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When a Home Disaster Happens

Last year, a summer evening at my family’s home ended in the aftermath of an indoor hurricane when the pipes in our third-floor bathroom erupted. Luckily, we found contractor Matt Foley, owner of All Around Management, to help us put the house back together. We sat down to ask Matt a few questions we wish we’d known the answers to before the flood. – Brenda

Matt, what’s the most important thing you tell customers?
When dealing with insurance companies on restoration loss, a lot of people think the insurance company is looking out for them. They are not. They are looking to pay as little as possible.

Also, insurance companies will recommend that the homeowner get three bids for the work, and then recommend you work with the lowest bidder, even if the lowest bid won’t provide you with the quality and amount of work you need done.

I recommend that homeowners hire a contractor they’re comfortable with, maybe through recommendations from family or friends. I also recommend homeowners hire a contractor who is very familiar with insurance work because it’s completely different from what you’d call a normal renovation or restoration.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when they make home repairs or renovations?
The biggest mistake people make is automatically settling for what the insurance company will allow them. You need to know how to push back to make sure you’re covered for all the work that needs to be done. It doesn’t matter if the insurance company says they will cancel your policy. It’s a normal practice and they expect pushback. A contractor who’s used to working with insurance companies can help you navigate and negotiate the settlement.

What’s your advice about whether people should hire a Public Adjustor when they have a catastrophic event in their home?
I recommend hiring a Public Adjustor – it’s what they do for a living. However, PAs generally are paid 10% of the total settlement which can run to a lot of money. That’s why some customers prefer to hire a contractor who is experienced at negotiating with insurance companies, and who won’t expect a percentage of the settlement. They just want the work.


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