It is understandable that when a disaster strikes your home, you want answers and solutions right away! However, who will be able to give you what you want? Who has your best interests at heart when it comes to something serious like a house fire or flood? How will you know which company to choose to help your home get back to how it was? Can you trust your insurance company to help?
Often, your insurance company will be the first people you call, and rightfully so. You have paid them in advance to help you through a time like this. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should immediately jump on board with the restoration company that your insurance company has recommended. In the same vein, it also shouldn’t mean you immediately say “no”, assuming an ulterior motive. Some restoration companies work with different insurers and can be very reliable, however, there is still the need for caution. It is important to carefully weigh your options with any major restoration decision. Here are a few things to think about before saying “yes” or “no” to the restoration company your insurance provider suggests.
Weigh the Pros:
Less Work for You
By saying “yes” to the contractor you insurance gives you could mean less work for you. Why? When you hire your own contractor, you will likely need to do some research first. Calling to get prices, check availability, and asking several questions to see if they are a good fit, are just a few of the things you will need to do in order to hire another company. However, if you just say yes to the preferred company your insurance provider gives you, it takes some of the work out of it.
Availability and Quicker Response Time
If you suffered through something like a major storm, chances are, your neighbors are looking for the same help you need. However, when you use a preferred contractor, response times are lower and there is more availability than if you were to call around to other companies and ask to be helped.
Adjusters and Contractors Should Estimate Same Cost
Both parties usually use the same software to specify and estimate the cost of a claim. Depending on the type of policy you have, the cost really shouldn’t change a whole lot from one vendor to another. Again, this is an area to exercise extreme caution in. Most companies use the software system, Xactimate® for estimating construction costs. Why not ask about this?
Weigh the Cons:
You Don’t Know the Details
Do you understand how a company gets on a preferred contractor list with insurance companies? What does “preferred contractor” really mean? When told a restoration company being referred to you it doesn’t always mean they are the BEST at what they do. For example, the owners of the two companies may just be close friends and doing each other a favor. How is that a good reason for YOU to hire someone to fix your home? Being on a preferred list is beneficial for the insurance company and the ones doing the restoration. Sometimes, insurance companies ask restoration companies to withhold services, which avoids higher costs for them. Other insurers make it clear that the restoration company won’t provide any “extras” for the homeowner, only what is necessary. Can you see how you may become stuck in the middle of this messy situation?
Loyalty to Insurance Company is Above Loyalty to You
The sad reality of working with a preferred contractor is some companies will do what is needed in order to make the insurance company happy. In a sense, the contractor is getting paid to be loyal to the insurance company, not you. This could even mean cutting a few corners to save money where they can. The result? The insurance company is happy they didn’t have to pay as much, but you are left with a job that could have been done better. In fact, there have been instances where repairs are covered under a policy but were not performed. Others have experienced an absence of code upgrades in order to minimize cost.
Risk Being Viewed as “Another Number”
Often, if a local company comes and does work for you, they give you their upmost attention. However, with major corporations and those with ties to insurance companies as preferred contractors, it is a different story. Why is that? A big reason lies in motivation. Local companies are typically smaller and must work harder to find and keep customers. On the other hand, preferred contractors usually have a consistent flow of work and may not have the same motivation to make you happy. You may find that you get treated like just another number.
You May be Stuck If Problems Arise
A fact of life is, problems will arise and need to be handled properly. Whether you hired a local company or a preferred contractor, something may be overlooked, done wrong, or you could just have concerns that need brought up. Who you hired matters the most when problems come up. If you are locked into a relationship with a preferred contractor, you have fewer options for how to deal with problems. However, things are less messy when you do research and hire a contractor personally.
It can be a huge task to hire someone to come and fix your home after a devastating situation. It is true too, that every situation is different. Each person has special circumstances that make their decision different from another. Hopefully, carefully using the points in this article will help you balance the options. Consider both the good and bad consequences from several actions. Use that information to develop an opinion on what matters most to you and your family. Doing thorough research will definitely pay off when you are able to stand back and look at a job well done!
If you need further help in deciding how to choose the best restoration company, feel free to read our related blog articles. You may find some helpful information to make the best decision possible.