Fire damage to a structure can be one of the most devastating property damage scenarios of a building. Because of this it can also be the most difficult to deal with. Unlike water and mold damage to a property, fire damage has the ability to damage the structural integrity of the building very quickly. Plus, smoke and ash can cause prolonged odor, scratching, and staining of the structure and contents within it.
We specialize in insurance claims. We are referred by insurance companies such as Farmers Insurance to take care of policy holders. Other times customers are referred to us from other customers, their insurance agents, friends, etc. If you are reading this article and have found us through the internet, reaching us quickly will ensure that you are taken care appropriately. Reaching us before reaching your carrier and insurance agent will also ensure that you have all the information needed before the process starts. In some cases filing an insurance claim does not make sense for the customer; reaching us first gives you the opportunity to save from flagging your insurance policy if you decide that a claim is not necessary.
Below are a few questions and answers that help show how we separate ourselves from other contractors by knowing the claims process, whether a claim is paid by an insurance carrier or a self-pay by a customer.
What is the insurance claim process and how does it work?
Nearly all homes in the US are insured by a carrier such as Farmers, State Farm, Allstate, etc. It is a requirement for a mortgage or other types of home loans. The insurance carriers have by law a responsibility to put the property back to pre-existing condition before a covered loss such as fire or flood damage. We know the processes and can walk you through them so that you make the best decision for you.
- Dry Express Restoration is called by a customer to investigate the fire damage
- Dry Express Restoration conducts an evaluation of the rough cost, scope, and source of the damage, offering recommendations to the customer
- The customer signed authorization for Dry Express Restoration to conduct emergency services including packing out and cleaning contents, boarding up openings, securing the electricity property, and cleaning items that can etch and rust correctly to mitigate further damage
- Customer either files an insurance claim or decides to pay for the damage as a self-pay (out of pocket), depending on the cost, coverage, etc. We discuss these options with the customer.
- If the customer files a claim, out office reaches the insurance carrier and speaks with the assigned insurance adjuster to ensure proper protocol, cost, site-visits, etc.
- Dry Express Restoration finishes the remediation (could include cleaning, demolition, odor control, air cleansing, duct cleaning, contents moving and cleaning, board up, permits, etc).
- Dry Express Restoration coordinates the construction as needed (i.e. insulation, electrical, plumbing, drywall, texturing, painting, cabinetry, baseboards, flooring, etc).
- The insurance carrier pays for the EMS usually with one check and then the construction with another check. Sometimes recoverable depreciation is held back until the work is complete. Depending on the total cost of the reconstruction, Dry Express Restoration may coordinate the construction immediately or consult the customer to wait until they have received a separate draw check for the construciton.
- A certification of completion is filled out and any recoverable depreciation money is sent from the insurance carrier. As a rule of thumb if the construction related claim (i.e. other than the EMS work) is greater than $10,000 in California and there is a mortgage on the property, check(s) will have the mortgage holder’s name on it along with the customer and contractor due to regulations. This many times holds back the availability of money due to the need to have the check properly endorsed. We counsel customers on this process, which can be very confusing for a first-time process.
Is the claims process more difficult depending on which insurance carrier I have?
(i.e. State Farm Insurance, Farmers Insurance, Allstate, Travelers, AAA, Mercury, Liberty Mutual, etc)?
Each carrier have slightly different insurance claims processes. This has to do with the size, organization, and knowledge of the insurance carrier. Some carriers have in-house adjusters. Others use 3rd party adjusters that work for several insurance carriers. Some insurance carriers take calls directly and others send their claims calls to a 3rd party administrator that coordinates the claims process. Some insurance carriers use an in-house or 3rd party field adjuster in conjunction with an in-house main adjuster. For some insurance carriers the field adjuster and the main in-house adjuster is the same person. For some insurance carriers the adjuster for the EMS is different than the adjuster for the construction related items. To make things more complicated, sometimes the field adjuster can cut a check directly on-site and other times it needs to be cut from the main office, and depends on the amount of the claim. We help the customer move through this process by already knowing the processes of insurance carriers. Most contractors do not have this specialized knowledge and do not have the processes in effect.
How do I choose a contractor to help me through the steps and move my claim as smoothly and quickly as possible?
It is not just enough to choose a contractor with proper licensing, general liability insurance, mold / microbial liability insurance, and bonding. These items are very important but in addition is is important to choose a contractor with a proven track history of successfully completed projects, proven work processes, verified work quality, and specialized knowledge of the insurance claim process. Choosing one without these qualities is a recipe for a longer claims process, un-guaranteed work, and bad workmanship. When you choose Dry Express Restoration you are guaranteed to be taken care of. All our workers are evaluated on customer service, quickness, quality of work, and correctness in coordinating with the insurance carrier / customer.
Call us today! 619.597.2003