Pine Tree Incident

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Orion443
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Pine Tree Incident

Post by Orion443 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:54 am

We recently had a major homeowner event. We are grateful that no one was hurt. A large, 50 foot pine tree was uprooted in a recent storm and several branches fell through the roof into the living room. The roof has structural damage. Luckily the tree was removed and the roof was temporarily tarped the next day. Of course, we reported this to our insurance company and they arranged for the tree removal and roof tarping.

The living room floor and ceiling were damaged with some minor damage to the walls. Outside we have damage to the gutter and siding. And there may be more underlying damage.

The restoration company wants to make an exclusive bid on all of the repair work, but will only do so if we don’t get other estimates. We have a structural engineer and roofing company that we want to get an estimate from for the roof repair.

Has anyone faced a similar situation? Is it worth it for us to manage individual contractors to do all the work? I feel that the restoration company is doing a little gaming of the system with their non-competitive bid, pushing the estimate out to as much as insurance will allow. So we will all pay more for insurance in this type of situation, with the restoration company gaming the system.

I welcome the advice of fellow bogleheads.

Silk McCue
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Silk McCue » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:00 am

I would speak to your insurance company and get their best advice on how to proceed. It certainly can’t hurt.

I for one don’t like the pressure tactic.

Cheers

HomeStretch
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by HomeStretch » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:02 am

+1.

Glad no one was injured. No issue with restoration company quoting whole job, but the stipulation you obtain no other estimates would be unacceptable to me.

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djpeteski
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by djpeteski » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:18 am

Orion443 wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:54 am
The restoration company wants to make an exclusive bid on all of the repair work, but will only do so if we don’t get other estimates. We have a structural engineer and roofing company that we want to get an estimate from for the roof repair.
My experience with this is that this is not an true restoration company. Its a couple of guys that know the ins and outs of the insurance industry and will make a bid, and contract out the labor. They prey on people that are a bit scared and have a desire to quickly fix their home.

In order to increase their profitability they will squeeze three ends. First they will hire cheap labor to fix your home, you may not get the best repairs. Second they will squeeze the insurance company for every dime. Third they will squeeze you, they may tell you that the insurance company did not provide enough dollars and you have pony up money to have the fixes you desire.

It varies by state but these agreements seem unenforceable in Florida. I foolishly signed something similar, but wised up and told them to go away. After some threatening, nothing became of it. In my case, they wanted 15k to repair my roof, but the insurance company only provided about 14k total. That total was for other repairs beyond the roof as well. They wanted me to pony up 1k and pay for the other repairs out of pocket. They also wanted a commission on the 14k despite me doing the majority of the work with the insurance company.

In the end, I found a high quality roofer that did my roof for less than 11k.

I would welcome a bid, but without the exclusivity. I would agree to keep their bid "sealed" from others that would also bid.

barnaclebob
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:20 am

Tell them they can exclusively kiss your... :shock:

lhl12
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by lhl12 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:24 am

I would never agree to something like this. I would want to get at least three competing bids, with guidance from the insurance company. If this contractor won't participate on that basis, screw them -- they are just trying to take advantage of you.

You might also want to consider the services of an independent insurance adjuster, who can help ensure you are getting the best possible deal from your insurance company. Insurance contracts are complicated and often leave some room for interpretation. The insurance company knows their contracts much better than you do and you are therefore at a disadvantage when negotiating with them. An independent insurance adjuster can help level the playing field of that negotiation.

barnaclebob
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:27 am

lhl12 wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:24 am
I would never agree to something like this. I would want to get at least three competing bids, with guidance from the insurance company. If this contractor won't participate on that basis, screw them -- they are just trying to take advantage of you.

You might also want to consider the services of an independent insurance adjuster, who can help ensure you are getting the best possible deal from your insurance company. Insurance contracts are complicated and often leave some room for interpretation. The insurance company knows their contracts much better than you do and you are therefore at a disadvantage when negotiating with them. An independent insurance adjuster can help level the playing field of that negotiation.
I thought independent/private adjusters were more to put value on your personal items vs returning the structure to its original state. OP doesn't really care what it costs to get the house fixed, as long as it gets done well. I'm assuming the losses to his personal possessions is minimal since that wasn't mentioned.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:32 am

HomeStretch wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:02 am
+1.

Glad no one was injured. No issue with restoration company quoting whole job, but the stipulation you obtain no other estimates would be unacceptable to me.
+2

Good luck, OP. What a pain to have to deal with.

aristotelian
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by aristotelian » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:35 am

How can they stop you from getting other bids? What is the situation with insurance coverage? I suppose if insurance will cover it and the company is reputable, you might as well do what's easiest, but if I was paying out of pocket I would be suspicious.

Glad nobody is hurt and the house is livable. Lots of people were not so lucky in these last few weeks.

Luckywon
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Luckywon » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:35 am

Orion443 wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:54 am

The restoration company wants to make an exclusive bid on all of the repair work, but will only do so if we don’t get other estimates.
You are asking whether it might be a good idea to do business with a company that wants to hold you hostage? :confused
Last edited by Luckywon on Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

rascott
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by rascott » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:38 am

Orion443 wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:54 am
We recently had a major homeowner event. We are grateful that no one was hurt. A large, 50 foot pine tree was uprooted in a recent storm and several branches fell through the roof into the living room. The roof has structural damage. Luckily the tree was removed and the roof was temporarily tarped the next day. Of course, we reported this to our insurance company and they arranged for the tree removal and roof tarping.

The living room floor and ceiling were damaged with some minor damage to the walls. Outside we have damage to the gutter and siding. And there may be more underlying damage.

The restoration company wants to make an exclusive bid on all of the repair work, but will only do so if we don’t get other estimates. We have a structural engineer and roofing company that we want to get an estimate from for the roof repair.

Has anyone faced a similar situation? Is it worth it for us to manage individual contractors to do all the work? I feel that the restoration company is doing a little gaming of the system with their non-competitive bid, pushing the estimate out to as much as insurance will allow. So we will all pay more for insurance in this type of situation, with the restoration company gaming the system.

I welcome the advice of fellow bogleheads.

I'd run...not walk ....from any contractor trying to pull that nonsense. What else shady they going to do?

As far as managing it....no reason you can't hire a reputable GC to oversee the whole thing.

miamivice
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by miamivice » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:41 am

If insurance pays for their cost, and if they do a good job, there isn't anything wrong with working with them.

I don't see an advantage for getting 3 bids when insurance will be the one paying.

You do want to make sure you have confidence in the company doing the work.

PVW
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by PVW » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:42 am

Orion443 wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:54 am
The restoration company wants to make an exclusive bid on all of the repair work, but will only do so if we don’t get other estimates. We have a structural engineer and roofing company that we want to get an estimate from for the roof repair.

I welcome the advice of fellow bogleheads.
You are giving something up. What are you getting in return?

I would ask for an estimate from the restoration company without signing any contract.Then get any other estimates that you want. If the restoration company is legit, they'll probably still take the work if you eventually offer it to them.

mhalley
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by mhalley » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:44 am

I don’t like the false pressure. Does your insurance co have a list of preferrred contractors?

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lthenderson
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by lthenderson » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:49 am

In situations like this, my insurance company has always dictated the terms. Most of the time, they just have me get a single quote from someone on their preferred list and I write them a check for my deductible. The insurance company pays the rest. Easy.

scienceguy
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by scienceguy » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:59 am

We literally had the exact same thing happen to us at our home in the DC area 10 years ago (except for the no other quotes demand). The insurance company (Chubb) arranged for a disaster company to immediately come in, remove the tree, get rid of water, etc. They did it fast and well. We were so relieved and happy that when the disaster company said they also have an arm that does the repairs and the insurance company said it was a preferred vendor, we immediately signed up. Everything after that was a disaster. They required many many calls to get started, which meant to find their lowest cost subs possible. They farmed everything out and were generally unreachable and terrible to work with. It finally got done, but it was a bummer.
Lesson - these disaster companies come in and make you feel better, then their other teams swoop in and exploit the situation to get you to hire them without enough due diligence. They know the insurance companies pay them top dollar and they pocket the difference. They know you are in an emotional, tough spot and are primed to take advantage.

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dm200
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by dm200 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:02 pm

Let the insurance company handle it. Just remain informed all along the way.

Luckywon
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Luckywon » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:03 pm

#unscrupulous

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Watty
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Watty » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:11 pm

Orion443 wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:54 am
We have a structural engineer and roofing company that we want to get an estimate from for the roof repair.

Has anyone faced a similar situation?
I once had a house with minor flood damage. It was maybe $20K in damage in today's dollars.

The first thing I did was have a structural engineer inspect the house and give a written report to write up a "prescription"(My words, not his.) on how to rehabilitate the house.

This work out very well for us since it;

1) It confirmed that there was not major damage.

2) It helped with dealing with the insurance adjuster since there was no question about what work needed to be done.

3) When we eventually sold the house this was critical since we had to disclose the flood damage. Many potential buyers would not even consider the house which is understandable but with the engineers report we were able to show potential buyers;
a) The true extent of the damage.
b) We were good about getting it fixed right.
c) We had all the receipts from the repairs to prove that the work had been done.

Be sure to keep a well organized folder of information to show future potential buyers. Without that we would have had a much harder time selling our house.

learningLady
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by learningLady » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:18 pm

They are gaming the insurance system. Happened with us. We had roof leak and one of my colleagues recommended this company in an emergency. And they send us a bill of $900 just for putting tarp as roof was leaking. They gave us pictures of our attic and roof to submit to insurance company.

We fought with them as this was not ethical and paid $300 to them and called another roofer who only charged us $150 to put some nails in the roof. There was no damage in the attic.

We did not feel it was ethical and went with somebody else.

ohai
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by ohai » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:21 pm

"The restoration company wants to make an exclusive bid on all of the repair work, but will only do so if we don’t get other estimates."

How is this in any way reasonable or even logical?

Topic Author
Orion443
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Orion443 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:00 pm

Thank you all for your advice and guidance. And thanks to those who shared their past experiences with this type of thing.

This will help us navigate the repair better.

Hanksmoney
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Hanksmoney » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:35 pm

I am familiar with a big water damage insurance claim. First off, call you insurance company to file a claim and have the adjuster make their estimate. Secondly, get that company out of there. If they are responsible for water remediation or some type of temporary patching, them have them complete it and send them the F out. You are the homeowner and it's your insurance policy. Do not let them get in the middle of that. These "complete package" companies don't want you to see the insurance check, they want the check directly. This check includes all of the cost estimated from your insurance claim-adjuster plus ~20% general overhead and profit. They will skimp on everything to ensure maximum profit above that.

To the suggestion of "letting your insurance company handle it". The insurance company is not your friend here either. They are going to try to give you the least amount of money and have a list of contractors who "play ball" with them. Do not take their advice on which builder to use. You have the right to reasonable and comparable construction and to hire your own people. You can get estimates and if they are above what the insurance company estimated, them have them pre-approve the adjustment. Insurance will cut a check for half the money - and you can get the rest when the work is done. They owe you actual, not just what they estimated. If you handle the coordination of the repair, Yes, you end up with the General overhead and profit piece of the check and you get reliable, quality work.

I had to hire a lawyer when 1)The remediation company (recommended by the insurance co) pulled out b/c I didn't give them the construction job, resulting in mold. 2)The insurance company refused to pay for the mold b/c they never cover mold. After about $1000 in legal fees - I got about $30k extra out of the insurance company to pay for an additional remediation that was required and the mold fix. I got everything I wanted, but had to fight tooth and nail.

jharkin
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by jharkin » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:19 pm

I had exactly the same thing happen ~ 5 years ago. 80foot maple came down in and ice storm, landed on the roof of my detached garage, punched a big hole in the roof, scratched up the siding and damaged the car inside as well.

Insurance company provided referral to "restoration company" but they seemed shady so I didn't use them. I got my own bids from a tree service, a couple different roofers, general contractor and auto body shop.

Ended up contracting the tree service to remove the tree,
roofing company to replace the roof and do structural repair (ended up being minor - sister one beam, replace a few rafters and some decking),
a house painter to repair and repaint the siding,
and an auto body shop to repair the car.

This was split across 2 claims (home and auto comprehensive) I use one insurance co. for everything so they linked the claims together as a single loss event (or something to that effect).

terran
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by terran » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:23 pm

I haven't read all the replies, so I might be repeating what others have said, but I would be VERY distrustful of any service provider who would only give a quote if you promise not to get quotes from anyone else. That seems like a sure sign they're trying to take advantage of you.

HomeStretch
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by HomeStretch » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:46 pm

I went through 2 homeowner claims with our home insurer for $30k each. In each case, my final loss reimbursement was much higher than the adjustor’s original estimate due to my close oversight of the process.

Know your policy coverage, review appraiser’s loss report closely, discuss quotes in detail with each repair contractor, make sure you inspect all work done, and keep excellent records including a log of every call, email, name, phone # and summary of what was discussed.

Make sure you have a copy of your homeowners policy in force, not just the endorsements that are sent with each renewal that amend the original contract. If you don’t have it, have the insurance company mail you a copy. Read it and understand what your policy covers. Our adjuster insisted we weren’t covered for some of the items I listed as damaged or as a loss. I was able to prove we were by pulling out our policy.

tmcc
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by tmcc » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:46 pm

No!!!!!!

Get an independent adjuster for the claim and see what their damage assessment and fees would be.

Hire and vet contractors on your own. Never put a contractor on the reins of your money.

Beehave
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Beehave » Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:15 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:49 am
In situations like this, my insurance company has always dictated the terms. Most of the time, they just have me get a single quote from someone on their preferred list and I write them a check for my deductible. The insurance company pays the rest. Easy.
+1 I agree about working through the insurance company. In my experience the contractor values its relationship with your insurance company. They want the big jobs (entire home damaged by fire or flood) and won't risk messing too much with you (cutting corners etc.) to save a few bucks. The contractual language for the repair can appear objective and definite about how things will be done but be laden with actual subjectivity allowing the contractor, in their opinion, to do something "equivalent." That's the big reason, in my opinion, to work with a contractor provided or recommended by the insurance company. If they try to cut too many corners you can object and they'll be likely to listen.

Of course, the laws may vary by state, and you may find a fabulous contractor on your own. So whatever you do be careful. As others above have recommended, I'd suggest staying way far away from any high pressure solo bid requirement from a contractor not provided by my insurance carrier.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by BolderBoy » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:49 pm

Orion443 wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:54 am
The restoration company wants to make an exclusive bid on all of the repair work, but will only do so if we don’t get other estimates.
This is akin to a "limited time offer". I never respond to those and neither should you.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

FourWallsofFIRE
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by FourWallsofFIRE » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:59 pm

The number one rule when having a large project done is this: Get multiple estimates.

If a company requested that I don't take other estimates, I'd likely eliminate that company from contention for my business. That may be a little harsh, but if they stand by their work and pricing, other estimates shouldn't be a concern.

Good luck!
Matt | | | -It doesn't matter how much money you make, it matters how much you save.

Hockey10
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Hockey10 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:17 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:49 am
In situations like this, my insurance company has always dictated the terms. Most of the time, they just have me get a single quote from someone on their preferred list and I write them a check for my deductible. The insurance company pays the rest. Easy.
This is exactly what I experienced when we had a leak inside the house from a plumbing fixture. USAA gave me the name of their recommended contractor and I simply paid the deductible.

Andymoler58
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Re: Pine Tree Incident

Post by Andymoler58 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:47 pm

You need to hire a public adjuster ASAP

Those are fly by night carpenters that do shoddy work that your taking to.

You need someone to represent your interests because the insurance company won’t

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