Insurance Claims

Insurance Claims Questions, Answers, & Resources

“If I file a claim, will my premiums go up?”

This is probably the most often asked question about insurance claims. We have researched this extensively and frankly, there doesn’t seem to be a 100% definitive answer.

The majority of opinions we’ve read and heard about strongly suggest that filing insurance claims resulting from an “Act of God” (hail, wind, tornado, lightning, etc.) will not cause that individual policy holder’s premiums to increase. However, these “Acts of God” usually are not isolated and often are wide-spread in an area.

If you live in an area where there were many claims due to storm events, it is likely everyone in that area will see a rate increase regardless of whether they file a claim (or not). A policyholder should also check to see if they have a no claims discount as that would likely be lost even by filing a claim due to damages from an “Act of God”.

This is why the best approach is to have a competent, qualified and reputable Contractor perform a thorough inspection first before making a decision about filing an insurance claim. Homeowners would be well advised to ignore shady Contractors who knock on their door, advising them to file an insurance claim because there has been storm activity in their area; or because their neighbors filed a claim and was approved.

home insurance claims

home insurance claims

 

Approved or Denied

Whether a claim is approved or denied, most insurance companies still consider it as a filed claim. Unless you have storm damage that requires immediate mitigation, inspect first, file later. Should you wish to have a trained Inspector look at your roof, read more about our inspections or request an inspection from us.

The link below is one of the better articles we’ve read regarding the effects of filing a claim and is from a neutral third party.

http://www.moneycrashers.com/filing-a-claim-on-your-homeowners-insurance-will-not-increase-your-premium/

Contractors General Liability and Workman’s Compensation

We couldn’t imagine going to any job, large or small, without General Liability or Workman’s Compensation Insurance. Homeowners would be astounded at how many Contractors are not properly insured, or have no insurance at all, especially roofing companies as the rates are so expensive. This should be the first question a Homeowner asks when considering potential contractors. This is so important, our website dedicates a specific page to it. Read more about workman’s compensation here.

workmans compensation information

workman’s compensation information

 

Below are multiple articles pertaining to Contractors General Liability and Workman’s Compensation.

  1. https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-are-risks-hiring-unlicensed-contractors.htm
  2. https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/homeowner-liability-for-personal-injury-of-contrac-158669.html

Insurance Deductibles

We often hear “Can you help out with my deductible?” or “Another company promised to pay my deductible, can you?” Our answer to this is very simple. No, we cannot. There are multiple reasons for our stance on this topic.

It is our opinion that paying a deductible is clear cut insurance fraud in most cases. That is a criminal offense. There is a contract between you and your insurance. They expect you to pay the deductible agreed upon in that policy. If you have a claim for $10,000 with a deductible of $1,000, in most cases you will receive an upfront ACV (Actual Cash Value) payment with a holdback for depreciation. That depreciation is “recoverable” once the repairs are complete and an invoice from the Contractor(s) is filed. If your upfront payment was $5,000, the recoverable depreciation is $4,000. However, if the policyholder sends in Invoices totaling $9,000, the recoverable amount paid would only be $3,000. In order to be paid the full recoverable depreciation amount, an invoice for $10,000 must be submitted. How can a contractor be paying the deductible and still turn in an invoice for the full amount? The answer is, they can’t. The invoice would have to falsified and therefore, would be an act of insurance fraud. Some Contractors will tell you there are loopholes, such as giving the Homeowner an advertising fee for allowing them to put a sign in their yard or some other such malarkey. That’s simply not true. If a policyholder wants to be certain, they should contact their insurance company and ask for a written waiver allowing them to recover their full deductible while the Contractor is paying the deductible.

There seems little doubt paying a deductible is technically insurance fraud. Whether or not the Contractor or policyholder will be discovered and prosecuted is another matter. So perhaps the consideration should be one of ethics. Let’s examine some facts. It is known fact that insurance companies expect the deductible to be paid. Otherwise, why even have a deductible? While it is assumed to be against the law in all states, many states have added laws making it explicitly unlawful for Contractors to advertise or offer to pay deductibles. One need only ask themselves if it is unethical only if they get caught.

This leads to what may be the two most important points the Homeowner should be considering.

  1. What is the contractor going to cut back or skimp on in order to absorb a $1,000 loss; and
  2. If the Contractor isn’t ethical in one area of their business practices, how can I expect them to be ethical with me?

It seems like the last place a Homeowner would want to take shortcuts with is the roof. A poorly installed roof can ultimately lead to premature failure and water leaks that cost thousands of dollars to repair.

That’s our take on it. Below are several articles from third parties that may provide further food for thought.

  1. http://blog.gaf.com/are-vanishing-deductibles-legal-in-the-construction-business/
  2. http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/tags/roof-damage/
  3. http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/tags/fcs-bulletin/
storm damage insurance claims

storm damage insurance claims

 

What Insurance Company Do You Recommend?

Authentic Restoration has worked with hundreds of different insurance companies for many different insurance claims. From our perspective, they are all the same. We have inspected thousands upon thousands of roofs and our experience has compiled an accurate assessment of what constitutes enough damage to justify a claim and when there isn’t. Our job is to provide our Customers with a thorough inspection, our fairest professional opinion and our best efforts to work with their insurance company to see their property is restored properly.

So our answer to the question? Do your own research. We’re a Contractor, not JD Powers. There are countless ratings and reviews available through a simple Google search. If you wish, do a specific search on your existing insurance provider. Google “Bad faith claims for (insert your insurance company name)”. Form your own opinion.

Here is a comprehensive list of all the insurance companies we work with:

AAA
Acuity
Alfa
Allstate
Ameriprise
American Commerce Insurance
American National
American Services Company
American Security
American Standard
Amica
ANPAC
Armed Forces Insurance
Arrowhead General Insurance
American Strategic Insurance Corp
ASI
Assurance
Auto Owners
Balboa
Bankers Insurance Group
California Casualty
Capital Preferred
Celina
Centauri
Central Mutual Insurance Company
Chubb Insurance
Cincinnati
Citizens Insurance Company
Cobb Allen & Hall
Cotton States
Country Financial
Donegal
EMC Insurance Companies
Empire Insurance Services
Encompass
Erie Insurance
Farm Bureau
Farmers
Foremost
Geico
Geo Vera
Ginnelle Mutual
Grain Dealers
Grange Insurance
Guide One
Hanover
Harleysville
Hartford
Hasting Mutual
Homesite
Howard Mann
Indiana Farm Bureau
Indiana Insurance
Indiana Farmers
Johnson & Johnson
Kemper
Liberty Mutual
Lloyds Insurance
Meritplan Insurance Company
Metlife
Nationwide
North Carolina Grange Mutual
Pekin Insurance
Progressive
Property Owners Insurance
QBE Americas, Inc.
QRE
Red Rock
Rowell Insurance Company
Safeco
Scottsdale
Secura Insurance
Selective Insurance
Sentry
Shelter
Standard Mutual
State Auto
State Farm
Tapco
Travelers
Universal Casualty
Universal Insurance Company of North America
UPC Insurance
USAA
Western Reserve
Westfield Insurance

Following are some links to articles pertaining to the Best and Worst Insurance Companies.

  1. http://www.insuranceclaimhelp.org/best-insurance-companies/
  2. http://law.freeadvice.com/insurance_law/insurers_bad_faith/1854/
  3. http://www.clark.com/best-and-worst-home-insurers

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Additional Resources

We consider ourselves experts in insurance restoration.

We constantly are researching materials related to our industry. Following are some links to different articles we have found interesting and think may be of interest to our Customer base. We will add more links to this list as we run across them.

    1. http://globemw-ai.com/whats-not-covered-12-common-exclusions-in-your-home-insurance-policy/
    2. http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/southcentral/2016/09/01/273253.htm
    3. http://www.cornerstonepac.net/what-in-the-hail-is-wrong-with-insurance-companies-.html
    4. http://ncadvocate.net/index.php/2016/06/03/donan-engineering-fraud-at-its-finest-editorial/
    5. http://www.lieffcabraser.com/2016/09/state-farm-racketeering-case-set-as-class-action/
    6. http://hailclaimlawyers.com/top-ten-insurance-scams-in-texas/
    7. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/12/06/434413.htm
    8. https://jwheelerlaw.com/2017/02/is-farmers-a-good-insurance-company/

 

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