Categories Insurance Claims


Xactimate is a standard estimating system used by insurance companies and contractors to financially settle insurance claims. I’ll try my best to break it down in layman’s terms:

Reasons for a Standard Estimating System

An insurance company’s job is to provide their customers fair compensation when something unexpected happens, in our case water damage. The customer chooses a contractor to complete the work and then the insurance company pays that contractor directly for their services. The problem is that there are literally hundreds of contractors performing the same service in any given area. (restoration, roofing, plumbing, ect.) Imagine the variation in pricing if each contractor had their own system for billing the insurance company. It would be very difficult for insurance adjusters (see link) to determine what was fair or fraud. Kind of like the wild wild west of estimating.

XACTIMATE allows Insurance and Contractor to Agree on Price

To combat this problem all major insurance companies have implemented Xactimate as their estimating and billing system. As a result, all legitimate contractors, who want to get paid for their services, have also adopted this system. I suppose if an illegitimate contractor doesn’t care about getting paid they can still just wing it. (Note: Don’t hire illegitimate contractors to work on your house.)

The way it works is Xactimate uses exact “items” (measurements, time, material, and labor) to come up with prices insurance companies and contractors can agree on. For example: Xactimate pays $0.41 per foot to “tear out baseboard.” If a contractor tears out 213 feet of baseboard on a job, Xactimate would compensate them $87.33. ($0.41 x 213 feet = $87.33) Insurance company agrees, contractor agrees. Life’s gravy.

That’s just one example of literally thousands of different “items” contractors can choose from to develop detailed estimates insurance companies can agree to. Think of it as adding a sheriff to that wild wild west town of estimating.

Xactimate creates pricing uniformity between the insurance company and contractors that previously didn’t exist. It helps make the insurance claims process go smoother, which creates a better overall experience for you the customer.

If you would like to read more about Xactimate and the company that created the software follow the link below.

Read more about Xactware and Xactimate.




Categories Before You Hire

Do I need Multiple Estimates before Hiring a Water Damage Contractor?

Do I need multiple estimates before hiring a water mitigation contractor? The short answer to this question is no, but as in all aspects of life it can be more complicated than that.

Insurance Company

From the insurance company’s stand point they want home owners to get water damage taken care of ASAP. Waiting for a contractor, or multiple contractors to submit estimates and go through the approval process delays the cleanup and dryout. This in turn can lead to further damage (ruined building materials, musty odors, mold damage, ect.) and further damage can lead to more money out of their pockets.

Water Mitigation Contractor

From the water mitigation contractors stand point it’s hard to predict every single aspect of a job before work begins. Imagine if the original plan is to remove wet drywall. However, when you go to tear it out the wall cavity that’s exposed is covered in black mold. Situations like this complicate a job and require additional work that wasn’t part of the original plan.

Contractor and Insurance Company Working Together

As a result, insurance companies allow water mitigation contractors to bill them directly after the cleanup and dryout is complete, using an estimating system called Xactimate. (Click Here is read about Xactimate) This way the insurance company gets a quick response which minimizes damage, and the contractor can submit one comprehensive estimate that includes all the work that was required. Win + win = best friends.

Insurance Coverage Warning

WARNING: As we learned previously in our article, “Will my insurance Company Pay for my Water Damage”, not all water damage is covered by your insurance company. ALWAYS talk to your insurance company and get DETAILS about your coverages before you hire a contractor to do the cleanup and dryout. While you don’t need an upfront estimate, you do need to be sure you have full coverage. If you skip this step you could be on the hook for whatever the insurance company doesn’t approve. NOTE: Just because you call and get a claim number doesn’t mean you’re covered. Don’t be the guy or gal that has a water mitigation contractor come out on a Saturday night to clean up your flooded basement just to find out on Monday morning that your coverage was denied or limited. Lose + lose = major dues.




Categories Restoration Tips

How do I know if there is Mold in my Home?

How do I know if there is Mold in my Home? Que up the Darth Vader music, we are getting ready to talk about mold. Obviously one of the biggest fears home owners have is mold damage. Mold can grow almost anywhere, it can make occupants sick, and it can cost a lot of money to have a contractor clean it up. No wonder everyone is so scared of it. So what are the best ways you can detect whether or not mold is present in your home?

No. 1- Seeing it. Seeing mold growing is the easiest way to detect that mold is present. It is most often seen in areas where there is a water source. (Behind toilets, under sinks, around water heaters, ect.) However, it can also grow in areas with high humidity, like a basement, attic, or crawlspace.

No. 2- Smelling it. If you smell something strange in a given area that may indicate that mold is growing. Mold puts off a musty scent, so if you continue to smell something funky, it’s probably worth doing some further investigation.

No. 3- Testing it. The most thorough way to detect if mold is present is by having an air quality test done. An air quality testing company will come out and take samples of the air, test them in a lab, and provide you with detailed results. They can determine if there are high levels of mold spores in the air and what type of mold it is. This process usually costs between 300 and 500 dollars.  Restorex uses Microair in Indianapolis to test for mold.  You should always use a third party when testing for mold.

If you think you have mold in your home DON’T just immediately call a contractor and take their word for it. Contractors are notorious for exaggerating the mold damage in order to charge you more money. Use these guidelines to educate yourself enough to understand your situation, if there is one. By doing that you give yourself the best chance to make smart decisions and save money. May the force be with you.





Categories Insurance Claims


Tomato/tomato, potato/patato, insurance agent/insurance adjuster: What’s the difference, right? Well contrary to popular belief more than you may think.  A insurance agent and an insurance adjuster serve very different purposes with-in the insurance industry.

Insurance Agent

A insurance agent is involved before damage occurs. They write policies for customers to protect them against the unexpected events that happen in life. (Flooded basements, fender benders, alligator attacks, you get the picture…) They review an individual’s circumstances (health, car, house, financial status, ect.) and customize coverages based on those items. A good agent should include coverages that you are at risk for, and eliminate items that don’t apply to you. For example: if you live in a flood plain you should probably carry flood insurance in your policy, if you don’t, there’s no reason to pay extra for that coverage. Insurance agents are in place to help supply you with the coverages you need for a price that is practical.  An insurance agent typically will not be involved when a claim is placed; that is when the insurance adjuster comes into the picture.

Insurance Adjuster

A insurance adjuster gets involved once damage has occurred. They are assigned to settle claims with the property owner and a water damage restoration contractor. Insurance adjusters survey the damage, write estimates, and work with the contractor to return the property to pre-loss conditions. In addition, they are also responsible for providing compensation for personal items that were damaged during the occurrence. (If your basement floods I guarantee you are at least losing one Christmas tree, maybe more…) You will often, but not always, see adjusters visit the affected property. (see inside vs. outside adjusters)

To recap, the easiest way to separate the two; agents are there to help protect you from damage, while adjusters are there to help you get compensated to clean up the damage.




Categories Insurance Claims

Will the Insurance Company Pay for my Water Damage Claim?

Will My Insurance Company Pay for Water Damage


Will the Insurance Company Pay for my Water Damage Claim?  Its safe to assume that if your home experiences water damage your insurance company will take care of all of the damage right?

Don’t you remember what your parents told you about assuming? Just because you have insurance does not guarantee that you have coverage for certain types of water damage.

Most notably “water coming in through a window, wall, or door” or “drain and sump pump backups.” Also, even if you have insurance coverage it can be limited to a certain dollar amount.

“Accidental and all of a Sudden”

The insurance company will pay for a claim when they know the cause of the water damage was “accidental and all of sudden” not an ongoing maintenance issue.  For instance, if a home owner neglects a leaky pipe under a kitchen sink for a month.

Then, discovers they have significant mold damage because of the leaky pipe.  The insurance adjuster will most likely decide the water damage was caused by neglect and deny the insurance claim.

Now this can be a gray area for some water damage situations.  So, ultimately the insurance adjuster has the final ruling.  It never hurts to get an opinion from a water damage restoration contractor before placing a claim.

Ok, so what can you do as a home owner to make sure you don’t get caught without coverage when water damage occurs?

Review your Insurance Policy with your Insurance Agent

1. Look through your insurance policy to see what you’re covered or not covered for.

2. If you don’t have access to your policy; reach out to your insurance agent to discuss your water damage coverage in detail.

3. If you find out you are not covered for certain types of water damage, this is a perfect time to get those coverages added to your policy.

What is Limited Insurance Coverage?

We learned previously that just because you have insurance does not guarantee that you have coverage for certain types of water damage.

Limited insurance coverage means that you have insurance coverage, however, that coverage is limited to a certain dollar amount.

For example, if a home owner experiences a drain or sump pump backup in a basement, insurance companies almost always put a $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000 dollar limit on what they will pay out.

Most of the time, $5,000 dollars doesn’t go very far when there’s a foot of water down there.

Some simple research now can save you a financial headache in the future when dealing with water damage.




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