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Monday, April 07, 2008

Fixin stuff

The adjuster called to tell us how much it's going to cost to fix the house. Let's just say you could buy either a nice used car or a lower-end new car with the check. Yikes! We have to get the roof repaired, new siding on the entire back side of the house and all new downspouts and gutters. Fun, huh? Now to get the estimates.
I told Carl that I hope this doesn't turn into one of those nightmare repair jobs where nothing is ever right again.

Anyhoo -- thought I'd share the pictures of the hail and its aftermath.
This was the front yard during the storm... yes, I walked onto our porch and took a picture! Then I ran back in the house and hid in the bathroom.

This is the average size of the hail that hit our house. Up until this weekend, I had this piece and two others in a bowl in our freezer. Don't know why... just did.

And now for the damage... this is the hole next to J-man's window. It is the largest of all the holes... see how close it was to smashing the glass?

Here are some holes and cracks in the siding... you may or may not be able to tell... and trust me, I didn't take pictures of it all.

Finally, here is our cheap little table we got from Wal-Mart. As you can see, the hail went straight through it. (there is another hole under the planter on the right... and see that huge crack? Nice, huh? At least it still holds the rose bushes Carl bought this weekend. We'll plant them and then hope they don't get trampled when the workers fix my house.

Gotta love it.


Martha said...

That hail was huge! Oh my gosh. We had bad hail storms last year and only one piece of siding got a small hole. The hole is still there...

Valerie said...

Bummer! Sorry to hear that you have to deal with all of that...I've been there (flooded basement one week before we had planned to put it on the market)...I had to keep telling myself "this too shall pass."

I can't believe how big the hail was! It looks like a snowball!

chelene said...

Sorry about the damage to the house, I can't believe hail can be that large!

Biddie said...

Holy smokes. That hail storm must have really been something. Thank goodness no people (or pugs) were hurt! I've never seen hail that big before.

Royce said...

Ahhh... but all it not what is seems! I lost you in the maze of google alerts which is why I did not get back to you about your claim. When you posted about hail damage, I got it again! This time I will bookmark ya.

The estimate game is exactly that, a game. Look in the papers he/she gave you. The adjuster gave you a "scope" or "Statement of Loss" with that little check. Somewhere in that paperwork you should find that you have the right to hire "the contractor of your choice". Although the adjuster likely suggested you get estimates, you will not find that to be your requirement ANYWHERE in that paper work. (I have dealt with many an adjuster)
You are under absolutely no obligation to price shop and interview multiple companies for multiple trades, all the while trying to fit that into what the adjuster's estimate is. Remember who he works for.

You pay good money every month so that when catastrophic events happen, your covered. Just as sure as it is not your obligation to price shop, it is the insurer's job to repair your property to "as good as or better than condition" which existed prior to the storm. In addition they are obligated to pay the market "prevailing rates" for the trades which must be performed. If your payment is about average, it is likely 30 to 50% under what the prevailing rates are. In addition, it is also possible that all damage was not discovered or paid for.
In short, interview and consider only GC (General Contractors) who have the capability to perform all the repairs needed on your house. Perform you due diligence and make sure they are reputable. Then have them agree to negotiate with the insurance company and perform all of the repairs for what they are willing to pay. (This is called a contingency agreement) For your deductible, negotiate that in exchange for the contractor using your job to advertise for more work. Depending on the size of the job and your deductible amount, you will reduce your deductible, maybe eliminate it. There are other little tricks of the trade you can do to reduce or eliminate your deductible totally. These include performing little tasks that the contractor will get your insurance company to pay for in lieu of the balance of any deductible.
In closing, the experienced insurance claim contractor is the exact mirror opposite of the adjuster. Unlike the adjuster, he wants to find all the damage and will get that damage paid for at the prevailing local rates. This is the best win-win scenario you can have.
Estimates are a myth in this sort of damage. It is not your responsibility to save the insurance company money. They cannot raise your rates or drop you individually when the cause is of catastrophic nature. They can only raise rates across the board for a particular group or classification and this will likely follow any major storm damaged area anyway.
DO NOT ALLOW the contractor to be paid directly by the insurance company. Have all funds come through you, pay a fair percentage when materials are delivered to your site, a fair percentage at the half way point of the job, and the balance at the end. Let the contractor do the heavy lifting,you control the money.
Royce -

Burfica said...

OH my gosh!!! wow, glad you weren't out in it, or you could be in the hospital. Houses can be fixed, people not so much.

Royce said...

By the way, I forgot to mention to you that the check you now have is not the end. Nor is the estimate for damages. Again in your paperwork, there is a time period before your claim is closed (at least a year, maybe 2). Look at this first contact with the adjuster as "an initial offer". Most homeowners deal with this type of situation once or twice in the lives. Adjusters do it 24/7. Find a contractor as I previously stated who is experienced in claim settlements and watch what happens.

I hope this information has been useful to you and your readers. My book on the subject entitled "Claim Impact" will be on the market this summer. My past clients encouraged me to write Claim Impact because so few property owners (upwards of 90%) in the U.S. know how to handle this type of situation.

Take Care...Royce

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks, Royce. Something that we all need to know!

Lisa said...

Holy kraut! I've never seen hail of that size or magniture before. Considering all, I'm just happy it wasn't worse than that.

Marni said...

thank you so much Royce! Your advice is awesome.