Fire damage insurance claims tips

We work for you, not the insurance company

We believe that knowledge is power, and that the more you know about the fire-damage claims process, the better off you will be. Krueger Bros. has specialized in all phases of fire reconstruction since 1976, and has the credibility and experience to be your resource during this stressful time. Our promise is this: we will always have your interests at heart, throughout the process.

situation

Property claims adjusters may not be fully qualified to assess the true cost of repairs needed to restore your home, especially if there is significant damage to the structural framing, or if your home was built with Victorian-style finishes that are no longer common.

solution

Assume your assigned adjuster has the interests of the insurance company as his priority. The best way to combat this is to have a licensed contractor—who is familiar with the estimation software—along on this walkthrough. If you are already past this phase, insist on having an independent contractor do a separate estimate before you sign off. You do not have to rush through this process.

situation

Adjusters will often recommend the company’s preferred, or “direct-repair,” contractor to help create an estimate. These contractors are reliant on the insurance company for their livelihoods, so their loyalty is to them, not the homeowner. The contractor produces a low-ball, band-aid-quality estimate, and is then limited to doing only that work, regardless of what unforeseen situations arise.

solution

You have the absolute right to choose your own builder. Before you choose a direct-repair contractor, perform your own due diligence. Talk to some of their past clients. Go see some of their finished work, and check the local courthouse for possible litigation against them. You can get an independent estimate of repairs before your make your decision.

situation

The property owner is rarely consulted regarding the actual scope of repairs, often resulting in critical trade items being omitted, glossed over or ignored in this closed-end process. More importantly, critical repair items are often substituted with lesser-quality materials or products.

solution

Insist that you and your contractor receive detailed reports. You are entitled to the actual replacement cost of specific trade items, even if it costs more. For example, the adjuster might try to replace custom cabinetry with big-box-store knockoffs, true divided-light windows with vinyl or metal frames, plaster with drywall, or real oak hardwood floors with laminate flooring.

situation

Insurance company estimates are created using software that spews out off-the-shelf unit prices and rarely include firm pricing from subcontractors. Many critical components—electrical, plumbing, heating, and structural framing—are grossly undervalued and will not be accessible at the price estimated.

solution

An independent contractor should perform an estimate with firm sub-contractor pricing to counter unrealistic computer-generated formulas. Insist that this estimate reflect best practices for repairing your home—not a band-aid approach.

situation

Each construction project has its own issues and site conditions which must be included in the estimating equation. If the individual doing the data entry lacks the construction knowledge to recognize these issues or critical labor-intensive tasks, the insurance estimate will be grossly undervalued.

solution

You will get more efficient service and a better finished product using an experienced, independent construction professional, who can provide a dedicated team and personalized service, than with a franchise operation or cookie-cutter high-volume direct-repair contractor who will cut corners to match the estimate rather than making sure that your home is properly rebuilt.

situation

Your desire to get resettled quickly works to the advantage of the insurance company. They will often try to leverage your stress to get you to sign off quickly so they can move on to the next claim before you start to get hit with the real costs.

solution

If you want to avoid being steamrolled by your insurance company, you need to protect yourself by finding a contractor who will stand up for your interests and who can also rebuild the project after all the claims drama has been settled. You are entitled to get your home rebuilt without sacrificing the previous quality or craftsmanship just for the sake of expediency.

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We serve Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties. If you are outside the area, but require our expertise, please get in touch.
Krueger Bros. Builders

san francisco

1405 18th St., Suite 3
San Francisco CA 94107

(415) 863-5846

Napa

PO Box 3826
Napa CA 94558

(707) 252-6688

License No. 364692

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