Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 50 seconds
Now that the emergency occurred, there are several steps that need to happen quickly.
- Get help on the way, underestimating the severity of the loss is common. Whether you have selected a trade specialist or a clean-up company. Getting someone to take the problem away from you and stop the damage is essential.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. They like to know about any losses and are well prepared to assist you. If you need help locating your insurance company, we can help too. Be certain your policy covers the cause of the loss and ask about your deductible.
- Document the cause of loss accurately and completely. Photos help tremendously, yet are commonly forgotten in the rush to fix things.
- Once you have found a company that you are comfortable with, have that company start fixing things and uncovering damage. They will often ask you to pay the deductible on your policy. It is OK to do so.
UNDERSTANDING HOW INSURANCE COMPANIES WORK
Insurance companies have separated losses into two divisions: Mitigation & Rebuild. They pay separately for each. They use a computer program to assign value to every task, material and the labor associated to accomplish the task. This way the insurance company will only reimburse for the assigned amount, and all contractors are on a level playing field. Insurance companies will also offer to have you fix your own home, however, be aware they reimburse at a lower rate. Insurance companies do not pay for the repair of the thing that caused the problem. IE: a broken water line or a faulty toilet.
Mitigation: This phase represents everything to do with eliminating the damage and “clean up.” This phase is often accomplished prior to the insurance company sending a representative out. You may choose your own Contractor. At Levco we will to do as little demolition as possible and as much as necessary.
Rebuild: This phase represents everything needed to get your home back into the shape it was prior to the loss. An agent will often respond prior to this phase but not always. This is where we believe a remodeling specialty company is best suited to assist you. You have the option to choose a Contractor other than the Mitigation Contractor.
There is no need for you to collect three bids. Once you’ve made your selection, notify your insurance adjustor.
Our price for the rebuilding your home and what is allowed to be included in the scope of work is set by the insurance adjustor and the company they represent. If during the work we identify additional problems that require fixing, we will communicate that to the adjustor for supplemental reimbursements.
Payments are usually made to the owner directly because the insurance company is essentially working for you. You may endorse them to Levco Builders LLC or deposit them and promptly write a new check to Levco Builders LLC. We often communicate directly with your insurance company. There may be several partial checks written over the course of the project including a depreciation check once the project is complete. Your prompt attention to forwarding these payments will prevent work stoppages.
There should be no additional money out of pocket other than your deductible and the cost to fix the cause of loss. Any upgrades you want done are charged to you directly. The goal is to get the home back to the pre-disaster state. Occasionally in older homes, we find code violations and things that need to be upgraded to meet current building codes. Policies often include a clause that provides for upgrades. Regardless, we must always rebuild to code. You will be responsible for the code upgrades.
THINGS TO CONSIDER DURING THE REBUILD PHASE
Often a homeowner finds an opportunity to improve their home at the same time. If you choose to upgrade your home, we will gladly do that work too. We utilize the latest version of Xactimate software to determine the cost for upgrades. On upgrades that exceed $2,000 we request a Remodeling Agreement be signed to clearly define our obligations to each other.
The bottom line is that although stressful and disorienting, the insurance company and Levco are working for you. We will be helpful and understanding, compassionate and thoughtful. Going out of our way to accommodate special needs is common. At Levco Builders, we like to leave the home better than we found it.