Misconception #1: I Need To File A Claim
Before filing a claim, speak with a knowledgeable restoration contractor to understand the severity of the damage. An experienced contractor can tell you quickly if your damages warrant filing a claim due to the size of your loss as compared to your deductible.
You don’t want a claim on your home’s record unless you really need to and in some cases, you don’t have coverage anyway so why file a claim? Speak to a restoration contractor before filing a claim to make sure it is claim worthy. Remember that going forward, they will always know about your loss even if you don’t have coverage.
Misconception #2: I Have To Wait On My Adjuster
This is completely incorrect! You are under contract with your carrier to insure your property. And in that fine print, it states that you will properly mitigate damages or you may not get insurance coverage for that loss! So waiting on an insurance adjuster to show up could result in your not addressing the damages quick enough and that could result in a loss of coverage. Hire a professional to document the loss and mitigate the problems as soon as possible to uphold your end of the agreement.
Misconception #3: I Need Three Estimates Before Starting
Adjusters use this one frequently and it serves them and not you very well. Your damages are your damages and you should get an accurate estimate of those damages instead of three inaccurate estimates.
What purpose does a low, medium, and high estimate serve? You are not going to be paid for the high estimate even if that is the right estimate. Instead, focus on selecting a restoration contractor that is going to focus on your job and your needs. One that will write a detailed scope of work with current pricing. One that is going to be there six months from now when the repair fails and you need a warranty call at no charge.
The contractor you select that you are happy with should be able to write you and the insurance company a detailed estimate in Xactimate or similar software that will specify exactly what will be done. Xactimate software uses monthly price lists in your local area to make sure enough money is in the line items to buy the materials and do the work for a reasonable profit.
Misconception #4: They Said I Have To Use Their Contractor
In Florida, you are allowed to use any contractor you wish to manage your loss and restore your property. You have the legal right to select your own contractor that you are comfortable with. Some people will tell you that you must use their contractor or your loss is not covered and this is simply wrong on so many levels. They may even try to tell you they have never heard of your contractor but they know their contractor will do a great job and they might. Just remember, their contractor is working ultimately for them and not you. Isn’t this your property and don’t you want to control who is working on your property?
Misconception #5: My Insurance Company Is Hiring The Contractor
I have been in this business in Florida for 16 plus years and I have never seen an insurance company hire a company to make any repairs for anyone. They actually refuse to hire the contractor to work on your property because they do not want the liability. They may send you a contractor but ultimately you will have to sign and hire the contractor so you need to make sure it is someone you are happy with.
Misconception #6: My Insurance Company Is Paying For This
Technically this is not true. See misconception #5 – you hired the contractor so ultimately those are your bills. The carrier is simply going to release the payments to you or the contractor to cover the approved charges. If they disagree with the charges, they will not release those funds and you may be responsible for those charges. To protect yourself, be clear to your contractor that you want them to get all repair costs approved before performing the work. And don’t forget, you are responsible for your deductible which is probably $1,000 – $2,500 unless there is a named tropical storm or hurricane.