Being educated about an unfamiliar subject will almost always make a person more comfortable with it. It is the fear of the unknown that leads to anxiety. As such, we try to prepare our clients for what commonly happens during insurance claims.
Everything you are about to read is specifically the most doom and gloom scenarios we experience. It’s not an accurate account of how the process typically goes, nor do we run into many claims that experience more than one of these grim issues at a time.
What We Will Be Dealing With
As the person investigating and presenting the facts of your property loss, we are constantly trying to hit a moving target. New information is discovered, new obstacles pop up – all while trying to work with people who don’t want to pay your claim. It’s some science with a bit of art thrown in for frustration.
Insurance companies are ruthless and property owners will hear all manner of nonsense from them to get out of paying a claim. You may receive calls or emails from them rather than responding to us. This is done to try to cause a rift between us, but mostly because you haven’t heard their scripted denials thousands of times before.
For example, we have been accused of vandalizing roofs we have never stepped foot on, of producing fake public notices that we somehow uploaded and linked on IN.gov, of manipulating prices by using the insurance company’s software and pricing (translation: we use it correctly), and regularly hear that we are “under investigation”.
Imagine hearing this about the contractor you have hired if you didn’t know insurance companies were full of it.
While it is flattering to hear that we are such masterminds, it’s also a steaming pile of nonsense. When/if you hear something like that, take it with a grain of salt and report it back to us. They are much more agreeable after being caught trying to intimidate you.
Other Clients’ Struggles
Temptation happens. One of our frequent challenges consists of how homeowners respond to receiving checks for tens of thousands of dollars. In this situation, that boat you have been thinking about for years will sound like a much better decision than following through with that work-for-pay contract we signed together.
We encourage you to reconsider running to the casino with your insurance funds, or at least without us. Our people did not work for months to get your claim approved so you could change your mind after we have won the opportunity. We protect ourselves from this by having bought a contract that is compliant with all Indiana Home Improvement Contactor Act (HICA) laws.
Since the work is already contracted, the money is already spent. Also, you will typically only get about half of the claim money if you don’t complete the repairs. You’re much better off spending it to build equity in your property.
Not to sound like a parent, but an insurance claim is not a lottery ticket. It exists to indemnify, or “make whole” the loss you have suffered. You cannot receive a cash windfall from an insurance claim. If you get the work done for less than the total, that amount becomes the new claim total and they subtract your deductible from the new amount.
You can’t game the system. Contractors also can’t refund or absorb your deductible. It is illegal. Going through with the repairs yields the most favorable payout – it’s just not in cash.
All of this is explained so creeping ideas do not grow into action. Call it the 80/20 rule, whereby 80% of people happily let us settle their claim and repair the property. The 20% will have a much easier time and get the full benefit of our awesome service if they are prepared for the temptation before their minds run away with the idea of cashing out.
All of this being said; What we are explaining about following through with contracted work should be expected of any work agreement with any reputable contractor.
Insurance work is sloooooow. We will typically act on all things waiting on us within a day. Assume a minimum of one week for anyone from an insurance company to do so.
This is at least as frustrating to us as it is to you. Portions of the claim process will devolve to reminding your insurance company to do their job for weeks at a time. Getting mad at them will not help either, since they tend to fight when someone has made a scene.
Once they respond, it is typically partially agreeable accompanied by an excuse or completely wrong information leading to a denial of the rest. We will respond quickly with facts and evidence, then reset the timer on the reminders.
Our Service Agreement in a Nutshell
We are agreeing to demonstrate your loss to insurance and then complete the approved work for the “Replacement Cost” of each item.
Your cost out of pocket will be the amount that insurance does not cover. For most, this is the amount of your deductible. If you have less than full Replacement Cost insurance, it will cost more out of pocket than just your deductible.
Double-check your coverages! Your agent can give you a complete policy, or just your “declarations” page listing your coverage amendments.
In the simplest way, we can show this; Our work agreement is the itemized estimate from your insurance company. On the left side is the line items. They determine the work you receive. The right side of the estimate is the dollar allowance for those items. That’s our pay.
We will seek to have every connected item and accessory that needs to be added or replaced included in the claim. They are not free – they can just be installed prior to being approved because we accept the responsibility to get them approved.
Most minor pricing issues will not impede the build process. Large value items WILL cause a delay – such as multiple skylights that aren’t going to survive a re-roof. This is because we are effectively risking never getting paid for the work we are about to do.
Small details like flashing and vents can be reconciled with insurance during and after the repairs without causing a delay. You’re not charged if we fail to get these details added to the claim.
In summary; When the checks show up, this agreement does not change into a negotiation. The price and scope of work remain set by the insurance estimate unless amended with additional work orders.
Some People Will Still Hate the Process
If this is you, we are sorry. Please forward info about services that more capably return 10-20x your investment in a matter of months so we can sign up.
For everyone else, we will turn your soon-to-be repair bill into a massive home improvement for pennies on the dollar.