What You Need to Know Before Calling Your Insurance Company
Sunday, July 24, 2016
There are heart-stopping moments involved with being a homeowner. Such as the moment you hear a rapid crack-crack-crack, like a gunshot, as half of your favorite, mature elm tree comes crashing through the roof during a wind storm. Or, there’s the instance where your little one runs excitedly upstairs, exclaiming, “Mommy! Daddy! Come look! There’s a river in our basement!”
Spring Storm Damage? Contact a Licensed Contractor Before Calling the Insurance Company
Spring store season in Cincinnati requires a sharp eye for roof damage, leaks, basement flooding and other immediate home repair needs. Often, when homeowners eyeball wide scale damage to their home, the first instinct is to call the homeowner’s insurance carrier with a desperate SOS. Resist that urge!
It’s always better to contact licensed contractors first to get the ball rolling. In most cases, homeowners who contact a contractor first enjoy the benefits of:
- Faster response time all the way around.
- A more comprehensive assessment of damage and required restoration.
- Avoiding insurance premium hikes if repair costs are lower than the deductible.
- Reduced costs on renovations or home improvements.
- Avoid the hassle of processing the claim.
Here’s a look at those in more detail.
Faster Response Time
Insurance carriers process multiple claims at any given time, and spring storm season is a peak time of year. Therefore, they get to you when they can, hopefully sometime soon. Contractors, on the other hand, are always looking for business. Reputable contractors are available 24/7, for cases just like yours, and will respond quicker than the insurance company’s reps. In the contractors’ case, they only have one call to make. In the insurance company’s case, there are multiple calls to make as they move through lists of preferred suppliers and contractors – typically the lowest-priced ones, but more on that next.
Comprehensive Assessment of Damage & Required Restoration
With insurance companies, it’s all about the bottom line. Thus, most homeowner’s insurance carriers have a list of preferred suppliers and contractors, all of which are vetted by the lowest bidders rather than experience and craftsmanship. With design and construction, you get what you pay for, so that means lower-quality materials and a contractor with a “less-quality-quick-turnaround” approach to maximize profits. If, on the other hand, you contact a licensed and reputable contractor, the insurance adjuster will honor their recommendations because the assessment will be thorough and in proportion to the extent of the storm or leak damage.
Avoid Future Premium Hikes
Homeowner’s insurance works differently than most auto insurance policies. In the auto industry, repairs that are less than or equal to your deductible are considered non-entities in your insurance records. Homeowner’s insurance carriers, on the other hand, will put a mark in the system any time an adjuster is sent out to assess damage – regardless of whether they have to process a claim or not. Thus, a repair that is less than – or slightly higher than – the deductible (in which case you might have opted to pay out-of-pocket to avoid premium hikes) will be counted against you. Homeowner’s insurance policies are reviewed on an annual basis and this year’s claim – no matter how warranted or small it is – will raise your premiums for next year. Over the course of your home’s lifetime, these hikes add up to thousands of wasted dollars.
When a contractor assesses the situation first, we use the same, standard industry software as claims adjusters. Based on policy and deductible terms, you may decide to skip the claims process altogether and move forward with an affordable repair on your own – enjoying repairs and improvements performed by a contractor of your choosing.
Reduced Costs on Renovations & Home Improvement
Let’s use a flooded basement with serious water damage as an example. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t improve a space at the same time you are repairing it. Since the insurance claim will cover a significant portion of the demolition, materials and labor involved to restore it, you’ll benefit from a significantly cheaper basement renovation than you ever would otherwise. You’ll get a design-build team who will brainstorm all the options. Since we’re in there working anyway, you can wind up with a full-renovation for a fraction of the price it would have cost otherwise.
Avoid Insurance Claim Hassles
Finally, a good contractor will handle all of the insurance claims processing, paperwork and follow-up requirements for you. This is no easy feat so it’s a major bonus for homeowners. Contractors can act as your go-between and are your advocate, ensuring you get the most from every penny of your claim reimbursement.
So, before you pick up the call to SOS the homeowner’s insurance company, contact a reputable contractor. You’ll benefit from hassle-free, affordable, high-quality remodeling perks that will be a reflection of your home for many years to come.
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