We had significant hail storm last week where I live in SW Ohio. 2+
inch hail. Major damage to roof, gutter, windows, vinyl siding, and
I've talked to a couple of contractors so far, and they come with the
same pitch "Sign here, and this says we'll handle all repairs, for
whatever the insurance company pays. We'll work with the mean old
insurance company so you don't have to."
My spidey sense is tingling. Seems to me that they end up doing $25K
worth of work, and charge the insurance company $30K, and keep the
extra $5K as additional profits.
Talking to neighbors, the prices are already marked up significantly.
One lady had a roof replaced last year for $5k, not as an insurance
job, but simply time to replace an old roof. The same guy comes this
week and quotes $15K for the exact same job, because he knows it's
I'd rather gather some estimates, get money from the ins company, then
let me sub out the work to contractors after a competitive bidding
Any thoughts or advice on this topic? Are my concerns valid?
Happened to me. The insurance company brought its own adjuster, figured the
damage, and gave me a check!
I did the interior painting for water spots, and other smallish jobs, myself
and used the excess for other things: i.e. attic insulation and gutters.
Talk to your insurance company. Will they do the same thing?
Not to mention that if your roof isn't leaking right now, you'll save
some money to wait till after the vultures have left.
Roofing materials are at all time high right now because of all the
damages across the country.
So unless you *have* to do it now, I'd wait.
I've had similar experiences. My first call was to my insurance
and I asked him to reccommend someone. His reply was that he, as
an agent, couldn't do that. So, I asked him if he has had his own
repaired . He said yes. I asked him the name of the company that
his own roof and did they do a good job.......
That's the company I hired. If it's good enough for my insurance
it's good enough for me...
Andy in Eureka, Texas
Storm damage is one of the few times insurance companies do not punish you
for filing a claim. I suggest you start with an insurance claim. The
adjuster will tell you what they will pay. If you can not find a company at
that price then the amount may be adjusted up. Should the adjuster feel you
have no damage then it is time to get other opinions with documentation.
I do agree with gambling and waiting a bit to do the work if you have no
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
SOme of this, too, may depend on things like the age of the roof. We had
hail damage, but no leaks, etc. I called them anyway before anything
came about and got them to pay for a new roof I was considering getting
"How do you start a hailstorm?" (G)
"Even I realized that money was to politicians what the ecalyptus tree is to
koala bears: food, water, shelter and something to crap on."
I assume that's the old joke about two men on the beach, comparing their
fire and flood insurance payouts. Morty's flood check is way bigger than
his buddy's fire check so his buddy leans over and whispers: "Morty, how do
you start a flood?"
to koala bears: food, water,
Get that damn eucalyptus tree its "U" back for God's sake. (-"
"That's just the hand we were dealt. God doesn't like us. It doesn't mean
we're bad people." Lois, MITM
My dad used to do stuff like that after he retired. Some arson cases, but
mostly boiler explosions and multiple fatality car crashes. In the last few
years there's been a tremendous shift in arson investigation science after
one man was executed for allegedly killing his family in an arson.
Apparently the beliefs about accelerants were not well-founded and what
arson investigators used to think were tell-tale signs of arson were really
what happens when all the of the plastic found in modern homes turns in
superhot gases that condense as vapors hit at the coolest point in the room
(the floor). Those condensates, often oily liquids high in petroleum-based
compounds, appeared to investigators as irrefutable proof of arson.
It turned out that a lot of arson investigatory techniques had never been
proven scientifically. When places like the U of M's firefighting center
ran tests using modern housing materials they realized that what had
previously been considered absolute proof of arson was really a byproduct of
modern day plastic-based home furnishings vaporizing and recondensing.
Frontline did an hour long special about the guy who was executed over what
investigators now believe was faulty electrical equipment but at first
believed was accelerant-induced arson.
Plenty of innocent people have been jailed by pseudo or junk science.
The crime channel has shown some cases.
Saw 2 arson cases where people would have got life in prison without
a good arson man debunking the local guy's theory.
And in both those cases the locals stuck to their guns, despite there
being no motive in either case.
Then there was the guy with crooked teeth who spent about 20 years
in prison. A "forensic dentist" matched his teeth with a bite mark,
The real perp finally confessed and I think DNA had progressed to the
point where his confession was corroborated.
An overzealous prosecutor can convict a ham sandwich.
If it weren't for cases like this, the death penalty wouldn't meet the
resistance it does.
There's plenty of cases with irrefutable evidence of guilt.
That's what the death penalty should be used for.
Local guys always stick to their guns. Cases are often won or lost by
expert witnesses and whether their testimony is credible. It doesn't have
to be truthful or accurate, but it must be believable. That, unfortunately
leads to some very theatrical experts on occasion. Prosecutors say they are
having a harder time convicting people without DNA or other technical
evidence. Part of that problem is the absolute unreliability of eyewitness
testimony. Not only is memory under stress unreliable, years of coerced
testimony from other felons just to close cases has made jurors quite
suspicious of eyewitnesses these days. That and endless reruns of L&O and
Matlock. I believe that our modern jury pools come from avid watchers of
daytime cable TV.
Forensic odontology is in what may be its perptual infancy. The problem
there is that a fresh bitemark of medium severity (not tearing the skin)
from a person with some sort of distinctive pattern can be conclusively
matched. Even the case where the murderer left his dental imprint in cheese
in the victim's fridge is pretty easy to prove to the satisfaction of a
jury. The problems come with decayed samples, severe tearing of the tissue,
an unremarkable mouth or badly-taken photographs or videos of the wound
marks. Forensic photography is an incredible art not well-practiced in
many, many jurisdictions.
I've heard the phrase more hopefully expressed as a "A good prosecutor could
*indict* a ham sandwhich." I've taken that to mean that it's easy to throw
official suspicion on anyone at anytime. That means it's typically very
easy to institute grand jury proceedings against someone. From what I hear
prosecutors say, it's actually getting harder to convict because of what the
call the CSI effect. People expect high quality science-based evidence even
when there is none. The unfortunate proof that a prosecutor can get to the
plate, but not hit the required homer is O.J. the Wife Murdering Football
"Hero." Fortunately, James Cain was right when he wrote "The Postman Always
Rings Twice." Just took a while for O.J. to get the letter.
First, it's not cost effective. Second, in no time we'll be chopping them
up for body parts when the richest of the Boomers decide they want to live
forever. Most murderers are young and stupid but their hearts beat just
fine. At least the ones without AIDS or HepABC through wherever the
Hepatitis virus stops mutating. But there are tests for that.
I'm with you. Got nice hi-res photos of some buttwipe shooting a gas
station attendant? Fry him. Bring me only eyewitness testimony from some
other criminal getting a "deal" to testify? No so fast.
In one arson case the local sheriff was just a prick, full of pride,
and wouldn't back down from his bogus theory.
Without the outside expert (FBI I think) he would have railroaded the
woman into prison. Maybe she spurned him in high school.
Another local police "fingerprint expert" was basically spat upon by a
slew of real fingerprint guy including the FBI.
Wasn't even close, but he stuck to his guns.
I suspect these are rare cases the TV show uses.
Sure hope so.
I stretched the ham sandwich to fit a couple cases I've seen.
I don't really buy the cost argument, and if it's true it's because
the death penalty if too often misused.
And that's what I mean about misapplication leading to cost.
And that's a good result because it keeps the innocent from being
executed by the state.
If the death penalty was only applied when evidence is irrefutable,
there wouldn't be nearly as much resistance to it.
That Peterson guy who probably killed his pregnant wife a few years
back got the death penalty. Wrong.
Evidence wasn't irrefutable and conclusive.
Just good enough to put him away.
All you need is one innocent killed by the state to get the anti's up
in arms. And they're right.
Caught on camera is conclusive - only if it's conclusive - ie, high
enough res, corroborated by other evidence and not discounted by other
conclusive evidence. After all, there are lookalikes.
I sat on a knifing murder jury once and had no problem believing the
eyewitnesses. They knew the perp well. One was the mother of his
baby. There's eyewitnesses and there's eyewitnesses.
Some "eyewitness" testimony is garbage, some rock solid.
Unless the eyewitness is familiar with the accused, it's garbage to
I passed the "recognition" part of a security position test, but I've
mistaken strangers for acquaintances more than once.
Probably everybody has.
As an aside, after we convicted this guy of 2nd degree murder - the
lesser charge offered us - I talked with one of his defense team when
he questioned me on the elevator leaving the court.
I told him we all thought the guy was temporarily insane due to issues
with the baby, and would have cut him more slack than the 2nd degree
conviction, which might have him in the can for 20 years.
Maybe manslaughter. I don't know what sentence he got.
I'm not much on the law and my memory is fading, but the defense guy
indicated they could have gone for manslaughter or temporary insanity
but chose not too because they thought it wouldn't fly.
Something like that.
Anyway, his last words to me were, "Oh well, win some, lose some."
I still remember that well. Public defenders.
Never understood that either. DNA can get you out of jail but not out
of child support? Especially since for child support you only need to
get to the civil level of a preponderance of the evidence.
How was that supposed to work? The tech was supposed to just happen
to hit the bag with the blood?
Give it 5 year max and this problem will go away. Identical twins are
truly identical only at conception. After that their cells start
dividing as individuals and transcription errors, random mutations,
etc., start showing up. The recent findings that very small mutations
can have a large impact on the incidence of disease and how well people
respond to medication (especially among the cancers) has lead to a push
on the medical side for more and more sensitive DNA testing. The
criminal side will benefit. It will be VERY expensive, but then it will
only need to be used in a very small population (identical twins where
the other can't be placed elsewhere and/or there is no other
evidence--for example fingerprints are not identical for identical twins)
The stories of this are legion. I was talking to the SAC of the
ATF arson unit in the early 80s. He said he was at a conference of
veteran federal agents, a guy burst into the conference, made a quick
scene and then took off. WHen asked to give a description, even the
seasoned Feds were all over the place. There were a couple of Academies
who at one time did the same thing to their rookies to reinforce the
fact that your eye witness testimony is flaky at best.
The one time I had to interrogate a cop, my partner tried that and
both me and cop-perp almost passed out from laughing so hard. You think
it is just happenstance that when arrested, the FIRST things cops ask
for is an attorney???
People thought cybersex was a safe alternative,
until patients started presenting with sexually
From what I recall the judges in these cases fall back on "societal good"
and "welfare of the child" to justify sticking guys who were not really the
father with continuing child support payments. I suppose this comes under
the heading of "never admit to anything and always get a lawyer to represent
you if you've accused of something that's not even criminal, like paternity,
because the consequences can be enormous." The key to these (outrageous)
cases, IIRC, is that the poor dupes signed the birth certificate as the
father for some strange reason. Apparently they were unaware of the
consequences of making such a declaration without the certainty of a DNA
As a guy who was once introduced to a woman who was pregnant (unknown to me)
I can only imagine how desperate some women get when they discover they are
pregnant and know that the real dad is never going to marry them. Baby
Daddy turned out to be a GD Catholic PRIEST!!! This was back in the 70's
when DNA didn't even exist. She was looking for a guy to sleep with ASAP so
she could snag someone for child support. Those kinds of tricks are much
harder to pull off with modern DNA.
I believe he had inserted the bag in the crook of his elbow and then put a
cast on his other arm to force them to try the arm with the sewn-in blood
bag. It was on Court TV (back when it was Court TV) and my ex-boss and I
both saw it and discussed it at out monthly lunch. It was a landmark event
for both of us because it showed how far some people will go. What has
always worried me about the criminal justice system is that when it fixates
on a suspect, right or wrong, every other possible suspect just drops away.
Worse, still, if a really bright criminal has the right opportunities, he
can frame someone else pretty easily. Once cops get a series of
circumstances that fit they stop looking very hard.
Still, if the case comes down to eyewitness ID and there's not a lot of
forensic evidence, it's very difficult to convict because of the test of
criminal guilt requiring that it be "beyond reasonable doubt." A good
defense attorney can almost always instill that doubt if the jury is
presented with identical twins who both deny doing the crime. One of my
very earliest "cases" when I was a police reporter happened in small town in
the DC suburbs that had the typical five man police department. These guys
(back then such cops had very little formal LENF training) traipsed through
the murder scene obliterating evidence with every step. It was fortunate
that the killed confessed because there was hardly an iota of evidence that
wasn't contaminated. Hell, they even let ME into the crime scene to take
photographs. I'm told things are better these days.
My J-prof, as part of the final exam, had arranged for a grad student to
enter the classroom, shout out "Sic Temper Tyrannous!" (what JW Booth
shouted when he shot Lincoln) and then shoot him three times with a cap
pistol. Then we all had to write a news story based on what we had just
seen. The resulting articles were remarkably, almost insanely different,
especially as to type of gun, number of shots fired and most of all,
regarding what the shooter said. My prof said there's almost always ONE
person who gets it all right but most people, including yours truly, get
some detail wrong (I heard four shots and didn't get the description of the
shooter quite right). Some would-be reporters got EVERYTHING wrong. A
valuable lesson in the value (or lack thereof) of eyewitness testimony. I
imagine if a professor in Texas tried a similar stunt, at least three
gun-toting students would have shot the fake perp to death. (-:
They know how the game is played because they're the ones usually playing it
on someone else. They also know that every seemingly innocent thing a
suspect says begins to lock him into a particular chain of events (which
lawyers hate because it often limits their ability to devise competing
theories of the crime. Reminds me to check on the big NYC ticket fixing
<<Any police officer swept up in the scandal - and the number is thought to
be as high as 300 - is susceptible to being asked about the topic when
showing up as a witness in unrelated cases. And if jurors cease to believe
the words of police officers because they monkeyed with tickets, something
Mr. Perlmutter clearly hopes is occurring, then it is in these courtrooms
that the most corrosive impact of the scandal may be felt.>>
The PBA is vigorously defending the practice of fixing tickets for
In LA recently there was a big flap over a similar case. Apparently some
officials had "gold cards" which allowed them to fast-track parking ticket
<<The Gold Card Desk, as it was known, was set up about 15 years ago and
provided the mayor and other elected officials a way to fast-track
constituent appeals of parking citations. Some had fines reduced or
eliminated. Greuel's audit found that 1,000 tickets had been dismissed -
some without justification - through the service over a single two-year
period. She raised the specter that some people may have received special
treatment, partly because there seemed to be little documentation regarding
Yes, I believe you are correct. I guess you saw the same program. It's
really incredible how far people will go to cover their tracks. That case
moved the goal posts for me in terms of "who would even believe it?"
Read all you said, but I'll be brief.
The heating system case is a nice touch, fits right in here.
"Klixon thermal overload."
Might get the electrics guys tickled.
Never confess to something you didn't do.
Saw one case where the cops wore down a couple kids with lengthy
interrogation until they confessed to a murder.
Don't remember the details, but one was convicted to life and the
other a bit less.
Even after the actual perp was caught and convicted, they didn't want
to let the kids out - because they confessed!
My reasoning is if you remove any question of innocence before
applying the death penalty, those defenses will dwindle away.
The most compelling argument the anti's have to most folks isn't
about the morality of taking a killers life, but the possibility,
however remote, that the "killer" is innocent.
I think most folks believe in a version of "eye for eye."
Might just be how I see it.
I never grieve for cold-blooded killers, but I want absolutely no
doubt about their guilt.
I don't have a question about his guilt. But it's a situation where
there's a one in 100,000 chance that he didn't do it.
For the death penalty all it takes is one wrongful conviction to make
Has to be irrefutable forever.
There's plenty of those.
Rather see those killers get executed and the others do life than
all of them doing life.
Where you draw the line isn't so easy.
There was an Oklahoma DNA specialist who fixed results.
Since I haven't given it much thought and probably never will, for now
I'll just say irrefutable is similar to the Ft. Hood killer, John
Wayne Gacy, et al. Plenty of lesser known cases would meet the
criteria, but it has to be good enough that the anti's can't claim
Might cut number of death penalties imposed in half, don't know.
If the criteria isn't met, the death penalty if off the table as a
matter of law, otherwise the jury or judge decide.
Of course a hundred lawyers will say I'm wrong in a hundred ways.
It's much worse to NOT recognize somebody who knows you.
I hate that.
We haven't talked about lie detectors or the alibi.
Get several estimates and then go to your insurance company. If the
estimates are higher than the insurance company's adjuster and they
balk --say OK--recommend someone reliable who will do it at your price.
When they can't--- have the contractor that you select contact the adjuster
to discuss the costs. Usually, in the end, Insurance company will give the
contractor his price or pretty close to it--providing its not a blown up out
of proportion estimate. That's what I went through ($30,000 involved).
Another path is to get a public adjuster --Insurance companies typically
hate these guys. Their fee is about 10% of the estimate but will usually
save you more than that. In my case, he found more things to get squared
away than the estimating contractor--it was after he called the adjuster
that she settled almost right away with the contractor's price.
When I suffered hail damage to my sun room skylights(all cracked) first
I called my house insurer and their adjuster came out to assess the
damage. I did not like his repair estimate, so I called in 3rd party
independent adjuster whose estimate was quite a bit higher than my own.
After negotiating back and forth I was issued a check more than original
amont offered. I called my long time friendly contractor who replaced
the whole roof of the sun room instead just repairing the sky light.
When job is all done to my satisfaction, I had some money left over.
I thought that was a good outcome.
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