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Navigating Contractor Frustrations After the 2020 Derecho

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As homeowners continue to deal with all the unknowns in the aftermath of the Derecho and the frustration only grows worse, the insurance restoration experts at American Building Contractors want to help. From cafe breakfast conversations and happy hour discussions to social media banter and neighborhood meetings here is what ABC is hearing and hopes to help resolve for the community.

The contractor I signed with or the one i’m thinking of signing with only does roofs, but i have more damage than that, so what do i do?

When you’re dealing with a contractor that only specializes in just one trade, fixing your roof or siding or structural damage or interior damage, you’re putting yourself in the position of having to function as a General Contractor. A General Contractor that specializes in insurance restoration work will coordinate all of your home restoration projects and takes the stress off of you to become an overnight construction expert and perform all of the functions of a licensed General Contractor.

If you’ve already signed with a roofing contractor but now realize you have a lot more damage than just your roof, you may be hearing “NO” from General Contractors when you ask if they will only do structural repairs, siding or repair just the interior damage and the reason for that response can be summed up in one word: LIABILITY.

When you have multiple contractors working on your home, dealing with a variety of trades and something goes wrong, all the contractors have the opportunity to point fingers at one another. This leaves you in the terrible position of having to determine who is responsible for what and the potential of no one solving the problem. A General Contractor will select all of the tradesmen who work for them (not you) so if something goes wrong, the liability falls solely on the General Contractor.

Enough with the “we do not leave estimates”

Many insurance companies are telling homeowners to get estimates and contractors are saying “we do not leave estimates” which undoubtedly has become infuriating. An accurate estimate can take up to a week or more to provide. A contractor that specializes in insurance restoration work will have a department that reviews all the images and notes about your home to determine every item that is damaged and what should be submitted to your insurance company. Then both the contractor and the insurance company have to agree on the Scope of Work (what is damaged).

Ok, but the contractor is making me sign an agreement first

Contractors need an agreement for two main reasons.

  1. A contractor that specializes in insurance restoration work will spend countless hours to help create a Scope of Work that helps homeowners obtain everything they need to restore their home back to existing or better than pre-storm condition. To spend that amount of time and effort without knowing if a homeowner trusts them and is truly interested in their service would cost a contractor thousands of dollars to potentially put the money in someone else’s pocket. Trust is a twoway street.
  2. Any contractor needs your permission to discuss the Scope of Work on your home with your insurance company. A signed contingency agreement includes language that allows for this exchange to happen.
In the end, the only cost to you is your insurance deductible. Find a contractor you can trust to provide quality workmanship and materials and most importantly be here to address any future concerns.

The advice in this article should not be construed as legal advice, or an attempt to interpret your specific insurance policy language. As an Iowa resident you should feel confident that the restoration of your home is being completed by reputable contractors. Your insurer should not be able to compel you to use a cut-rate contractor. If you feel like that is happening there are avenues of recourse and provisions for dispute resolution in your policy. As a paying customer you deserve to be treated fairly, have your home and property restored correctly and get your life back to normal.

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