When you come home from a long day at work only to find that the ice maker on your refrigerator has leaked all over the kitchen, the last thing you need, is the worry of making an insurance claim. There are so many unanswered questions. How much is my deductible? Will the floor have to be replaced? Are my premiums going to be raised? What if I can’t get this dry? Will it mold? After I clean up the standing water, what’s next? Will the insurance even cover this kind of damage? Is there a limit to how much they will pay? There is almost no end to the questions that come up when you have that first claim with your insurance company.
You call your insurance agent to make the claim and the person on the other end of the line often starts asking, ‘how bad is it?’ ‘do you think its more than your deductible?’. Now, no offense here but, you just spent the last 10 years teaching 3rd graders how to conjugate verbs. There is almost no chance you will be able to accurately determine the financial scope of your loss, and your agent knows that. You see, they have professional concerns about your loss as well. Have you ever heard of a Loss Ratio? In lay terms this is the tool used by insurance companies to determine the bonus your agent gets at the end of the year. This is attached to the volume and financial liability of claims the agents have in a years time. There are several other things attached to the algorithm for loss ratios that I do not understand and honestly don’t need to at this point in my career. This is not to say that your agent is a bad person. They also have concerns about your financial obligations as well. They know if you make a claim then your premiums may go up or you could be dropped from your insurance. They don’t want this any more than you do. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have someone who represented only YOU in this process and wasn’t somehow attached to the insurance company?
The pool for restoration companies is deep and wide. There are several out here that do great work and will absolutely get your house dry. When it comes to making the differentiation from one to the next however the gap can be as wide as the pool itself. Corporate franchise companies have made contracts with insurance providers to offer service to the insured (you) at a discounted rate, with specific protocols, made to fit cookie cutter losses. This is kind of like getting a burger from a fast food restaurant. It’s priced to entice but once you bite in you realize where the profits are going. It’s all about volume and has very little to do with quality. In this industry where you have so many companies taking their names to make you think of “service” there is very little service to go around and the ones who are getting service are the insurance providers not the actual clients that we ALL work for.
Independent restoration contractors, at least for my part, are truly service oriented. I don’t want to alienate any of my fellow independent’s out there so I will now speak only for my own company. We have not nor will we make any contracts with insurance providers. We offer a 3 day dry pricing guarantee to all customers, insurance and self pays. If it takes us more than three days to make it dry then the remainder is on us. It is our purpose to represent the insured from the beginning of the process to the end. We will come out and advise, with over 15 years of experience, the decision to make a claim, what areas there can be decisions made to help cover the cost of our deductible and explain from experience the entire process of making claims. We help the clients understand what to say to the adjusters and what to let them figure out on their own. We will not in any way compromise our integrity to help either the insured or the provider. We will advise at what point you should allow the adjuster to do their job and how you can act to receive the best and most fair treatment from a very over worked and underappreciated adjuster. Let me make a very clear statement here. The insurance company is made and broken by their adjusters. The great ones are rare, the good ones are few and the ones just biding their time are the “norm”. These people are the front line and receive the brunt of the anger from disillusioned clients. The clients who think the insurance owes them, have broken these men and women and made some of them bitter and cynical. A smile will get you a long way with these folks. Their job is difficult at best and when you show them respect and understanding they are generally more than happy to reciprocate. On the flip side, try telling them that you are tired of getting screwed by your insurance company and that its time you get what you deserve from the insurance and see how long it takes them to write your check! Suddenly a very amicable and simple process is drawn out and made hostile because you couldn’t keep your mouth shut. Remember, you are the one with damage to your home; your adjuster can go home and sleep comfortably at night.
You need to know how much your deductible is. You need to know what type of policy you have. Is it replacement cost or is it actual cash value, big difference here. Can you fix this on your own? How can you be sure it’s dry? How many claims have you already made against your policy? Can you afford your monthly premium of it goes up 15%? If you have a thousand dollar deductible and the damage is twenty five hundred dollars is it worth making the claim? Paying a thousand dollars and an additional 50 dollars a month for your policy as well as taking a hit and possibly being dropped from your insurance provider? These are all questions that need more information, more experience than the average person has access to. My best advice is to call an independent restoration contractor. When you’re being nice and have used your manners but the insurance still isn’t cooperating, your contractor should stand up and fight for you and see to it that you receive fair treatment. Take a deep breath, this is our every day. We’re in this together!!
Yours in service,
Leading Edge Restoration