We are proud to offer Insurance Scope Review Services for homeowners & contractors who don’t speak “insurance”. Let us help you by utilizing our 6 +years experience, and being Certified Level 3 in Xactimate (program most Insurance companies use) to help identify those missing line items.
What is this exactly? This is where we will review the insurance companies scope of work / loss to help ensure everything that should be there to complete the repairs is listed. We can also help your contractor write their estimate with enough detail in insurance lingo to get the insurance company to approve &/or modify their scope as needed. Please note we are not acting as a Public Adjuster, nor are we lawyers – this is just to help you &/or your contractor get a proper scope of work defined which you present.
How does this work?
First off, we are not going to charge you if we don’t think we can help you. The steps below help explain the process:
- Simply choose the next date available below
- We will send you an email which you reply back to including:
- The insurance companies scope of work
- A few pictures of the before & after
- A brief description of the loss, issues you think there might be, etc…
- If you have – any quotes / estimates you may have received from a company you trust to do the work
- We will perform a quick review & see if we think that we can help you out or it looks pretty good.
- We respond to your email. For those that we think we can help out we will invoice you $95.* We might also ask for more pictures, scheduling a virtual call, or combination thereof.
- *$95 is a base charge which will apply to most scopes. For more complicated scopes, needing additional help, etc… we will let you know what the charges would be upfront.
- Once the invoice is paid & additional information is received – we will schedule a call with you and send you our thoughts via email
To Schedule a Review or Call (815) 200-3688 for more Information: [ssa_booking type=insurance-scope-review]
What is a Scope of Loss / Work?
When you have an “insurable loss”, the insurance company generally sends out a Field Adjuster (which could be one of theirs aka a “company adjuster” or a third party “independent adjuster”). Lately though, some have gone virtual & will use a “Desk” Adjuster to ascertain the loss based off of pictures, mitigation estimate & then write up what is called a scope of loss. This scope lists the work that needs to be performed to return you to pre-loss condition. For more on this see: The HTRC – Tools of the Trade Xactimate
Isn’t the insurance companies scope accurate?
In some cases yes they are but, you probably would not be on this page if yours was. What has probably happened is you got the check & then got sticker shock when numerous contractors came out to look at it & said sorry, we can’t do it for that. Part of the reason for the disparity between some claims being fair & accurate while others are dramatically low is the “adjuster” that came out. There are some great ones out there while others have practically no experience on the software itself, much less knowledge of construction. Sure they might list some big ticket items, but then they leave off all the supporting elements that are required.
Also many scopes of work are considered first drafts or as a baseline negotiation piece by the adjusters – they want to see what the contractors contract / estimate before adding other items in. Don’t forget, the insurance company is only obligated to pay an appropriate amount to get you whole again minus your deductible & limits. i.e. you should not collect more than you pay out and writing a smaller scope helps insure that you are not “unfairly enriched.”
Shouldn’t I just hire a Public Adjuster?
I know some that advocate hiring a Public Adjuster aka PA straight off the bat, but in most cases it is not necessary and not always a great idea. Granted there are times when it might become necessary, but in most cases you should have no problems dealing with the Insurance Company though it can take time and patience. On the plus side, if you do hire a PA, you no longer have to deal with the insurance company as the PA now essentially owns the claim & becomes the point of contact.
On the bad side, this does cost money – generally most do it as a percentage of the proceeds which can range from as little as 5% up to 20%. Generally the smaller the claim, the higher the percentage will be, but that is money you no longer have to pay a reputable contractor. For example, you have $15,000 worth of damage & we will say that they are really nice and charge you only 10% – that is $1,500 you no longer get. Add your deductible on top – say another $1,500 you now only have $12,000 to pay for the damages & have to make up the other $3,000.
The other bad item – while many PA’s are good & will work hard on your behalf, there are unfortunately some that are not as scrupulous. I have seen a few where they work up the easy parts to simply get a quick commission and call it a day. Using the example above – what if the repairs will actually run around 20,000 but they settled out at 15… yeah that is an ouch. Granted there is a recourse in many states but that takes even more time, money & effort.
Can’t I do this myself?
Yes you can, but as many can attest – it generally will take time & patience, not including learning some fun lingo. If you have a great adjuster, they can help you out (especially as this is probably your first time dealing with a claim) and many are glad to. In that case, you are good to go – find a good contractor to bring things back to where they used to be and submit.
What happens if I want to upgrade / change something?
This is where many get into trouble as the insurance company is only responsible to bring you back to where you were before. So let’s say you had “Post Formed Formica” before & now you want to switch to “granite.” Straight up, that isn’t an issue as long as you understand you have to pay the difference between the two (say 12 SF versus 35 SF – you would be responsible for $23 SF).
Now submitting for granite when you had another type, that is a red flag for them. This should be handled up front in one of two ways; Insurance companies scope would not list granite at all, it would be left as “post formed formica.” For a contractors estimate, it should be simply listed separately under a change order. If you want everything under one contract, then list the laminate countertop as going back in with the appropriate price & then add in an “upgrade” selection & price for the granite.
What happens if I want to downgrade an item? In this case they are still responsible for bringing you back to preloss condition. So let’s reverse the above scenario. In this case they are still responsible for replacing the broken granite at it’s present value so they would write you a check for that minus the deprecation. You would not be entitled to that depreciation payment for that item. This should be reported to them that you went back with a lower cost item so they don’t pay you for something you didn’t install. The reason – lets say you have a similar issue later & they see you have laminate this time – well then they can pay for the current laminate minus the depreciation that was over paid before.
Can’t my Contractor do this?
This depends on the state (many say no), and quite honestly most contractors simply don’t like dealing with insurance companies. There are some companies that do specialize in Insurance Restoration and they might be a good option to consider. However, if you have a contractor you trust already, they may just say let me know when you are ready & have the money.
This is where we can help you & them by rewording their estimate line items to allow the adjuster to add to his scope, the line items that are necessary. Most adjusters don’t have an issue adding in appropriate line items, they just need to have “justification” and know that the work will be done.
One quick anecdotes – why do you have to detach & reset the electric outlets? Well the desk adjuster was based in Texas & didn’t know that all of work is done with conduit with “mud rings” up here and that by simply loosening it up would not work like it does down south. So I sent him a simple picture of the place and exactly what a mud ring looked like – approved.
Do I have to get three estimates / use insurance companies “contractor”?
Simple answer to any adjuster that states this – please show me in my policy where I am required to get three bids? I have yet to see one produce this as it is not in there. As mentioned, it is much better to find a reputable contractor you trust to do the job right.
How about using the insurance companies preferred vendor? Nope it is not required (illegal in most states to “pressure” you) but it is an option available to you where the insurance company says, these guys can do it as this price & if not we will adjust our amounts with them. Just be forewarned if you do go with a “preferred vendor”, you agreed to hire said contractor. The insurance company did not hire them, and I can’t think of any insurance companies that actually warranty their work so any issues are on you.
Can’t you just write a corrected scope of work?
In short no, not for a homeowner as we would not be doing the work nor am we acting as a Public Adjuster. For a contractor looking to do Xactimate estimates, then yes we can do estimates, training, & even specialized consulting for them.