TIPS FOR SELECTING
Here is a list of the most common types of services you will need after
your home has been burned. Many of these services will contact you. It’s
important to know what each company offers and if their services are
covered by Insurance or if they are charging YOU a fee.
Contact us for a list of local vendors in your area with 5 star
Your insurance company may advise you not to talk to any unapproved
insurance vendors. Your insurance carrier is not in the business to give
away money, so it is in their best interest to have their approved vendors
mitigate your loss. In order to do so, the preferred vendor may try to
salvage different contents and parts of the structure that should NOT be
salvaged. It is up to you as the owner to protect your investment and
educate yourself on your rights as the insured. As mentioned earlier just
because a company might be a preferred vendor of the carrier does not mean
that they are adequately capable to evaluate your loss; nor that you are
required to use them. Be sure to check references and reviews before you
agree to let any vendor into your home to assist you, including vendors
referred to you from your carrier. You as the insured have the right to
deny any vendor into your home that is not 5 stars rated or if they have
even one complaint.
As already mentioned, most services will be covered by your insurance
carrier; Note, if you select to work with a Public Adjuster their fee is
not covered by your Insurance carrier.
Restoration companies are usually among the first responders following a
house fire. Their job is to clean up the mess and to preserve and protect
your home from more damage. They also assist with your contents/inventory
list. It is important to ask questions and understand how your contents
will be cleaned. For example:
• How will my clothing be cleaned?
• How will my electronics be cleaned?
Be sure to check with the manufacturer of your electronics before agreeing
to have them cleaned. Warranties may not be offered after your electronics
have been exposed to heat, smoke etc. from a fire. In that case you would
elect to have your electronics replaced.
When deciding who will rebuild your home it is
important to select a contractor that is familiar with fire damage and how
to work with your Insurance company. You may know a general contractor or
have one in your family, however it is important that your contractor
understand insurance scopes (Xactimate) and how to identify hidden fire
damage. It is best not select a general contractor just because they are a
friend or family. They may not be equipped or experienced to restore a
property to the level the city you live in will require.
If you elect to select your own vendors-who will be working for you, and
not use the Insurance Preferred carriers, you will want to make your
selection soon after the fire. For the majority of people whom suffer a
house fire it will be their first time. The stress that comes with the
loss of a home can make the selection process seem more stressful then it
needs to be, making it easier to default to insurance to make these
decisions for you. By selecting your contractor immediately this allows
the contractor to start working on their scope of repairs and reach
agreements with the insurance carrier as to what needs to be repaired and
how it needs to be repaired. You may think that you need to wait for your
Insurance carrier to view the loss and prepare a scope of repairs before
making this important selection, but remember your insurance claim
representative is not a general contractor and therefore may not be
capable of preparing a thorough scope. Your claim representative may also
elect to bring a general contractor with them to assist them with
preparing a scope. Remember it is up to YOU to make sure that you feel
comfortable that the vendor/contractor is assisting your insurance carrier
is capable of estimating damages in your home.
It’s beneficial if the general contractor is familiar with the scope
program Xactimate. This software is designed to prepare a scope in line
item detail with the cost for each line item. Be sure that your contractor
has the ability to do an analysis of the insurance’s scope to catch any
errors that the Insurance carrier may have made or discrepancies on how
things should be prepared. Failing to do this you could result in
potentially losing thousand of dollars.
Contact us for a list of vendors we trust. We have worked with these
vendors in the past and trust you will have a good experience with them.
Pros and Cons of using
1. The Insurance Company saves money, repair or replace the property for
less and improve loss ratios.
2. The Insured gains piece of mind knowing that the insurance company has
already vetted the contractor, and knowing their insurance company will
guarantee the work.
3. Vendors that participate in the Insurance Preferred Vendor Programs
receive consistent work form the insurance company.
1. The Insurance carrier determines the scope of repair and replacement
work, rather then the qualified contractor. Because the Insurers incentive
is cost saving the scope of work is likely to be inappropriately narrow.
2. Preferred Vendors are more likely to accept the insurers scope of work
even if the contractor disagrees because the contractor wants to continue
to receive additional work from the insurer.
3. Insurance companies pay only the “prevailing competitive rate” as
determined by the insurance company. This reduces or eliminates the
margins necessary for contractors to make a profit. If the contractor is
unable to make a profit they either go out of business or remove
themselves from the preferred vendor list, creating high turnover of
contractors on the Insurance Preferred Vendor lists.
4. Insurers determine the price of the work and may apply a different
Xactimate pricing list, which is lower than Xactimate pricing lists used
by a non-insurance preferred vendor. This also eliminates profit margins
and provides incentive for the contractor to complete less then quality
work and use less then quality materials in order to avoid losing money on