Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. It entitles you to certain rights and imposes certain obligations. As a Professional Remediation and Restoration Contractor, we believe that the better informed you are about the policy you have purchased, the better choices you will make once an emergency occurs. The standard Homeowners policy generally contains the same provisions throughout the United States. Here are some facts to consider:
1. You are not required to accept the lowest bidder; nowhere in your policy do the words “Cheapest”, “Low”, or “Lowest Price” occur. However, repair rates should correspond to the prevailing standards in your area for work of good quality.
2. You are entitled to employ and should insist on a fully licensed and insured repair firm of good reputation. However, if you do not choose to employ such a firm, the consequences and liability for any injury, damage, or other action may rest with you.
3. You may take, and be fully compensated for, the cost of emergency steps to safeguard your property from further damage. In fact, you have an obligation to do so under the terms of your policy. The insurance company may not be liable for additional expenses if you fail to provide such protection.
4. If you have secured adequate coverage, you are entitled to be paid for the fair cost of fully restoring your home to its pre-loss condition. However, you are not insured for the repairs of unrelated problems, code deficiencies, or prior damage.
5. You are entitled to receive payment from the insurance company within the time specified by the policy and your state insurance regulations, which are designed to prevent insurance companies from using delay and personal hardship to compel a lower settlement. However, the policy also has time requirements for the policyholder, within which you must prepare and submit your claim. Ask your adjuster or agent about these at the onset, so that you can be in compliance.
Since you are the policyholder, only you can demand that your insurance company live up to its obligations under the policy. We recommend that you do so, out of a strong conviction that fair dealing, good workmanship, and ethical business practices benefit the insurance industry just as they benefit the public at large.