Policyholder Question – Submitting Your Own Insurance Claim Repair Estimate
The following is an insurance claim question we answered for a policyholder through the United Policyholders Ask an Expert Forum.
Q. Can I have a repair estimate reviewed and a new estimate prepared based on the estimate sent by my insurance adjusters estimate? They have issued a check in the amount of this estimate, less the deductible. What should I do with the check?
A. Good question, I am sure many in your position have questions about the estimate prepared and submitted by their insurance adjuster. Please remember, this work product is just an "estimate." While the adjuster may have some actual contracting experience, it’s even more likely they are not licensed contractors and I doubt if the insurance company who hired them would allow them to adjust and repair the insured property. So yes, you are free to use their "estimate" and make any necessary changes you or your contractor feel may be more in line with the facts of your loss and market conditions regarding material and labor cost. The scope of the loss and the price of the scope of repairs is almost always negotiable.
Regarding your question about what to do with the check; Make sure there is no release language written on the check or on the proof of loss document. If the insurance company requires you to sign a proof of loss, make sure you write in words that make it clear that this check is not a full and final settlement of your claim. We often include the words; “partial settlement, undisputed as to the amount of this check only. This check is not a full and final settlement. Acceptance of the sum offered is not a full and final accord and satisfaction of our claim.” If you get any push back on this, you may want to have an attorney write a letter to make it clear that the sum offered is only for the amount the adjuster estimated and is not a full and final settlement. Most insurance companies are smart enough to know they cannot use an adjuster’s estimate and off a check as blackmail to get you to sign off on the claim, especially since this is a first party insurance contract and not a third party liability claim.
If you have questions regarding any property insurance claim related issues please call 800.321.4488 or contact us to submit a question to one of our public adjuster insurance claim experts.