About a month and half ago we had ALOT of rain here in Evansville
Indiana and a retaining wall in my back yard succomb to all of the
pressure and collapsed. The wall was about 8 feet tall and 60 feet
wide. We just bought the house in April and we were told that the wall
had been there about 20 years, and it was quite evident (from lack of
pea gravel and drainage) that it was not very stable. I have State
Farm insurance and they have been SUPER cool, they asked for 2
estimates and we gave them three...they were like 9k 10k and
10.5k...well state farm sent a check for 10,500 (after 500 deductible).
So we finally got the check today after sending in the estimates
last week and have since received another estimate for $7,500. The
check is made out to my wife and I AND 5/3 bank and/or assigns
"landspaceplace1, or 2". I was wondering what involvement a mortgage
lender usually has in these matters. Do they set up some kind of
escrow account until the job is finished? Will they have to be the
final say in the quality of the wall? I am going to the bank in the
morning, but I work 3rd shift and figured I might get a few responses
here before I go in to let me know what to expect. Assuming we go with
the 7,500 estimate, will the remaining 3,000 go to the bank or back to
the insurance, or will we get to keep it?
Thanks for any help!
Given the size of the claim, the three clustered estimates, and the
enormous amount of claims to be settled in Indiana this year, the
insurance company is not going to get involved any more than it has to.
I believe the check is meant to make you whole. It's up to you to
arrange construction. Your mortgage lender has nothing to do with this
except they have a vested interested in the preservation of your
As for construction, then you would parcel out the money in pieces, or
preferably pay when the thing is done. You do not pay the whole thing
up front ever ever ever for a contractor.
It may be that if you can get the wall built for 7500 you may get to
keep the rest, or you may have to give it back. Morally, you should
give it back. I would wonder why the one estimate is so low, they just
had a Holmes on Homes show where the contractor who built a retaining
wall did ot wrong and used undersized brick, so you get what you pay
I would go with the contractor who is most respected, well-known, etc.,
and verify their work along the way against their proposal.
For those of you playing at home, look carefully at the claim
paperwork. I had a thing on my claim sheet that something like deferred
depreciation. That was the hold back to make sure I actually did the
work. After submitting copies of the invoices, I got an extra couple
grand. Nobody bothered to tell me about at the Insurance Company
(probably hoping I would overlook it and they would get to keep, or so I
would think if I was bitter, cynical man-grin). This was for a new roof,
so they may look at this differently.
I wouldn't necessarily say you were morally obligated to give it
back. You are morally and probably legally obligated to at least let
them know. I would have to agree with you that I ALWAYS look at low-ball
bids with a very jaundiced eye and would definitely want billions and
billions of references, check in licensing people, BBB, probably do a
court records search, body cavity search, etc. Too good to be true,
in buffalo ny: if you can accomplish the work for less within local
permit requirements and inspections and to the mortgage terms you
signed, you would be wise to first spend the excess on an
this wall probably involves a major foundation installation below the
frost line, and don't be surprised when hidden extra costs underground
appear during the job to absorb every last dollar and then some. if you
can let the architect handle the entire job these will all be his
headaches and he might even give you some landscaping ideas.
if a swimming pool or deck or garden is somewhere in your dreams, get
it all designed at once.
don't be discouraged, this is an opportunity to step back look at the
big future picture.
Do not trust advice you get here on things like this. We don't know Indiana
law or your insurance policy.
Call the insurance company and ask what the endorsement means. Do not
mention the $7,500 bid unless they ask. (and... I would hesitate to hire
the $7,500 bid unless you are darn sure he is good and understands the job.
It might well be a "oh, you wanted it straight? I couldn't make it straight
for that price, sorry." But that's just me.)
No advice on the claim. As for the reconstruction. For a job that
size you want a firm contact specifying just how it is to be rebuilt
and specifying materials. Do not accept a "cost plus" contract.
It is always wise to get multiple bids on a job. Never go for the lowest, he
is going to cut corners somewhere. Avoid the highest, he probably priced it
high because he doesn't want it or is just overpriced. Go for the middle of
the road if the specs and terms are agreeable to you.
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