Policyholder Question – Challenging a Restoration Bill After a Fire
The following is an insurance claim question we answered for a policyholder through the United Policyholders Ask an Expert Forum.
Q. We had a fire in our split-level duplex. The downstairs unit was a complete loss and the upstairs had smoke damage. Upon further inspection, the entire structure had to be brought up to code which totaled out the loss. The insurance company brought in a remediation company which still has a $4,000 bill outstanding for cleaning up the structure. Two builders say the structure should've been totaled immediately without any attempt for structural remediation. What are our options to challenge the remediation company's bill and claims?
A. Great question and sorry you are in this fight. This is something that unfortunately we see quite a bit. The cause of this is generally the lack of hands-on site involvement from your insurance company. Had they sent a trained and experienced adjuster out when the claim was first reported you may not have been faced with this issue. In my opinion, it is the adjuster from your insurance company responsibility to quickly assess the situation and determine if remediation is necessary or if it is a waste of money. Based on your outcome, it appears remediation was wasted money. As you said, the "insurance company brought in a remediation company" your insurance company should pay this bill not out of your policy limits but instead pay out of what is called “CLAIM EXPENSE”. Claim expense money comes out of the carrier’s account but does not reduce your limits for the coverage that you purchased. As I said, this is a big recurring issue and unfortunately most policyholders following a loss are not aware that they need to pay attention to the details when folks start showing up after a loss.
Press the claim expense issue with both your insurance company and their remediation company.
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