Your husband turns to you and utters the words every homeowner hates hearing: insurance claim…that and here’s a puppy. The process of moving through an insurance claim is arduous at best. So, here are some tips to help you navigate the process and retain your sanity.
Hire a Certified, Licensed, and Insured General Contractor
This statement is not as self-serving as it sounds. Regardless of who you hire, each person should have a General Contractor (GC) onsite for their insurance adjustment and throughout their project. On average, an insurance adjuster has about two hours of training before they are deployed; they are going to miss things. Your GC should have a much stronger understanding of local code, best practice, and items necessary to be replaced. Get a GC and make sure they are onsite for your insurance adjustment.
Do Not Get Three Bids
The industry adage of three bids is often relayed to me by customers and I cannot stress how wrong it is. As the consumer, it makes sense to have several bids and to go with the most reasonable (not the cheapest, the most reasonable). However, you are not really the consumer here. The insurance company is paying for your work to be completed; do not help them find the lowest bid, and likely the lowest quality work, for your home. You have a legal right to pick your GC. So, pick a GC, have them provide a bid that covers what needs to be done, and have them present that bid to your insurance company. Do not help your insurance company undercut you.
Understand what supplementation is, and how long it can take
When an insurance adjustment occurs, the adjuster puts together a list of items deemed needing replacement. Very often, this list is either incomplete or does not cover the true cost of the scope of the trade. Because of this, bids will need to be generated for each trade and then sent to your insurance company for approval. This process is known as supplementation. For most trades, such as roof, gutters, and paint this process is relatively quick. However, for other trades this process may take months (windows stand out as a long timeframe trade). Your GC should communicate with you on those timelines and check in with you weekly. Know this may take a while.
Consider Retail Upgrades
It is often much easier and cheaper to do retail upgrades when you already have construction occurring at your home. So, if you’re supposed to get a new roof and some trim paint, consider that your paint will likely look dingy against the new roof. Think about coming out of pocket for the remaining paint and give your home a facelift. Often homeowners are disappointed once a major element of their home is replaced (siding or roof) because it brings into focus the other items needing to be repaired. Consider making upgrades during insurance restoration work.