As some of you may know, the NY, NJ area got clobbered by a windstorm last
week (75+ mph), after quite a snow storm a couple of weeks before. Damage
was extensive, thousands of trees blown down, some people without
electricity for a week. Imagine if the trees were fully leaved in the
So the insurance adjuster finally came today, and just left, after **3
hours**, doing a very detailed survey, inside and out -- much more detailed
than the roofing companies that came out -- and left me with a pile of
papers and a check, for about $10K, about half of that for branch damage to
the slate roof, the rest for inside water damage, A/C damage, other stuff.
The Q is:
What if the contractor prices come in, and exceed the insurance company
What happens if damage is later encountered that the adjuster didn't see?
Recourse? How to handle? War stories??
As a DIY-er, I don't know much about "real" prices, but the wife is already
pissed, thinks it's way too low.
I guess it's reasonable to assume that the insurance company bias is to
And, I won't be DIY'ing most of this, that's f'sure, so any lowballing could
Appreciate all input.
Usually when they offer that sort of thing they give you a form to sign
saying that you're paid up, and you're not going to make any further claims.
Did you sign it?
If no, then you can just go back to them.
If you did, then you have to go before a judge and jury, and explain how
it is that you're a smart guy _and_ you signed a contract that you
Control system and signal processing consulting
Nope, didn't sign anything.
Sort of wondering if I should even cash the check, as sometimes cashing a
check can be construed as implicit acceptance of "the terms", offer, etc.
Should I haggle, or let the selected contractor haggle?
> > If you did, then you have to go before a judge and jury, and explain how
Seriously, what was the adjusters response when you asked him that
question? He/she is the one who left you with the pile of papers and a
check. What do the papers say? What instructions did the adjuster give
you? If you didn't ask you should be contacting them to ask for
clarification and how to proceed since they are your point of contact.
Well, true, I should read the papers, and will contact the company, but....
seriously..... Do you really think the ins. co is going to give me explicit
tips on effective negotiating tactics, consumer rights, etc?
That's why I'm asking for real experiences/insights out there. I'm sure
there's a lot written between the lines.
I don't look at an insurance adjuster as adversarial. They just have a job
to do. Usually they are not trying to screw with you. If you're honest with
them they'll usually be helpful with you. I ask my adjuster for
recommendations on contractors so they can agree with the estimates. Still
check referrals but the adjuster just wants the job done and over with just
as bad as you do. Unless you have a history of fraudulent claims they still
want you as a customer.
The adjuster was actually a nice guy, brought up from NC to NY for the
crush of claims.
He basically measures, and plugs data into the his pyooter (incl his
estimate of the labor time), and the pyooter cranks out a number based on a
"local database", with rates presumably typical for the region.
So, the issue is, what's really in the ins. company's database? And are
his time estimates realistic?
I'm also concerned that since the adjuster didn't go up on a ladder (no mean
feat for my roof, as the roof has some complexity to it), that some
surprises are in the offing.
My other concern is that once the roofer is up there, he's not going to want
to hang around and wait for the adjuster to come back to dicker over new
Mebbe the strategy for that is, now that at least I have the adjuster's
estimate, is to MAKE SURE the roofers go up on a ladder to scope things out
accurately, so they can dicker before they actually start work.
As far as contractor recs, the company gave us a pisspoor list, just 1 out
of 4 being local.
I drummed up some others, so we'll see what happens.
As far as wanting people for customers, there are a number of major
insurance companies that do not write policies in NYS, poss. even NJ -- at
least as of a cupla years ago, when I was shopping around. wow.....
Since there was so much damage and resultant claims, you may well have
gotten what is known as a "cat" adjuster, "cat" meaning catastrophe.
Those guys aren't employed by the insurance company, they work for an
independent company or companies. The companies are compensated by the
insurance company according to the size of the claim - the bigger the claim,
the more they are paid - and the individual adjusters receive a portion of
the that. Believe me, they do all they can to *increase* the amount of the
He was explicit, however, that he was in the regular employ of that
insurance company, that his group IS this catastrophe team they send around.
And he did grumble about a couple of things, but seemed more thorough than
cheap -- three hours worth of thorough!!
Hopefully they'll be some "room", $-wise.
My suggestions would be to contact your insurance agent for some advice,
after all that is what he is paid to provide. If you are still worried, and
if you think the potential cost is justified you might wish to contact a
Public Adjuster to represent your interests.
That may be the case some of the time. I know that with one insurance
company I had the auto adjusters were rated on what they paid out per
claim. A lower payout was to their advantage.
Our Constitution needs to be used less as a shield
for the guilty and more as a sword for the victim.
You are getting way ahead of yourself. You didn't even ask so you don't
even have a clue what they are going to do for you. Make up a list of
your concerns and call and ask for clarification. Everyone can play a
guessing game as to what might be. Why not ask?
I should have mentioned, you can also hire (at your expense) your own
independent adjuster. Some will just take a percentage of your settlement,
others will bargain for and get you a much better deal and easily cover
their take on the deal.
Cashing the check must be done before it expires. Check to see if there is
an expiration. If there is, and you do not cash it before that, you may
find you can't get the money back.
In my area, they do not give an adjustment without several estimates first
from contractors. This may be 'state law' related. Oh they had a figure for
general use but it had variation. They were very happy for example that we
had a buddy who did windows cheaper as they were about to cut a check for
1500$ but ended up with 507$. I got a 'for a friend' rate.
Normally you can go back in a case like that for added adjustment.
Yes if it saves them money, and they have to answer basic questions on
company policy. For example, my area and company require at least 3
estimates of which 1 must be from their list of local ontractors. *They*
pick the price from that set usually going with the lowest bidder. Payment
is after the work is complete (at least in my one case, not sure on that for
My case of dealing with them was both good and bad. I use State Farm. I had
horrendous damage from renters. Easily $50,000 plus if all contracted and
$25,000 of it was beyond our DIY level. The company worked with me hard to
make it meet the rules to get us $507 as the rest was just impossible with
my contract. Damages have to be filed for in a reasonable time and you have
to tie them to an event. With us living in Japan, they picked out a wind
storm and pretended the 2 windows were damaged by it. Clearly impossible as
one was broken from the *inside* and the outer
pane was fine and the picture window that was propped in place with a 4x4
clearly showed it also was busted out from the inside of the house.
The difference is you have a claimable storm and are able to make the claim.
First, make sure nothing on that check indicates that by cashing it
you agree that it is payment in full and also hopefully you didn't
sign anything to that effect. If you have any doubt, a quick consult
with a lawyer is in order.
Then the next step is you go back to the insurance company showing
them at least 3 quotes for the work and try to negotiate. I would
have gotten the estimates BEFORE the adjuster showed up so you would
know if his value was fair or not and been prepared to argue it right
while he was there.
If damage is extensive, it can be helpful to have a contractor there
at the same time as the adjuster. The adjuster can say it will take
X to fix this and the contractor can say "but you forgot about Y and
to do this right, I have to do Z. I've done that with a damaged
car. I told the adjuster to go look at it at my autobody guy's shop.
IMO, it's easier if the adjuster just agrees to it upfront instead of
having to back down later.
Then you call up the insurance company and tell them. And take
pictures as needed to document it. If it is legitimate damage that
couldn't be seen at the time the adjuster was there, they should be
willing to come back out, take a look, and include it.
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