Categories Insurance Claims

Will My Insurance Company Pay for a Hotel?

 

Will My Insurance Company Pay for a Hotel during a Water Restoration Project at my Home?

Have you ever dealt with water damage in your home? If not, ask someone who has. They will tell you it can be a very invasive experience. The way Restorex Disaster Restoration dries out properties is by using a combination of heat and air movement, which can be uncomfortable if this is in your main living spaces.

Typically, rooms affected by water damage in a home can be as hot as 85 or 90 degrees, while 5 to 8 air movers blow loudly in the background. If that area is in your basement no sweat, pun intended. Just close the door and carry on with your daily routines. If the damage affects your main living area, (Like your kitchen…) it can be a lot more uncomfortable.

 

Insurance Company’s Point of View

Your insurance company understands that during a water damage mitigation you are inconvenienced. If our company foresees that conditions are going to be too uncomfortable, we will discuss getting a hotel room with our customer.

Some people don’t want to leave, and if they’re willing to ride out the hurricane-like conditions, more power to them.

However, if a customer would prefer to stay in a hotel during the dryout, that option is available to them. It’s as easy as reaching out to the insurance adjuster to explain the situation and get approval.

 

Hotel During Water Damage Bottom Line

To be honest it often works out better for both the homeowner and our company when the house is vacated. In those cases, Restorex can do the work necessary to cleanup and dryout the property without worrying about inconveniencing the occupants.

In turn, the customer can avoid the temperature and noise of our drying equipment slowly driving them toward a mental breakdown.

NOTE: The insurance company will not pay for you to stay at the Ritz Carlton if we have 4 fans and a dehumidifier in 1 of your bedrooms. Hotel stays are only approved during “significant” water damage situations.

Categories Insurance Claims

What is A Supplement Estimate

 

WHAT IS A SUPPLEMENT ESTIMATE?

A supplement estimate is an estimate requesting more money from the insurance company. Once water damage has been cleaned up, an insurance adjuster writes a repair estimate to get the customers property put back together. (Repair drywall, replace flooring, paint, ect.) Once that estimate is complete Restorex Disaster Restoration reviews it to make sure it covers all the repairs that need to take place.

If the adjuster left something out, we can send the insurance company a supplement estimate that includes those forgotten items.

For example: An adjuster might pay for replacing cabinets but forget to include detaching and resetting the counter-top. They might pay to install new baseboard but forget to paint them 2 coats. Adjusters can be so forgetful sometimes…

Note: All adjusters and legitimate contractors estimate through a system called Xactimate. Estimates can be sent back and forth in this system until a final price is agreed upon.

 

Insurance Adjuster’s Estimates

Usually adjuster’s estimates don’t have enough money in them in my opinion. (If you asked an adjuster, they would probably claim that restoration companies’ estimates are way too high.)

However, as a property owner you should be on my side because if you’ve ever been through a remodel, you know that having additional money is never a bad thing. Unforeseen circumstances almost always come up. Especially when you’re making new repairs to an older home. That’s just the nature of the beast.

The reason why I believe that adjuster’s estimates are low, is because while they do write a lot of them, very few adjusters actually understand how to perform the repairs.

What I mean by that is it’s one thing to know what needs to be done, (For example: ceiling drywall that has been affected by water damage needs scraped, re-textured, and painted).  But it’s another thing to actually know how to perform that task.

A lot of home repairs are very difficult, even for our experienced carpenters.

 

Every Water Damage is Unique

Each home we work on is unique and presents a different set of challenges. Have you ever textured drywall on a ceiling? If you haven’t, try it sometime and let me know how it goes. Now imagine trying to match a new section of texture on a repaired ceiling with the texture that is already there.

It may take our carpenters two or three times to get it right, and they may not be able to match it at all depending on how complicated the existing texture is.

Adjusters typically pay enough money to make the match on the first try because they don’t understand, or care. By doing this they are able to save the insurance company money and aren’t held accountable if what they paid for doesn’t work out.

 

Let a Professional Contractor Review the Estimate

Ensure a professional restoration company reviews the adjuster’s repair estimate before work begins.  This will allow the process to be as smooth as possible. If they haven’t, then a supplement estimate needs to be submitted in order to account for those left out items.

Program note: Not all adjusters are evil penny pinchers, whose sole purpose is to screw their customers and save the insurance company money. There are plenty of talented adjusters out there writing good repair estimates and taking great care of their customers. However, since you as the homeowner can’t choose which adjuster settles your claim, it’s a good idea to have their repair estimate reviewed. Better safe than sorry.

 

Unexpected Circumstances and Repairs

Another scenario where supplement estimates come in handy is when something unexpected comes up during the repairs.

For example: An adjuster might originally write to only replace vinyl flooring.  However during removals it is determined that the sub-floor underneath it is rotted out and needs replaced also.

At that point Restorex Disaster Restoration would contact the adjuster to let them know we’ve come across something unexpected and the details of the repairs has changed. We would then submit a supplement estimate to the insurance company to compensate for that, and any other differences.

Adjusters don’t have Superman vision, (Or at least none of the ones I’ve met have…) so they can’t always tell in advance exactly what challenges a repair job might have in store. The good news is that supplement estimates are available to make up for left out or unforeseen items.

Think of it as an estimating safety net. This allows Restorex Disaster Restoration to get our customers fixed up right without having to rely solely on the original repair estimate. Praise the Lord.

 

NEED HELP WITH WATER DAMAGE? CALL (317) 315-5071

 

Categories Insurance Claims

What is ITEL?

Below you will find answers to these Questions:

  • What is ITEL?
  • How much does an ITEL Report cost?
  • How do they determine how much my floor cost?

 

What is ITEL?

ITEL is an independent laboratory that analyzes damaged flooring, roofing, and siding to determine the cost of like kind and like quality for replacement for the insurance industry.

This link tells the story of why ITEL was created back in the 1990’s https://www.itelinc.com/history.html.

In most water damage scenarios, flooring products will be affected.  Unfortunately, the flooring industry changes their products very frequently so finding the original product that was installed is nearly impossible.  So, to properly compensate a homeowner for their affected flooring, an insurance adjuster will require a sample of the flooring to be sent to ITEL Laboratories in Florida.

 

How much does and ITEL Report Cost?

An ITEL Report can vary in cost depending on the type of sample that needs to be analyzed.

A standard flooring sample ITEL report will cost about $80. Below is the invoice amount for a wood floor sample that was tested.

INVOICE
Testing Fee: $59.50
Shipping Fee: $21.74
Total Due: $81.24

 

How does ITEL determine how much my floor cost?

ITEL can analyze these different types of flooring:

  • Carpet (residential and light commercial)
  • Ceramic, Porcelain, and Stone Tile
  • Vinyl Flooring
  • Wood Flooring
  • Laminate Flooring
  • Pad and Underlayment

ITEL will analyze a flooring sample and create a report that includes the type of construction of the product, 4 different styles of flooring available in today’s market of like kind and quality, and a price per Square Foot for a like kind and quality product based on the sample that was submitted.

A example flooring report can be found here:

https://www.itelinc.com/images/uploads/content/ITEL-benchmark-carpet-report.pdf.

When the ITEL report is created, the insurance adjuster will add ITEL’s price per square foot into the repair estimate to compensate for the original flooring that was affected.  The price created by ITEL gives a homeowner a budget for picking out a new flooring product.

ITEL Laboratories does a good job analyzing flooring products most of the time.  The best way to figure the price per square foot is to provide a receipt showing the manufacturer of the original product and the original price per square foot.  If the homeowner does not have a previous receipt or knows the product that was installed, ITEL is the next best way to determine the cost of the original flooring.

 

NEED HELP WITH WATER DAMAGE? CALL (317) 315-5071

 

Categories Insurance Claims

What is XACTIMATE?

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.

 

NEED HELP WITH WATER DAMAGE? CALL (317) 315-5071

 

Categories Insurance Claims

INSURANCE AGENT vs. INSURANCE ADJUSTER

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.

 

NEED HELP WITH WATER DAMAGE? CALL (317) 315-5071

 

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