ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS
WHAT IS AN ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS (AOB)?
An AOB is an agreement that, once signed, transfers the insurance claims rights or benefits of the policy to a third party. An AOB gives the third party authority to file a claim, make repair decisions and collect insurance payments without the involvement of the homeowner. AOBs have been used with life and health insurance policies for many years. However, it is now also being commonly used in homeowners insurance claims by restoration companies and contractors. Signing an AOB can be helpful with navigating the claims process, but if misused, it can lead to harmful consequences for the homeowner.
For example, you have a pipe leak in your home that causes water damage. If you call a restoration company to make repairs and sign an AOB that transfers your insurance rights to the company, the company can file a claim on your behalf and be paid directly.
HOW DOES AN ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS IMPACT ME, AS A HOMEOWNER?
An AOB can be helpful with navigating the claims process, but if misused it can lead to harmful consequences. Below are a few things to keep in mind:
- You are signing over the rights and benefits of your insurance policy to a third party.
- The insurance company can only communicate directly with the third party. The insurance company will not communicate with you regarding the claim.
- You will lose all rights to the insurance claim, including the right to mediate the claim or to make any decisions regarding the claim, including repairs.
- There is no right of rescission or cancellation provision with an AOB and once signed, the AOB is a valid contract and you are bound by the provisions of the contract.
- Depending on the language in the AOB, the third party may be able to endorse checks on your behalf.
- Once you have signed an AOB, the third party may file suit against your insurance company, with or without your knowledge.
- You may be subject to property liens, or other financial fees or penalties for failure to comply with the terms and conditions in the AOB.
BELOW IS A CHECKLIST THAT MAY BE HELPFUL WHEN REPORTING A CLAIM:
Contact your insurance company directly to report the damage and set up a time for the adjuster to inspect the damages. Do not allow a third party, such as a water remediation firm or contractor, to contact your insurance company for you. You should be the one to make the first contact with your insurance company – as soon as possible.
- Take photos of the damage.
- Make emergency or temporary repairs.
- Make an inventory of any damaged items.
- Save receipts for any repairs
- Do not discard any damaged items without prior approval from the insurance company.
- Make a list of any questions you would like to ask the insurance adjuster.
- Request a copy of the fire or police report, if applicable.
- Beware of companies who pressure you into utilizing AOB’s without reading the fine print on any and all documents
WHY MIAMI MOLD SPECIALIST WORKS DIRECTLY WITH THE CLIENT:
Our team at Miami Mold Specialist takes pride in providing service with integrity and transparency. Our goal is to assist our clients and their needs and aide them in eradicating their mold problem by utilizing the most efficient and cost-effective methods. Although all of our reports are formatted for insurance purposes as well as legal purposes, we prefer to deal directly with the client in terms of booking, payment, and servicing. This way our clients can have peace of mind and make personal decisions regarding their policies to ensure 100% client satisfaction. We choose to not use AOBs for the mere fact that if, and when, the insurance company approves a claim and does not cover the full cost of service then the insured will be subject to pay for any remaining cost that isn’t covered. If this occurs and the insured does not pay for the remaining cost of the work performed then the insurance company will place a lien on the property, disabling the insured from being able to sell or transfer the home to another individual until the lien is fully paid. This could also lead to lawsuits and prolonged legal battles that will only cost you MORE money! A client who signs an AOB assigns a company any and all insurance rights, benefits and proceeds which pertain to services rendered in relation to the loss. The assignment of rights, benefits and proceeds is limited to the amount of the company’s invoice for services rendered in relation to the claim and the right and ability to collect the same directly from the client’s insurer, including the right to file suit and to seek attorney’s fees and court costs.