If you’ve ever had to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance, you know it can be an intimidating and confusing process. But it can be even more confusing with the inconsistent information available to most homeowners.
Here are some things you should consider when considering an insurance claim.
- You don’t necessarily need 3 estimates. All contractors work from the same standardized summary statement provided by your insurance company. Even if you do find a contractor with a lower estimate, you don’t get to “pocket” the difference. Your insurance company will simply pay the lower the amount. If that contractor is not familiar with local building codes, the repairs or replacement could end up being costly down the road if you sell your property. Remember, it’s not the estimate that is as important as maintaining your property value. See below.
- You insurance company may not know the specifics of local municipality building codes.Insurance companies often work from a nationally standardized list of requirements for repair or replacement. These may not necessarily reflect the local codes for your local municipality. Olneya coordinates and manages all the inspections. When necessary, Olneya Restoration Group actually works with municipal inspectors to provide your insurance company with the proper code information to ensure your insurance company is covering the correct repairs or replacement.
- Your insurance company will pay for repairs to meet local code requirements. But only if they are aware of these requirements. Most insurance companies don’t follow the changes in building codes for every municipality in the country. Olneya Restoration Group speaks the insurance industry’s language and provides a bridge between your insurance company and your local municipality, so we can help both identify issues with your claim, should they arise.
- Don’t forget the mortgage company. If you have a mortgage, your mortgage company has a vested interest in your insurance claim. Like you, they want to make sure your home maintains its value. We help keep them in the loop as well.
- It is illegal for a contractor to “waive” your deductible. Read our blog about what to watch for with Stormchasers, however, this is a common tactic of Stormchasers: they offer to “waive your deductible” to get your business. This is against the law. For a contractor to waive your deductible, they would have to falsify submitted documentation to your insurance company. This documentation would most likely contain your signature, making you liable for insurance fraud.
- You do not get to keep insurance money if your contractor short-invoices the insurance company. Your insurance company requires a final invoice showing the repairs completed. If your contractor submits an invoice that is less than what your insurance is paying, you do not get to keep the balance. The insurance company keeps it.
- Even if your insurance company does not pay, a call still goes against your “record.”Insurance companies are required to record all “claims” with the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE), even if there is no payment. What does this mean? If you need to shop for a new insurance company later, these claims can make it difficult to get affordable insurance. So, by simply calling your insurance company, it can go “against your permanent record.” Don’t file a claim until you’ve gotten a free inspection. You can rely on our expertise with insurance claims to determine whether you have a claim BEFORE you call your insurance company.
- Your claim CAN expire. Yes, even if you have coverage, most insurance companies only allow 1 year to make a claim. So you should get your roof inspected after every storm, just to be sure. Our inspections are free with no obligation, so call us any time.
What To Do If You Think You Have A Claim
- Call for a free inspection to avoid an unnecessary claim.
- Provide them with the date of the storm and let them know that you “think” there may be enough damage to justify a claim.
- Tell them you are working with Olneya Restoration Group. Provide them with our name and phone number. (We work really well with insurance companies and may be able to efficiently answer their questions.)
- Record your claim number.
- Wait for your insurance company adjustor to call. When he/she does, write down their name, phone number and appointment date and time.
- Send us all the information and we’ll handle it from here!