ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS
How can I avoid being an AOB scam victim?
There are some very simple steps you can take to avoid falling prey to AOB fraud and abuse:
• If your home suffers any type of damage, contact your insurance agent and/or your insurance company first, and as soon as possible. Remember, they are contractually responsible to you, and in the best position to assist you quickly.
• Do not allow a third party – such as a water remediation firm, a roofing company or a trial attorney – to contact your insurance company for you. YOU HAVE A DUTY UNDER YOUR INSURANCE POLICY TO CONTACT YOUR INSURER.
• Document all your damaged property by taking photos and videos. After your immediate emergency has been mitigated, don’t allow the vendor to begin significant repairs until your insurance company has inspected the damage, or you could jeopardize coverage under your policy.
• If you are asked to sign an Assignment of Benefits form by a repair firm or attorney, make sure you read it carefully and understand clearly what rights and benefits under your insurance policy you may be signing away. Seek input from your agent, your insurance company or your personal attorney.
• If your vehicle windshield is cracked or chipped, alert your auto insurer to get the damage repaired. Do not allow a stranger to replace it for you and say they will deal directly with your insurance company. You may end up paying more for repairs than necessary or getting shoddy work done.
• Ask your plumber if they get a referral fee from any water or mold remediation vendor they recommend. If the answer is yes, that is a big red flag.
• Beware, many AOBs include a cancellation fee that you may be forced to pay, even if the vendor did no work.
• Understand you do NOT need to sign an AOB in order to get your insurance claim processed or your home or auto repaired – EVER. If a repair vendor tells you otherwise, that is another big red flag.
• Make sure you stay in control of the home and auto insurance policies that you bought and paid for. Do not unknowingly sign away that control to a third party who may not have your best interests at heart.