You Can Choose Your Own Restoration Company
You Can Choose Your Own Restoration Company
You can choose your own restoration company. It’s true. A representative from your insurance company may tell you otherwise over the phone. But ask your insurance agent or adjuster – the ones with the real authority – and they’ll tell you the truth.
It’s an important truth. Your home is probably your most valuable asset. At Delta Restoration Services, we’re here to make sure you’re getting the most value for your most valuable asset. We provide water damage restoration. Mold remediation. Fire restoration. Reconstruction services (we are licensed general contractors). And much more. But one of the main values we provide is education. The restoration industry has a lot of mystery around it so we help our customers and community by letting them know what’s real and what’s not.
And this topic is a big one.
Does Your Insurance Say You Can Choose Your Own Restoration Company?
Every insurance company has a 1-800 number that they use to handle claims for their insured. Over the past ten years or so, insurance carriers (companies) have been pushing their agents to use the 1-800 number more and more.
It used to be that if you had a water leak in your home, or flood, you would call your local insurance agent. They would then recommend you to the best restoration company in town or give you a list of three companies they had found to be very good for their other clients. Insurance agents had a very direct role in helping their clients through their difficulties in life.
Some of the older insurance agents still operate this way. State Farm agents in particular have told us that if any of their policyholders ever have a fire loss at their home, they’d drive to meet with the family and offer what emotional support they could. Plus, handle all the practical details of creating a claim, in person.
But for the most part, the world today is very different. Many people have insurance from online companies. They may not even have a local insurance agent. Or when they call their local agent, that office no longer takes any part in handling claims. Instead, they pass off customers directly to the 1-800 claims number. The attitude today in many insurance agent offices is that the claims department is in place to handle claims. The insurance office handles sales only.
Does A Preferred Vendor Mean You Can Choose Your Own Restoration Company?
We say all this and give this big background because the insurance representatives at the 1-800 claims number are instructed to provide clients who call with a “preferred vendor.” Which sounds a lot like a local insurance agent giving a direct referral to a local company, right?
Well, not quite. Insurance carriers have national contracts with nationwide restoration companies. The original idea behind these contracts was that insurance companies would provide their customers on a national level with a trusted provider of restoration services. Good idea. However, the problem is that not all individual locations of a national company are created equal.
Think of your local fast food places. Some are pretty clean, pretty fast with your orders, and at least reasonably accurate in giving you what you ordered. But we’ve all been to a fast food place that was less than spotless, pretty slow, and gave you the wrong order... which of course was only discover after you’d already driven home.
Likewise, some individual locations for national restoration companies are great. Some are mediocre. Some are terrible. When you take an insurance company’s recommendation of a national company because they’re the “preferred vendor” nation-wide, you’re gambling. The claims office for State Farm located in Texas doesn’t know if the restoration contractor on their preferred vendor list in Grand Junction, CO is any good.
Insurance vs. Homeowner In Choosing A Restoration Company
Nowadays especially, since the “preferred vendor” relationship between restoration companies and insurance carriers is more of a financial agreement. To be on an insurance company’s preferred vendor list, companies typically have to agree to price cuts. The insurance company is guaranteeing this national franchise “x” amount of yearly work, so they want a 5%, 10%, maybe 20% discount on all services provided.
This is an even worse deal for the homeowner since they’re now getting a contractor for their home based on the amount of money it’ll save the insurance company. Not based on how good of a job they’ll do on restoring the property. And let’s be honest. If a restoration company has already agreed to cut their prices by 10%, are they going to still give their very best work? Probably not. They’re going to try and meet their job margins by cutting corners on the homeowner’s property. It’s a lose-lose-lose situation.
The homeowner’s upset because their house isn’t restored properly. The restoration company’s upset because they have to give away profits. The insurance company’s even eventually upset because the upset homeowner doesn’t renew their policy. All because of 1-800 numbers’ “preferred vendor” programs and their risky contractors.
The good news is that you can choose your own restoration company.
It's True, You Can Choose Your Own Restoration Company
If you ever call your insurance company to put in a claim on your home, realize that you are in control. If you were to need an electrician for example, you can choose whoever you want for your home. This works the same way! Remember everything you’ve read in this blog post, that the insurance company is incentivized to send you to their preferred vendor (because it’s cheaper for them). But also keep in mind that their preferred vendor may not be the best contractor for your area.
Ideally, you should already have the name of a reputable, high-quality restoration company in mind. Simply tell your insurance carrier which company you want to use. The choice is always yours. You are the homeowner, it’s your insurance policy, you’re the boss. You make the decisions.
Sometimes homeowners are surprised when we tell them this fact. So, we’ll be very clear and say it for a third time. Really yes, you can choose your own restoration company.
Finding The Right Restoration Company
How do you know if you have the right restoration company? If preferred vendors aren’t necessarily reliable, how can you tell if any company is reliable? You’re not likely to have multiple water losses in your life, so you probably can’t rely on your own experience.
You can always ask friends. Depending on your local insurance agent, you can ask them which companies around town their clients have had the best results with. You can also do your own research into companies like Delta Restoration Services. The best companies for your area are always the ones most willing to help you become educated. They want to be transparent with you about the restoration process and cost. They will also help you work through your restoration project with your insurance company.
The best way is to do a bit of research in advance. If you were to ever have a water loss in your home (you have about a 2% chance per year, so it could happen) who would you call? Find out. Have a plan. Then if it ever happens, you’re already set.
*This post was written by Third Loft Marketing.