Insurance Company’s Insistence123

Recently I went to see a job where a home owner had a water loss in a condo caused by the property above having a overflowed toilet.  The water flooded the upstairs bathroom, leading water to track down into the unit below, flooding their bathroom, bedroom and a portion of their living space.  When the home owner contacted the insurance company, they insisted on using their approved vendor and even went so far as to threaten that if the owner didn’t abide by their demands, they would jeopardize the entire claim and get denied.  Feeling pressured, the owner hired the approved vendor and the work began.  But they quickly noticed that this contractor wasn’t doing what needed to be done and left several walls which had gotten severely wet from the loss untouched, and just placed an immense amount of equipment.  In a unit less than 1000 square feet, they placed 16 fans, 2 air scrubbers and 2 dehumidifiers for seven days.  Now the problem isn’t that they placed 16 fans because that could be needed, but 2 dehumidifiers and allowing them to run for seven days is a problem.  The normal procedure for structural drying as per the IICRC for water damage restoration is 3 days and possibly more if needed, but not seven days and not because you didn’t want to remove wet walls.  The fact is is that most of the money made on water damage jobs is made from the equipment, so this contractor, like so many franchise restoration contractors who are in the back pocket of the insurance company, try to take down less walls which need replacement and just set as much equipment as possible.  There’s a few lessons that can be learned from this example.  One, you can hire whichever certified water restoration contractor you want and you never have to hire whomever the insurance company tells you too.  They can only recommend a contractor, but they can not demand you to use who they deem as approved.  Two, when a water loss like this occurs which is minimally a Category 2 Loss and possibly a 3, all wet walls have to be removed unless those walls are structural or against code for removal.  In this case, it was a wall leading to the bathroom that had tile on it which would be inconvenient for the insurance company because then they would be responsible for compensating the loss of tile.  And three, you can dispute the invoice set by the contractor, and you’re well within your right to see the bill.  Remember, although it doesn’t appear to be like you’re paying for the loss, you are paying for it.  Each month when your mortgage bill comes in or your insurance bill is due, that payment to the insurance company is made to pay for such incidents, and in most cases, you will always pay them more than they’re paying for your claim.  So it is YOUR MONEY!!!  You are the boss and allowed to be apart of the claim, because after all, it is your home.

About the author: Joe Fiorilli