Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

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teelainen
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Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by teelainen » Wed May 01, 2019 11:07 pm

Has anyone here ever used a water damage restoration company to help file an insurance claim?

Is it better to just call my insurance company and file the claim myself?

Or is it better to have a water damage restoration company file the insurance claim for me? What things do I need to watch out for when using a water damage restoration company?

123
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by 123 » Thu May 02, 2019 12:59 am

How much is the total amount of the loss versus your deductible? In some cases people decide not to file some damage claims because the prospect of higher premiums or the risk of policy cancellation isn't worth it. They just cover the loss out-of-pocket.

Does your insurance company recommend the use any particular water damage restoration company? If your insurance company vouches for them I would feel more comfortable with them.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

SR II
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by SR II » Thu May 02, 2019 11:28 am

teelainen wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 11:07 pm
Has anyone here ever used a water damage restoration company to help file an insurance claim?

Is it better to just call my insurance company and file the claim myself?

Or is it better to have a water damage restoration company file the insurance claim for me? What things do I need to watch out for when using a water damage restoration company?
We had an in-wall pipe leak that was repaired by a plumber our home warranty company sent out. Being new to the area and not knowing who to call next, the plumber recommended a water restoration company he said was "the best" (brother or friend, who knows). We called them, but felt uneasy about the whole thing. Then they flaked on when they'd be out, "Oh, I thought you wanted us out at 2:30am, not 2:30pm". You must be kidding me, 2:30am?

So, I called the company with the best yelp reviews. They arrived immediately and did a bit more wall cutting and started the dry-out.

When I called the insurance company (USAA), they said they had a company to do the repair and would guarantee the results and it would be billed directly to them or we could go with someone else and it would be submitted by that company. We went with their recommendation.

Initial emergency wall cutting and dry-out was billed by the water damage restoration company. USAA paid them in full immediately. And then repairs were done by the company USAA recommended. I paid that company the deductible and USAA paid them the rest.

Worked out well in the end.

Beehave
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by Beehave » Thu May 02, 2019 11:47 am

I had a similar experience to SRII. I would suggest going through the insurance company and using a contractor they either provide or recommend. There is a lot of subjectivity and grey area and room for shenanigans in this type of repair. Your job is probably small potatoes to a restoration company. It is good to have the leverage of the insurance company behind you. A large company will have major fire and flood projects and reason to pull resources off your job. A small company will have strong motivation to inflate the bill. Any company relying on the insurance company for chunks of its business will be more responsive to you if you have the insurance company behind you.

My experience is VERY limited, so others may have a different experience and opinion.

Topic Author
teelainen
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by teelainen » Thu May 02, 2019 12:49 pm

123 wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 12:59 am
How much is the total amount of the loss versus your deductible? In some cases people decide not to file some damage claims because the prospect of higher premiums or the risk of policy cancellation isn't worth it. They just cover the loss out-of-pocket.

Does your insurance company recommend the use any particular water damage restoration company? If your insurance company vouches for them I would feel more comfortable with them.
The loss is definitely more than the deductible. I haven't asked the insurance company for a recommendation for a water damage restoration company. I am afraid their vendors might be "biased".

jjface
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by jjface » Thu May 02, 2019 12:54 pm

My advice is to make sure you pay with a credit card especially if they ask for some payment upfront.

G3VALD1G
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by G3VALD1G » Thu May 02, 2019 1:00 pm

I'm not sure about other states. But in NY it is illegal for a contractor or a restoration company to file and represent you in a claim. They will represent their open interest and will not care about you. Most of these firms are ruthless thieves, so be in the lookout. When you sign the authorization you basically give them an authorization to do whatever they want with your house, and they will bill you whatever they want. You will find out after..... If the insurance company ends up not paying it's all on you... Therefore before you let anyone do any work make sure to have them give you a capped quite in writing in case the insurance company will not for the bill.

Insurance companies are not here to help. They are here to profit. In most cases they will be ok but in many cases it could end in a nightmare....

A viable option is to hire a public adjuster. But you have to go with one that you could really trust, and that has a great record and reputation. Many of them are bad apples too. But if you find the right one you'll do very well on your loss.

stan1
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by stan1 » Thu May 02, 2019 1:07 pm

teelainen wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 11:07 pm
Has anyone here ever used a water damage restoration company to help file an insurance claim?

Is it better to just call my insurance company and file the claim myself?

Or is it better to have a water damage restoration company file the insurance claim for me? What things do I need to watch out for when using a water damage restoration company?
First decision: is the damage worth filing a claim? That's your decision but if its under $1000 I'd think twice about filing. Do this quickly though.

Then talk to your insurer. They will probably want you to use specific companies.

jbmitt
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by jbmitt » Thu May 02, 2019 1:09 pm

It’s ok to work with a contractor and your insurance. I’d caution against having the contractor make the claim or sign an assignment of benefits.

Oftentimes that just allows the contractor to get fat and happy, screws over the policyholder, and pisses of the insurance who have little ability to help you with your contractor.

Make the claim, have the adjuster come out and get an agreed cost of repair with your contractor. Most insurers have vendors that can help with the immediate water mitigation and then use whoever for the repairs.

If you choose to use your own mitigation company, get an agreed scope. I ran into many instances of mitigation companies using far too many fans, ridiculous after hours calls, unnecessary flood cuts on drywall, spending more to save old carpet and padding, then just tearing it out and letting us replace it.

BBQ Nut
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by BBQ Nut » Thu May 02, 2019 1:52 pm

Sorta similar situation we just dealt with.

But, we didn't use a restoration company to help *file* the claim.

That would seem 'backwards' to me.

We had water damage, we called our insurance co who sent an agent out to inspect the damage.

It was a multi-step process.

The first step was to mitigate/remediate the water damage - used the 'approved network' contractor of our insurance company.
Rip out wet drywall, rip up water logged wood floor, set up fans, determine where the leak was.

The next step was to repair the drywall and the floor.

The insurance company sent a contractor out to determine the cost to do all of the repairs which became the basis of the settlement amount.

But, this is then where we departed from using an 'approved network' contractor from the insurance company. We got independent quotes for the drywall repair and replacing our wood floor and found out the total was significantly lower than the 'approved' contractor (which was a general contractor and their overhead was the main explanation for the price differential).

We then inquired if we could change the workscope of the flooring to include replacing a carpet area with the same new floor material we chose.

The insurance company said we could do anything we wanted with the settlement amount, but if we went with our own contractor we'd have to pay for the repairs and flooring ourselves upfront, then at job completion prove that the work was done and we would receive a check for the settlement amount.

Going this way allowed us to do more of the flooring area we wanted for a lot less than the 'approved' contractor.

Ybsybs
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by Ybsybs » Thu May 02, 2019 2:00 pm

I've used Sevrpro to assist with flood insurance.

I filed the claim, but when the adjuster lowballed rates for some of the things and the owner of the local Servpro franchise offered to assist in arguing for a higher replacement rate, I happily accepted.

The result was I got approved for the higher rate and had to pay less out of pocket for my portion of the repairs.

dcdowden
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by dcdowden » Thu May 02, 2019 2:29 pm

We had a basement water flooding issue last year. Our first call was to State Farm and they recommended Servicemaster for both remediation and restoration. The Servicemaster people were first on the scene to assess the situation and start remediation. The State Farm claims adjuster knew the Servicemaster people, so they worked very well together exchanging measurements and other details related to the claim. Everything worked out very well. Of course we had to pay the deductible and for a couple upgrades beyond the damage covered in the claim, but the process worked smoothly. We have had a couple auto collision situations where we found the best first call was to State Farm to get their list of preferred repair shops as well.

Hockey10
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by Hockey10 » Thu May 02, 2019 6:05 pm

We had a flood inside our house a few years ago from a broken plumbing fixture. One call to USAA set everything in motion. The flood restoration company showed up about 2 hours after the call to USAA.

I would call your insurance company directly first.

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serbeer
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by serbeer » Thu May 02, 2019 6:19 pm

No experience with water damage, but it is usually roofing repair companies that deal with insurance in case of hail damage, they show it to company's appraiser, try to maximize payouts, etc. Their interests are aligned with yours, while relying on insurance company is not a good idea.

bgf
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by bgf » Thu May 02, 2019 6:38 pm

I had my upstairs AC unit overflow causing water damage to downstairs ceiling. i did not file a claim but used a company that gets most of its work from insurers. i probably paid them more than the insurance company would have but thats how it goes. i did not want a record of water damage, even if it didnt involve plumbing.
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Isabelle77
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu May 02, 2019 7:00 pm

So since I'm in the middle of this too, hopefully I can help. Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

We had a pipe leak under our laundry room since, likely for months, until finally we noticed the floor warping. I called the water damage company that our plumber recommended, they emailed me an estimate and I opened a claim online with USAA. Sent them the estimate and photos of the damage. They sent me the money minus our deductible.

I just did the same thing with the rebuild estimate and they approved the $3500 within an hour or so and I was notified that it was approved. Total cost is going to be around 7-8K.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu May 02, 2019 8:38 pm

Dealing with this right now. Insurance company agreed with the company I suggested. They started Tuesday, this is extensive. Adjuster came today. Tens of thousands in total.

File your own claim.
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boglerdude
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by boglerdude » Thu May 02, 2019 11:18 pm

How are these "restoration" companies different than a general contractor. You cut out the wet stuff and replace it.

Topic Author
teelainen
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by teelainen » Fri May 03, 2019 12:15 am

boglerdude wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 11:18 pm
How are these "restoration" companies different than a general contractor. You cut out the wet stuff and replace it.
Supposedly, they are experts in "drying" out your property and environmental remediation. They are supposed to be more qualified than a general contractor in those areas.

boglerdude
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by boglerdude » Fri May 03, 2019 1:22 am

Well, mold is often a scam/fearmongering as there is no proven level of "too much mold." Some might be allergic, as with pollen, pet dander, etc.

Everyone should have floor leak detectors viewtopic.php?t=237516
USAA has offered them to people for free. Edit: or not https://www.honeywellhome.com/usaa_pilot

Lastly, some insurers blacklist properties with water claims

Carl53
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by Carl53 » Fri May 03, 2019 7:41 am

My past experience with basement flooding, insurance and service pro was not one I want to go through again. Insurance limited claim to $5000. Service pro was recommended by insurance but could not start for a few days. They ended spending the whole amount and I had to throw out the carpet after they dried it. I’d been way ahead to get the estimate and tossing the carpet. At least I’d had some money to replace it.

Ybsybs
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by Ybsybs » Fri May 03, 2019 8:11 am

Carl53 wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 7:41 am
My past experience with basement flooding, insurance and service pro was not one I want to go through again. Insurance limited claim to $5000. Service pro was recommended by insurance but could not start for a few days. They ended spending the whole amount and I had to throw out the carpet after they dried it. I’d been way ahead to get the estimate and tossing the carpet. At least I’d had some money to replace it.
If by service pro you mean ServPro, that company is made up of independent franchises in each locality. The expertise level varies. Mine was excellent.

Nutmeg
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Re: Anyone ever used a water damage restoration company to help file insurance claim?

Post by Nutmeg » Fri May 03, 2019 10:43 am

teelainen wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 11:07 pm
Has anyone here ever used a water damage restoration company to help file an insurance claim?

Is it better to just call my insurance company and file the claim myself?

Or is it better to have a water damage restoration company file the insurance claim for me? What things do I need to watch out for when using a water damage restoration company?
I recommend dealing directly with your insurance company to file a claim. I have found that calling my agent before I filed a claim provided some very useful information. The agent wants your continued business and is an expert in the field. In contrast, you will probably never use a water restoration company again; that company just wants your money.

When using a water damage restoration company, watch for inflated damage estimates. I once received a vastly inflated estimate from a company that wanted to charge my insurance company to replace flooring that hadn’t even gotten wet, which would have been a waste of money for the insurance company and a major hassle for me. The restoration company’s argument was that you can never tell what path the water has taken because it is totally unpredictable, and therefore I needed to have everything replaced. Ha. That didn’t happen.

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