If your home has been damaged—particularly in a way that makes it unsafe or vulnerable—getting it fixed and back to normal as soon as possible is critically important.
But it’s hard to know who to trust with your property and your money. Although you would expect your insurance company to look out for you, the unfortunate reality is that their priority is their bottom line, not your wellbeing. That means that simply going with the first name on the list, without doing any homework, can be a risky proposition.
Making the right decision on what contractors to hire can be stressful for those who don’t understand the industry, particularly when time is of the essence. That’s why hiring an experienced property damage claim lawyer can help ease your mind and make an informed decision. Property damage attorneys, like the ones at Insurance Claim HQ, know the common pitfalls claimants fall victim to when filing a claim and are here to help you avoid them.
In this article, we will cover the unfortunate realities of insurance company preferred contractors, how choosing one can affect your claim, and how you can take control of your property damage repairs.
What Will My Insurance Recommend When I Have a Property Damage Claim?
If you have property damage from a covered event, it is important to act fast when it is safe to do so. The sooner you contact your insurance company, the better your chances will be of filing a successful claim.
Once you contact your insurance company, they will likely tell you the following three things:
- You have a duty to mitigate your loss, so someone will need to come out as soon as possible.
- You have the right to choose who comes out to help.
- If you don’t want to wait, we have a preferred contractor who can come out, and we will contact them for you.
A duty to mitigate is a complicated way of saying you need to prevent further damage to the home by fixing or patching up any current vulnerabilities as soon as you can. This could be as simple as putting a tarp over a damaged roof, boarding windows, or bailing water out of your home. However, it could be more complicated than this and may require specialized work.
This is where a preferred contractor comes into play, and where homeowners insurance tries take advantage of many homeowners. Don’t be too hasty to choose the quickest option, as “preferred” does not always mean “best” when it comes to contractors.
Common Issues With Hiring an Insurance Company Contractor
Looking at your property damage, you may be tempted to take the easiest, quickest solution to your problem. It’s understandable to want the fastest solution so you can get back to normal without hassle. And with so much on your plate (and your mind), having a few decisions made for you can feel like a huge relief in the moment.
But be careful when agreeing to use a preferred contractor, as there may be problems hidden under the surface that are hard to see under stress.
Many insurance companies don’t fully disclose their relationships with their preferred contractors. These contractors rely on insurance companies for work and have gone through a lot to earn their recommendation, even agreeing to work off a discounted price list. This means that they will likely work harder to remain on good terms with the insurer than to give you the best service possible.
Some common issues that can come with hiring a preferred contractor include:
- Blank contracts: Contractors will sometimes have you sign a blank contract so they can determine a price that suits them later on, without giving you an opportunity to get another opinion or fight back.
- Arbitration provisions: Some work contracts contain provisions that prevent you from arbitration, which prevents you from taking them to court if they cheat you.
- Damage waivers: Some work contracts will have hidden waivers that exempt contractors from any responsibility if they damage your property while working.
- Payment issues: Preferred contractors can trick you into letting your insurance company pay them directly, which means you never see your claim’s benefits or how much they were paid. They also can use contracts to demand compensation directly from you, regardless of if you have the money yet or not.
These kinds of practices shouldn’t be as common as they are, yet we see them all the time. In fact, our firm has had to sue vendors for large amounts on multiple occasions for damage they did to people’s homes, and even their health.
The most important takeaway from these common issues is that you should always look carefully at contracts with preferred contractors. If you choose to hire a preferred contractor, be careful that they don’t try to take advantage of you.
If you believe your insurance and contractor have acted in bad faith during your property damage claim, call an experienced bad faith lawyer to help you fight back against this injustice.
Do I Have to Hire My Insurance Company’s Preferred Contractor?
The short answer is no, you don’t have to hire an insurance company’s preferred contractor. Your homeowners insurance company may “conveniently” fail to emphasize this, of course, since it benefits them if you do. They are entitled to use their own insurance company adjuster, but you have the right to choose a contractor whom you trust to do the best work possible. When it comes to repairing your home, you are the one in charge—not the insurance company.
Just because an insurance company has a preferred vendor that they recommend, doesn’t mean that’s the best option. Consider your homeowners insurance company’s position and best interests. Are they the same as yours?
Insurance companies’ priority is always their bottom line, so they will choose options that may minimize your claim or cause it to be denied all together. A preferred contractor may live or die by business from an insurance company, so they are likely to do what is in the best interests of their business. This could mean giving you underwhelming or unfair claims assessments or work.
Before agreeing to use your insurance company’s preferred contractor, take time to research that contractor’s work. If they don’t meet your expectations, consider looking into independent contractors. An independent contractor or public adjuster will provide you with work that isn’t influenced by any outside motivation from an insurance company.
Insurance Claim HQ: Here to Help You Navigate the Property Damage Claims Process
Having a knowledgeable property insurance lawyer on your side can often prevent delays and complications during the claim process. At Insurance Claim HQ, we know the tricks your insurance company will use to deny your claim and cause you stress. That’s why our lawyers work hard on your behalf to help you make the right decisions and build your claim.
The legal team at Insurance Claim HQ handles a wide variety of property damage and insurance claims, so please do not wait to call 844-587-8395 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.