damage, as well as damage to your siding. Damage caused by hail is generally covered.

Water Damage

bob estimating water damageA spring thaw could bring flooding which can devastate a home. Remember, some flooding is only covered by federal flood insurance, so be sure to double check this coverage so that you can be properly compensated in the event of a flood.

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the entire life-cycle of a claim. Contact us today by sending us an email, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243!

What Is An Adjuster?

The claims process is a confusing one. The person you work most closely with is the adjuster. But what does an adjuster do? To shed some light on this, I want to define what an adjuster is and the different types of adjusters there are.

Why are they called adjusters?

Growing up with a dad who is a public adjuster, I never understood why the word “adjuster” was used. What are they adjusting? They are adjusting the amounts of money each element of the claim is worth according to age, amount of damage, condition, what your contractor charged, what the prices are where you live. During the claim process, the numbers jump all over the place according to these conditions. The adjuster is adjusting those numbers to fit the claim.

There are a few different kinds of adjusters.

The person who comes to your house to estimate the damage is the adjuster. Some companies employ their own adjusters and some outsource the job to independent adjuster organizations. From the claimant’s perspective, they perform the exact same function and would be your contact person for the duration of the claim.

You may also hear the terms inside adjuster or outside adjuster. The outside adjuster is the person who comes to your house, whether he or she is an insurance company-employed adjuster or an independent. The inside adjuster is the person who deals with the claim from the insurance company’s office – a liaison between the outside adjuster and the other parts of the company involved in the claim. Inside adjusters are employees of the insurance company.

Public Adjuster

A public adjuster is hired independently by you and acts as your representation against the insurance company adjuster. A public adjuster handles the whole claim process and will maximize your settlement and save you a lot of time and aggravation. The public adjuster will level the playing field between you and the insurance company providing you with the peace of mind that you’re getting the best possible settlement.

Is the insurance company adjuster my friend?

The insurance company adjuster may be the nicest person in the world and do an excellent job. But keep in mind, these folks work for the insurance company whether they’re independent or company employees. They represent the company, not you. They have the power in the situation which may or may not be to your detriment. It’s definitely not to your advantage. But your public adjuster is your friend. Your public adjuster represents you and works for your benefit.

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the course of your claim. Contact us today by filling out our contact form, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243.

What Does Additional Living Expenses Mean?

Additional Living Expenses coverage (ALE) helps you maintain your standard of living after a covered loss.

additional living expenseWhat does Additional Living Expenses mean?

As a standard part of a homeowners’ policy, Additional Living Expenses (ALE) reimburse the insured for the cost of maintaining their standard of living after experiencing a loss. ALE applies to expenses following a covered loss that exceed the insured’s normal expenses prior to the loss.

For example, ALE would cover an insured’s hotel bill while fire damage to the home is being repaired. Here are some other examples of what Additional Living Expenses cover:

  • Any extra gas used if it takes longer to get to work from your temporary living quarters
  • Any expenses for dining out if you can’t use your kitchen
  • Costs related to moving, furniture rental, and storage
  • Laundry if you need to use a laundromat
  • Any extra utility fees over what you usually pay

It will only cover additional expenses

The operative word here is “additional.” For example, your kitchen is unusable and you need to eat out at times you normally wouldn’t. Once you make a claim, the insurance company will look at what you usually pay for food. From here, they adjust accordingly and then reimburse you for anything additional you needed to spend on eating out. It only applies to that over and above what you usually pay.

How to get the reimbursement

Additional Living Expenses is an incurred payment. In other words, you need to actually have spent the money to be reimbursed. Keep all receipts and canceled checks. You can submit these to your public adjuster as the expenses are incurred. They can submit all proof of additional expenses.

What’s the limit of coverage?

Under homeowners’ forms HO 2, HO 3, HO 4 (tenants’ policy), and HO 5, ALE coverage is equal to 30 percent of the dwelling limit. Under a condominium owner’s policy (HO 6), the limit of ALE is 50 percent of the personal property limit. You’ll find all of your policy’s limits on the declarations page of your policy, which is usually the first or second page.

We can help you!

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters has plenty of experience dealing with ALE. We can help to set up your new living arrangements and ensure you maintain your standard of living. We can also assist you with submitting your receipts to the insurance company and make sure you get everything that you’re entitled to. Contact us today by filling out our contact form, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243.

Check out this article for more information on ALE.

The Holidays and Your Homeowner Policy

holidaysWhat does your insurance policy have to do with the holidays? A lot, actually. While you are busy decking the halls, making lists, and checking them twice, there are certain types of claims that are on the rise. Thefts from locked vehicles, packages stolen from doorsteps, and even worse, break-ins are more frequent between November and January.

The good news is that your policy may provide coverage for some losses you would think you’d have to pay out of pocket. For example – most Homeowner policies cover your personal property anywhere in the world. So, if your car is broken into or that new Xbox delivery is mysteriously missing from your porch, there is a good chance that your Homeowner policy will respond.

College students, in particular, tend to have a lot of expensive electronics these days. If your college-age son or daughter, and all their roommates, pack up and go home for a month or more over school break, the likelihood of a theft goes up. A renter’s policy is always a good idea, but even if you didn’t get one, all is not lost! Many standard Homeowner policies provide some limited coverage for full-time student’s belongings that are away from home.

The bad news is – some losses you think are covered may be denied or very limited under a standard policy. Theft of jewelry, silver, and furs are often limited. If you are buying new jewelry, it’s a good idea to check your Homeowner’s policy.

It’s a busy time of year and insurance policies are confusing. We’re here to help! Having a public adjuster on a claim makes it a lot easier for you. We can guide you through the maze of the policies, adjusters, and deductibles — maximize your settlement while minimizing your stress. Call us with any questions you might have at 508-588-4243.

The Perks of Having a Public Adjuster

When thinking about a claim, it’s normal to focus on the bottom line – your final settlement. But we forget that an insurance claim can involve a level of emotion that is akin to grief. While a public adjuster can definitely help you get an appropriate settlement, he or she can also help you through the process of grieving your loss. A public adjuster can also save you a lot of time and headaches. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest reasons you should hire a public adjuster:

  • They will maximize your settlement; and while the public adjuster’s fee is a percentage of the final number, the settlement you get with a public adjuster can be 30-50% higher than you could get alone – sometimes even more.
  • They can help you through the grief. Having your home damaged is traumatic, and grief can make the claims process very difficult, and even potentially cause people to withdraw or not make a claim. A public adjuster gets it – he or she has seen it all before and will make sure you don’t feel like you’re alone.
  • If you incurred a large loss, a public adjuster can help you immensely by setting up a

place for you and your family to stay during the claim and reconstruction, managing vendors like mitigation companies and dry cleaners, and itemizing all of the contents of your home that were lost.

  • Policy language is like a foreign language, but public adjusters speak it and know how to apply it to your claim.
  • Don’t like the work of your insurance company’s adjuster? Or is the insurance company not returning your calls or taking your claim seriously? A public adjuster can help keep them on track. Similarly, if you feel your insurance company is not evaluating your loss adequately, a public adjuster can argue in your favor.
  • Public adjusters are experienced in documenting, filing, and proving claims. Are you? Probably not. This is huge and will help you to get a higher settlement, not to mention save you a ton of time and aggravation.
  • They have the time – it’s their job. While you’re doing your job, taking care of your family, and living your life, the public adjuster will make sure everything goes smoothly with the claim.

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the process of your claim. Contact us today by filling out our contact form, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243.

Why Should I Hire a Public Adjuster?

What is a Public Adjuster?

A public adjuster is a licensed claims adjuster who represents you, the insured, in any property damage insurance claim. Having an insurance claim is a time-consuming, stressful, and confusing process. A public adjuster handles it all for you – the estimate of what was damaged, reporting the claim, meeting and communicating with the insurance company’s adjuster, and negotiating a fair settlement. A public adjuster will save you time, stress, and money.

Why Should You Hire a Public Adjuster?

  1. Maximize Your Settlement: On average, a public adjuster will increase your settlement by 25-40% – often even more. Years of experience in insurance claims means a public adjuster will notice things that you don’t – and the insurance company adjuster won’t point out. Deep understanding of insurance policy language makes sure nothing slips through the cracks. Skillful negotiation ensures a fair settlement. A public adjuster charges a fee, but the investment will pay huge dividends.
  2. Stress: Stress is a huge factor in the claims process which is sometimes more traumatic for the homeowner than the incident itself. There are a lot of phone calls, paperwork, meetings, negotiations, and occasionally a few battles. A public adjuster will take this off your plate so you can focus on getting your life back together.
  3. Second Opinion: Getting a second opinion is important because often, the insured will underestimate their own damage, miss hidden damage, or not understand everything their policy entitles them to. A public adjuster will know all of this and will fight to make sure it’s all included in the settlement.

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters can help you with every aspect of your property claim. Our personal attention to each of our clients ensures the best experience and settlement. Contact us today by filling out our contact form, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243.

The Cost and Worth of a Public Adjuster

 How Much Does a Public Adjuster Cost?

Having an insurance claim is a time-consuming, stressful, and confusing process. It’s possible to attempt the process alone, however it’s important to remember the insurance companies have the background knowledge that gives them an upper hand during the process. This isn’t great for you as the customer, but having a public adjuster on your side can really help to level out the playing field, and earn you the settlement you deserve.

In terms of cost, generally, in Massachusetts, the public adjuster fee is 10% of whatever the settlement may be, but there is some room for negotiation – it depends on the size and nature of the claim. It is possible to negotiate to a fee lower than 10%, but this could be a red flag because like in any industry, there are good public adjusters and there are bad public adjusters. There are many things to consider such as experience, and professionalism. Avoid choosing the first public adjuster that gives you a price lower than 10% because that is most likely the adjuster that will put your claim on the backburner. This can result to lack of attention, and ultimately, a lower payout than you deserve.


Is a Public Adjuster Worth the Money?

A public adjuster can generally get the insured persons a settlement 25-40% higher than they could get on their own, which more than covers the fee. The public adjuster will also save you a lot of time and headaches as a claim can take hours of paper work, dozens of phone calls, multiple meetings with adjusters, and knowledge of insurance policy language, which is extremely difficult to decipher. Hiring a public adjuster is truly worth the price.

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, but above all, the attention and precision that your claim needs. Contact us today by filling out our contact form, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243.

Condo Claims: A Tale of Two Policies

Famous apartment neighbors Fred and Ethel, Lucy and Ricky

The insurance claim process is a little different for condo-owners because there are two policies involved: your own condo-owner’s policy and the condo association’s master policy.

The condo-owner’s policy (also called a unit policy) covers four things:

  1. Your contents (all of your stuff)
  2. The building structure (also called the dwelling) up to the deductible on the master policy
  3. Liability should someone get hurt on your property
  4. Additional living expenses should you be unable to use any part of your home and incur expenses

For this article, we will focus on numbers 1 and 2.

The association’s master policy is responsible for the building’s structure — including inside your unit.

Your unit policy will pay for dwelling damage up to the deductible amount of the master policy. A common misconception is that the condo-owner is responsible for the part of the building that is inside the studs of his or her unit. That’s not really true. In most cases, every part of the dwelling is covered by the master policy once its deductible is reached. If your claim is smaller than the master policy deductible, the unit-owner policy will pay the whole thing.

Here’s a simple example: Your condo’s master policy deductible is $10,000.

You have a kitchen fire that causes $15,000 worth of damage to your unit’s structure, and $7,000 damage to your contents.

Your condo-owner policy will cover the structure damage up to $10,000, plus the $7,000 in contents — $17,000. The master policy will pay the remaining $5,000.

Here’s a more complicated example from real life: We are working with the two unit owners of a two-unit building. The upstairs unit sprung a leak and did about $40,000 damage to both units. The master policy’s deductible is $2,500.

Because there are two units affected, the master policy deductible is split in two. The insurance company determined that one unit had about 33% of the total damage, and the other unit had 67%. So the unit-owner with the 33% damage will get $2,500 x .33 = $825. The unit-owner with 66% of the damage is entitled to $1,675. Each of these amounts will be paid by each owner’s individual unit-owners’ policy and subject to their individual deductibles.

The balance of the damage, $40,000 – 2,500 = $37,500 will be paid by the master policy and divided up using the same formula as above.

Before you have a claim: It’s a good idea to keep copies of these documents handy:

    • your unit policy
    • the master policy
    • the condo documents (declaration of trust, master deed, bylaws, etc.)

If you have a claim: Let the trustee of the condo association know as soon as possible. He or she will need to be involved in the claim process since the master policy might be in play. If your claim is less than the deductible on the master policy, the unit-owner adjuster will ask to see the condo’s documents and policy to make sure.

We’re here to help! Having a public adjuster on a claim like this makes it a lot easier for you. We can guide you through the maze of the policies, adjusters, and deductibles — maximize your settlement while minimizing your stress. Call us with any questions you might have 508-588-4243.

“A Robbery, a Fire, and the Steve Miller Band” or “Get Some Renter’s Insurance”

renterBack when I first graduated from college, a long, long, long time ago, the apartment I shared with a roommate was broken into and robbed. After the initial feeling of vulnerability and being invaded had abated, I got down to the business of figuring out what was taken. All of my jewelry, all of my CDs (except the Steve Miller Band one, which kind of offended the friend who’d given it to me – “oh, Steve Miller not good enough for the robbers???”), and some articles of clothing were taken. I made a list, filed a claim through my renter’s insurance, and had a lot of fun shopping for replacement items once I’d received my check. Having a dad who’s been a public adjuster my whole life made me understand the value of insurance at a very young age.

My roommate, on the other hand, did not have renter’s insurance. She’d lost the same amount of items that I had, but she was not able to replace them. I wondered if my policy would cover her things, but that’s not how it works. She’d have needed her own policy. Her dad was a math teacher.


Fast forward to 2017 and my dad and I are working on a fire claim for the Brockton Housing Authority, which manages housing for low-income individuals in Brockton, Massachusetts. Four beautiful townhouses were heavily damaged by a fire that started in a bathroom ceiling fan. As I walked through each unit, I was saddened to see so many personal belongings of the tenants destroyed by either fire or water. Family photos, clothes, furniture, books, electronics – all of this is not covered by the landlord’s policy. I wondered if any of these folks had renter’s insurance.

What is renter’s insurance?

Also called tenant’s insurance, it’s a policy that provides liability insurance and covers the tenant’s personal property against named perils like fire, theft, and vandalism. The landlord is not responsible for any of the tenant’s belongings. There are criteria as to whose property is covered under the policy, like my roommate was not covered under mine, but you can work all that out with your agent. The good news is that it’s a lot cheaper than a regular homeowner’s policy because it doesn’t cover the dwelling.  Here’s a little bit more info.

So the moral of the story is, if you rent, get yourself some renter’s insurance. If you’re a landlord, encourage your tenants to get renter’s insurance. Because some robbers do like the Steve Miller Band, and fire and water don’t care what CDs you have. It could all be gone.



Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters is a full-service public adjusting firm with over 40 years of experience serving all of Massachusetts. We are based in Brockton, Massachusetts.