As most homeowners can attest to, the family home is the single most valuable possession and typically the largest investment. When that home is damage by a tornado and resulting hail damage recovering the maximum amount of money needed to repair or replace the damaged property or business will certainly be the biggest challenge one could ever undertake. Understanding the insurance claim process or working with someone who does can make the difference of recovering what you should under your policy.
Tutwiler and Associates staff of professional tornado insurance claims adjusters can help alleviate the arduous insurance claim process and will see to it that you restore your home or business back to its proper condition. Because we understand how insurance companies evaluate claims, we will make sure your claim estimates are backed by fact, you recover what is rightfully due under your policy, and minimize the haggling and stress your insurance company can impose on you when filing a tornado damage insurance claim.
Here are a few key tips to make sure your tornado damage does not turn into an insurance claim nightmare.
1. Make sure your insurance company pays you first, not a roofing company or contractor. Never sign over your insurance payment to a 3rd party contractor.
2. Ask for an “advance payment” from the insurance company so you can at least start to make temporary repairs.
3. Understand the "damage repair estimate" that the insurance company adjuster provides you. If they have not provided one, ask for it right away!
4. When reviewing the repair estimate, look for the "10 & 10" on the totals page of the estimate. This refers to the standard 10% extra for overhead and 10% extra for contractor’s profit that is written into many policies and sometimes paid as part of the claim. This is a hotly debated issue in the claims community. If a roof claim is the only damage incurred, then an insurer may take the position you are not going to use a general contractor. Thus they will not pay the 10 and 10 profit and overhead. However, some companies will pay you the 10% overhead if you are supervising the roofer, under the theory that you will have cost and time in this project. Their position on the 10% profit is that you should not profit from your loss. The entire 10 and 10 is generally considered to be a carryover issue from past years, as most honest contractors we know tell us they cannot stay in business under these terms. Their real profit is built in the line-by-line estimates that carry a higher profit margin. Try to work this out with the adjuster if this comes up or call us. These issues may well be covered in court cases, which need to be taken into consideration given how the courts have look at the policy and terms in past years.
5. Understand their depreciation calculations. Most insurance companies pay on an “Actual Cash Value” basis (Replacement cost minus depreciation) and will depreciate buildings 50%-70%, drastically reducing the final payment. This is open to negotiation and newer buildings should not be depreciated that much.
6. In disaster situations, the demand for building/roofing materials naturally increases. The estimated cost of repairs accounted for in the insurance companies "estimate" will most likely be lower as the demand/price of building materials increases. Make sure you are paid the full amount on the front end so you do not have to go back to ask the adjuster for more. The estimated wait time to have an adjuster re-inspect your home/business is over 2-3 weeks and you may not have the same adjuster as he/she will most likely go back home to the respective state they flew in from.
Contact Tutwiler and Associates today to start the process of a proper and equitable recovery to your tornado damage claim.