If you've recently had storm damage you likely have many unanswered questions, concerns and worries. Timberland Exteriors of Colorado is committed to passing along our expertise regarding the insurance process.
the home insurance claim process
Step 1: Contact a contractor first
Call Timberland Exteriors of Colorado to come out and do a thorough damage inspection before calling your insurance company.
Step 2: Filing an insurance claim
After verifying and documenting all of the storm related damage your home has our trained professionals will be there to file your insurance claim with you over the phone to make sure it is done correctly.
This process usually only takes 5-10 minutes to complete. You will need the date and time the storm happened and your policy number. All insurance providers have a claims hotline. You do not need to contact your agent if you do not wish to do so. Once the claim is filed through your insurance providers’ claim department you will be issued a claim number. The claim number will be a reference point for your entire claim process.
Step 3: Adjustment
Once the claim has been filed, an adjuster will be assigned to your claim. The adjuster is required to contact you within 48 hours to set up the adjustment at a time that is convenient for you. Upon making your appointment, make sure to contact your Timberland Exteriors of Colorado project manager with the date and time of the adjustment so he can be there at your home with you.
The insurance adjuster is a representative of the insurance company and will naturally tend to have the insurance companies’ best interest in mind. It is important to have your own representation present during the adjustment process. Timberland Exteriors trained project manager represents you (the Homeowner) and always has your best interest in mind. Their insurance adjuster and our contractor will inspect the entire perimeter of your property as well as inspect the roof and any interior damage. This process usually takes on around an hour or so to complete.
Step 4: Paperwork
Known as the "scope of work" or the "scope of loss". Upon approval the adjuster will create a scope of work for Timberland Exteriors to use as the initial estimate to get the work started. This paperwork usually arrives within 7-10 days and is E mailed to you. It is very important to get a copy of the paperwork to our contractor in order to get the restoration process started as quickly as possible.
As with any insurance claim there will be extra items that were missed or left off by your insurance company. Don't worry, this is why you chose us and where we really shine for you. We will go through your claim line item by line item and work directly with your insurance company on your behalf to make sure that everything that was missed, every code upgrade, gets added before we even start the job for you. Timberland Exteriors of Colorado’s skilled insurance adjusters will maximize your claim and make sure you are adequately compensated for everything that was damaged.
Step 5: Payments and processing
Every storm related insurance claim is paid out in at least two payments. With Timberland Exteriors of Colorado, you can expect to receive between 3-4 checks from your insurance company by the time the work is done. We make sure not a penny is missed and these additional payments are paid out as supplements as the work progresses. Your insurance claims representative will contact you before every check is mailed to you explaining exactly what the check is for.
Your first check (known as the Actual Cash Value Payment) is issued to you based on the current values of your scope of work and will be issued to you less your homeowners deductible. The payments are based on a percentage of how old the roof is vs. its expected lifespan. The newer the roof the higher the ACV payment (this is known as depreciation and we will explain in more detail below) Your first check will also more than likely have your mortgage company on it as well. We will help you mail this check in to your mortgage company so that they can sign off on it and we can get the ball rolling on the work for you.
You will receive this check before the work is even started, usually within a month of the start of the claims process. As the process moves along you initially filed a claim with your insurance to come out because of storm damage. We are there for you so that when they do come out we make sure your claim gets approved, and then they cut you an initial check which is simply the starting point in the process and this is based on the initial “scope of loss” estimate.
Unfortunately, a lot of companies really aren’t aware of the insurance process or how in depth it can be, and they just go with this initial amount, leaving a lot of money on the table for you and your home restoration projects. We take the time to go back and forth with your insurance company providing them pictures and evidence as to why they need to compensate you for items that we found that they missed. This is usually a 2-3 week process where our skilled insurance adjusters go back and forth with your insurance company to negotiate everything missed on your behalf. It really is sad how insurance companies are allowed to advertise how you are “in good hands” or they will be “there for you when you need them most” which unfortunately is the exact opposite of what really happens. When a storm hits and there is a large area of damaged neighborhoods, the insurance companies number one goal is to minimize their losses, or to pay out as little as possible per claim. And unfortunately most homeowners are completely unaware of this or how ruthless the negotiating process can be and unless they choose a professional and allow them to negotiate on their behalf, they will always end up with something less than they are legally entitled to.
At Timberland Exteriors of Colorado, we know the laws, we know the games and tricks the insurance companies try and play, but their tactics never work with professionals who have been doing this as long as we have. Once this final back and forth process is complete, your insurance company will call you and explain to you why you are being mailed a second check for all of the items missed and you will also receive an updated “scope of loss” reflecting these missed items and changes.
If at any point during the restoration process of your home we find additional items that
need to be replaced (usually pertains to the underlayment and decking of your roof when we tear off your damaged roof) we will contact your insurance company directly, letting them know of the additional damage and provide them with pictures and documentation. They will then call you and explain to you why they are mailing you a third check, if necessary, and that this is due to be paid to your contractor because we paid for these extra costs out of our pocket to make sure your roof and home restoration jobs were completed on time. And this is also why we guarantee none of these additional costs will ever have to be paid by you out of your own pocket.
This is your final check known as the "depreciation payment" and is issued once the job is complete and a final invoice is sent to your insurance company from Timberland Exteriors of Colorado. This check is handed over to your contractor on the final day he comes out and all work has been completed to your satisfaction and we are done with everything and complete the final walk through process.
Explanation of Terms:
Actual Cash Value (ACV):
Your insurance company will determine an actual cash value to the damage to your property and pay this to you at the time of the damage.
This is the difference between the actual cash value of the damage to your property at the time of damage vs the replacement cost value (RVC) to bring your property back to its pre-damaged condition. This can be a confusing formula and every insurance company calculates it differently but it is based on a combination of age, condition, and obsolescence.
This is the amount you can expect to receive once the repairs have been completed. Timberland Exteriors of Colorado will send pictures to your insurance company and work with them to prove that all repairs have been completed. You ONLY get this money if the repairs are completed. If you choose not to do the work on any particular item, then you will only be paid the lesser amount which is the actual cash value.
Replacement Cost Value (RCV):
This is the amount of money it would take to replace your damaged home with the exact same or a similar home in today’s market.
Frequently Asked Questions:
“Should I get two or More Estimates from Contractors?”
This is a trick your insurance company will play on you and tell you to “always get multiple estimates” every time. Your insurance company has created their own price list and will only pay for the cost of repairs at the lesser of their fixed price list or the price you are charged by your contractor. So by getting separate bids and going with the cheapest one only serves to save your insurance company money and almost guarantees you will get the lesser quality of materials and repairs to your home. If you find someone to do the job for cheaper you do not get to keep the difference, your insurance company only pays out what the cheaper company invoices for, and this almost guarantees you as the homeowner gets screwed because you went with a cheaper company and cheaper product when you could have gone with the most expensive company and much better products at the same cost to you.
You are legally entitled to use whatever contractor you choose and are not required to gather estimates. Remember that all you are going to pay out of pocket is your deductible. That means for $1,000 (or whatever your deductible amount is) you can get a top-quality first rate product from a highly reputable contractor or you can go with the lowest bidder and take your chances.
Common misconception number 1:
The only reason you would need to talk to multiple contractors and get multiple bids is so that you find the contractor you feel most comfortable with who is going to do the best work for you. You are not getting multiple bids to have anything to do with price, cost, or trying to save you money. At Timberland Exteriors of Colorado, we want you to get as many bids as you need to feel comfortable that you made the right decision with the contractor you ended up going with. Instead of even going into price with you, a contractor who knows what he is doing will always write “pay per insurance scope” on the contract, this way we can get everything paid for by insurance at no cost to you.
Common misconception number 2:
“If I Find Someone to do the Work for less, can I Keep the Rest of the Insurance Money, or the difference I think I have saved?”
In Colorado, it is insurance fraud (both on your part and on the part of your contractor) for a contractor to pay, waive, or rebate any portion of the insurance deductible or for you to keep any amounts that the contractor has billed the insurance company. To clarify, you are legally obligated to pay your deductible, however, when you go with an experienced company like Timberland Exteriors of Colorado, we are going to get you more money for items damaged. So to clarify, any item on your “scope of loss” labelled “personal property” is to compensate you for the damage to your grille, statue, etc, and although this money usually isn’t enough to cover the cost to replace the item, this is your money to keep. Also, every line item insurance has paid you for is damage to a piece of property that is yours. And a lot of times this can be for cosmetic damage due to hail hits on your gutters, deck, etc. They will pay you for the percentage these items that are damaged, and then it’s up to you to decide if you want to get the items replaced or not.
A general rule of thumb is that if damage is due to “functionality”, you need to get the item replaced. But if damage is purely cosmetic, and say your insurance company didn’t pay you nearly enough money to cover the costs to sand down, paint, and completely redo your entire deck as an example, then you are given two choices. Because there wasn’t nearly enough damage, and they didn’t pay you nearly enough money to completely restore your deck, you can either A) keep the money they gave you and live with the cosmetic damage for the few hail hits to
your deck or B) take the money they gave you to the minor damage to your deck, and then pay for the rest of the costs to replace the deck yourself because you have decided you would prefer to have a brand new deck.
This is the only scenario where you would ever A) be able to legally keep insurance money and B) ever have to pay for anything out of pocket yourself. The only reason or time you will ever have to pay for anything out of pocket is if you chose to completely restore an item that wasn’t completely damaged by the storm, but at the same time your deck is old and you feel it’s the right time to just replace it and get a new one.
“Why are supplements paid out by my insurance company?”
As discussed above, we work directly with your insurance company on items damaged they may have missed, and if the insurance company agrees you should be paid for more items on your claim, then they will issue you a new scope of work with these increased amounts. These supplement amounts will become due and payable to your contractor once you have received them. Remember that supplements are additional money that the insurance company has agreed to pay your contractor for work performed. This is not money that you are entitled to keep, as it raises the same insurance fraud issues discussed as covering, waiving or rebating your deductible above.
At Timberland Exteriors of Colorado, we are insurance claim experts! Give us a call