In the majority of cases, your homeowners insurance may be involved whenever there is a leak or mold in your home. It is vital, that you justify that the damage should be covered and that you are compensated for all expenses fairly. These are some factors to keep in mind whenever your insurance is involved.
- You are not required to use one of the insurance companies "approved vendors". For many years, I managed a company which was an approved vendor for over 25 different insurance companies. In reality, the insurance companies use a third party to find companies for them and require certain things from those companies and then make it sound like the insurance company is providing the service to you. For example, the insurance company will make it sound like they are providing a warranty on the work when in reality all they did was require for the contractor to warranty their work in order to receive work from them. The insurance company does not provide the warranty; the contractor provides the warranty. This means that other companies can have the same level of warranty. The same is true for background checks, liability insurance and other "qualifications". The only difference is that those contractors that the insurance sends are required to take on any job that the insurance company refers to them. The contractor wins by having a steady flow of work while the insurance gains being able to "sell" their policies as if they were the ones providing the benefits of using those contractors. I have designed my company to have all of those same requirements/qualifications that insurance approved vendors do (background checks, high amount of liability insurance, warranties, using the same documenting and estimating programs etc) with the only difference being that I do not receive references from them. What this means is that if I am in the middle of your project, I am not obligated by any insurance company to take on additional work that they may send my way and can, therefore, concentrate on finishing your project. It is the standard practice for insurance contractors/vendors to have to pull workers and equipment away from one in-progress job in order to be able to begin the next job that the vary same insurance company sends their way.
- Document everything. You need to be able to provide documentation to the insurance that will ensure they pay for what is appropriate. Keep in mind that the individuals who will make the decisions regarding your claim will very likely never see the home/property and that they will definitely will not be around while the work is in progress. This involves:
- Documenting the water source
- Being able to reflect that the damage is long term
- Being able to reflect the installation methods specially when it is necessary to remove or damage an item that did not receive direct water or mold damage
- Document air and structural moisture readings which justify the type and amount of equipment needed
- Photos of entire process to justify any additional unexpected costs (such as additional hidden damage behind other items or inside walls and ceiling).
- Use appropriate highly detailed estimates. The great majority of insurance companies accept and use an estimating program named "Xactimate". This program uses prices which are updated monthly for your particular residence area and which the insurance companies do not negotiate (they have agreed to use these prices before your loss even happened). You want to make sure the individual writing your estimate knows how to write estimates as they are accepted by the insurance companies. For example, if there is a hole in the wall, does the entire room get painted? Are the costs of blending in wall textures being applied? Are the correct material types and prices being used? Our company has very advanced training and experience both with the estimating program used by the insurance companies and the overall process of them handling your claim.