As the owner of a Home Improvement & Remodeling company, I see first-hand folks who assume they are covered for something only to find out they have a stripped-down policy with limited or no coverage for certain claims. While Homeowner Policy premiums here in Texas seem high (Texas is ranked 7th highest in the country according to Bankrate.com); what you pay, what you are covered for, and your deductible should all be considered when you evaluate your policy.
Recently, I had a customer in San Antonio who came home to a broken water line on his upstairs toilet, and that caused horrific flooding throughout his two-story home. He, of course, called us. We got a plumber in there to stop the leak and a water extraction team was called in. The estimate to repair and restore from the damages was close to $30,000. He then submitted this to his insurance adjuster who informed him he was capped at $10,000 for repairs, and they politely wrote him a check for that amount. Needless to say, he was distraught and told me he was unaware his policy had been written that way.
- Take a deeper look at your policy.
Over the years of being in this industry, we have noticed a common pattern. To tie it to the example above, what happened in this particular case was at some point, the homeowner complained about his premiums and asked his agent to get him the lowest price possible leaving him with a lack of coverage. After decades of seeing this same story play out, I must ask, do you really know the details of what your insurance policies cover? If the neighbor’s tree falls on your house, are you covered? If a water line breaks and floods your home, are you covered? If you have to move out of your home while repairs are done, will you be covered for lodging and meal expenses? These are all questions you need to know the answers to before signing on the dotted line.
- Make sure your deductible is one you can afford.
Another thing to keep in mind is your home insurance deductible. While the standard is 1% of the home’s value, you can pay a premium that will ensure a lower deductible. Some carriers in Texas are now only offering a 2% or 3% deductible on rental property policies. Deductibles are an important thing to keep in mind because you don’t want to find out the hard way that a 3% deductible is probably not going to cover the cost of a new roof for that kind of a claim. I would recommend taking a deeper look when shopping for your policies to ensure it will cover all your needs during times of high stress and uncertainty.
- Get a second opinion from a contractor with your best interest in mind.
Do not let the insurance company bully you into using their preferred contractor to restore your home. I am not trying to give insurance companies a bad name, nor am I trying to say that all contractors associated with an insurance company will be shady or provide low quality work. What I am saying is that contractors affiliated with your insurance company work for your insurance company, not for you. The work they provide will cater to the insurance company’s best interest. We highly recommend you seek out a second opinion and estimate from a contractor of your choice, prior to accepting the home insurance company’s offer. You always have the option of choosing a contractor that you are comfortable with, providing your home insurance company with their estimate, negotiating the offer of the home insurance company, and ultimately, repair your home with the contractor of your choice.
Despite what your home insurance policy may currently say, we hope this information will be useful to you before and/or when filing a home insurance claim. Here at OMG, we are constantly helping unhappy homeowners turn their chaotic situation into a happy home repair and upgrade. If you are interested in getting a second opinion, receiving help in negotiating with your home insurance company, and getting your repairs done by a contractor that has your best interest in mind, give us a call. 210-535-1000.