Do You Know What To Do
After A Storm Hits…
HINT: Don’t Call Your Insurance Company
After a storm hits, most people assess the damage and head for their phones to call their insurance company. This is the absolute worst thing that you can do.
What You Need to Do Is Call Us.
I know what you are thinking; why in the world should I call you?
First of all let me be absolutely clear about one thing, after a storm you are going to be bombarded by “Chuck-In-A-Truck” roofers that will offer you a “Free” roof inspection. Now I am not saying that all of these “storm chaser” contractors that operate their business out of a “truck” are all bad. What I am saying is that there is a large proportion of them that are fraudsters. A simple search engine query can prove the validity of that statement.
You want to deal with someone that is an established member of the community with an established home remodeling / repair business. Then you will want to call or check with the Department of Labor on the contractors’ license: check how long they have been in business and if there license is in good standing.
Now, as to why you should not call your insurance agent first thing. Insurance companies are going to send out an “adjuster.” A claims adjuster is an individual, working for the insurance company, that are going to try and nickel and dime your policy claim to death.
The fact of the matter is that after a big storm, Insurance companies are facing millions of dollars in claims. This is do in large part to the actual damages suffered by homeowners but also to the damage done by the “Chuck-In-A-Truck” storm chasers and the shoddy repairs and outright fraud that they commit.
Insurance companies want to minimize their losses as much as possible and thus the claims adjuster arrives on scene.
You Are Going to Be Hard Pressed to Argue and Justify
Your Roofing or Damage Claim Because You Don't
Have the Knowledge, Skills, or Experience.
Adjusters are counting on your ignorance in order to nickel and dime you to death in order to reduce the amount of your claim as much as possible.
In fact according to MSN Money:
"Insurance claims adjusters are trained to sniff out fraud. Some say they're also trained to mess with your head by:
Trying to get you to settle immediately
(one company sends adjusters to accident scenes to offer checks on the spot).
- Tricking you into compromising your case.
- Coercing you to use a "preferred" repair shop.
- Offering less than fair replacement value if the car is totaled.
"Insurance companies didn't get to be $15 billion and $20 billion (companies) because they give money away," says John Smith of Morgan Hubble Smith Insurance, based in Columbus, Ohio.
Let me be clear: This is not a "how to scam the system" column, and I'm not saying that claims adjusters are all a bunch of crooks. But their job is to settle a case as quickly and inexpensively as possible. It's your job to make sure you get a fair shake. Here's how:
Do yourself a favor and let us help you by giving you a fair estimate as to the extent of the damage and the knowledge you need to defend that position with the adjuster. After all, the insurance company is going to want you to get estimates anyway, why not get one from us. We will be there for you every step of the way.
Please Read The Following:
"Authorization Forms" Are CONTRACTS. Never Sign Anything.
A salesperson, or what we like to call a “Chuck-In-A-Truck,” may try to use high pressure sales tactics or a “we are your friend” approach in attempt to get you to sign an “authorization form.” The explanations that they give are varied, all of which are aimed to lull you into a false sense of security. Most often they tell the homeowner that it is a form to help them so that they can contact the homeowners’ insurance company with your permission. Or, the need your “authorization” to conduct an inspection of the home to look for storm damage. I
The reality is that this document is actually a formal contract that when signed, obligates the homeowner to allow the contractor to perform any repair work that your insurance company agrees to cover, for a price that the contractor and the insurance company agree on.
Here is a commentary right from a State Attorney Generals Office:
“The problem with signing these documents is that if a homeowners decides not to use that contractor, the contract probably contains small print (usually on the back of the document) that says that if a homeowner cancels the contract after three business days, they will owe the contractor a percentage (usually from 15 to 50 percent) of the total claim settlement. This is why it is so important to do the homework and check the contractor thoroughly before a decision is made to sign a contract.”
Here are some additional tips you need to know:
Avoid Contractors That:
- arrive in an unmarked truck or van;
- ask you to sign an estimate or authorization before you have decided to hire them;
- appear to be willing to do the job at an unusually low price;
- offer to pay your deductible or offer you discounts/compensation for hiring them;
- only provide a post office box for their business address;
- require full or substantial payment before work begins;
- refuse to provide you with a written estimate or contract;
- refuse to provide you with a license number issued by the state of Minnesota;
- refuse to provide you with references;
- show up at your door unsolicited; or
- use high-pressure sales tactics.