Michigan Fire & Water Damage Process
The Select Way: We Hold Your Hand Through the Whole Restoration Process
“Select Restoration believes in communicating with our customers. We will listen closely to you, educate you and offer an open line of communication to guide you through the entire restoration process, without making you feel rushed or uncomfortable through every stage of the property rescue and restoration process. We tell you what to expect, when to expect it, and why it needs to be done. We continually update you on the progress of your job.
Dealing with a disaster in your home or business is overwhelming enough. When your property is damaged due to water, fire, storm or mold, you may be stuck wondering how you should proceed, with a million questions running through your head, including:
- Who can help me fix this damage?
- Should I call my insurance company?
- Does my insurance cover this disaster?
- Do I need to document and take pictures?
- Will my insurance cover the cost to rebuild or repair the damage?
First and foremost, you should know that the restoration process will take some time. It will be our job to not only clean up and repair the damage but also to gather evidence, work with the insurance adjuster(s), mortgage company and local building departments.
STEPS OF THE RESTORATION PROCESS
- Dealing with a disaster at your home or business – is a process, it is not a sprint but a marathon if you want it completed correctly. There is a certain order that must be followed to ensure the best outcome for your loss.
Step 1: We Response to all Emergencies 24/7
If you experience a disaster in your home or business, the first thing you must do is:
- Make sure all occupants are accounted for and safe.
- Calling the fire department if your property is on fire.
- Turning off the water (from the source or the main supply) if a pipe burst and is flooding your home.
- Calling the police or 911 if you are in danger or if a crime has been committed.
- Leaving the home if it is not safe to be there.
Step 2: Call Select Restoration Immediately
Homeowners typically call their insurance company right away when a disaster happens and that is ok. While it is important to call the insurance company in a timely manner, there are a few good reasons why calling Select Restoration first makes more sense.
For one, the minute you call the insurance company they have you on tape, so anything you say can be used against you in denying the claim. In some cases you may decide not to go through your insurance company – and how would you know that until you have someone assess the damage? Some insurances have high deductibles, and if the damage is under that amount it makes sense to avoid a claim on your record. If you’ve filed claims in the past, you may also be worried about your rate going up or even worse – getting your policy canceled. Once again, Select Restoration can assess the damage and advise you on whether you should go forward with insurance or not.
Another reason to call Select Restoration first is that we will handle everything for you. After you get the initial assessment and advice on if you should use your insurance, pretty much the only thing you will have to do is call in the claim. From there, we will clean up the disaster, gather evidence, get estimates, deal with the insurance adjuster, negotiate to get you the most insurance claims money, and help you rebuild, restore or upgrade your home to pre-loss condition or better. Calling Select Restoration first is an ideal way to take the stress off of yourself in this difficult situation.
A final, and perhaps the most important, reason to call Select Restoration first is that the insurance company will try to pressure you to use their ‘preferred vendor provider.’ By law, it is your right to choose your own disaster relief company! However, the insurance adjuster will try to pressure you to choose one of their selected providers and it’s typically not in your best interest to go with them. Here’s why:
- The insurance company wants you to use their preferred provider because they have special pricing arrangements with that provider and want them to minimize your claim.
- Because of that, the ‘preferred provider’ of disaster relief services is splitting their interests – they are not just working for you – they are actually working for the insurance company!
- Since they work with the insurance company, they will try to keep prices down (or else they won’t be a preferred provider anymore and will lose valuable referral business).
- Keeping prices down means that using the preferred provider may impact the quality of the work you get and the amount of money you get in your insurance claim.
You have a right to do research and choose the disaster relief company that YOU think is best.
So what are you looking for when you choose a disaster relief company?
- A company that provides 24/7 support so you can get help right away.
- A company with a fast response time and can get to you soon.
- A company with a certified and trained staff.
- A company with a good reputation & reviews online.
- A company that is local, who knows about and is involved in your community. For this reason, locally-owned family businesses can typically provide better service over national or franchised businesses.
- A company with values you can relate to.
- A proven track record with references you can call on.
Step 3: Assessing the Damage
After the emergency is under control, it’s time to step back and assess the overall situation – but safety is still your main concern. DO NOT reenter your home or business if it is not safe to do so; find a place to stay and return when it is safe to handle this step.
When assessing property damage, you just want to get a general idea of what happened and what has been damaged. Select Restoration and your insurance adjuster will do a more thorough assessment of damages later on.
- What kind of disaster occurred – fire, water, mold, trauma? Sometimes it’s more than one.
- Where is the majority of the damage located?
- Is your home exposed to the elements (broken windows, holes in the roof, etc)?
- We will put an entire list together with a detailed estimate on your behalf.
When assessing the damage we will take hundreds of photographs which are helpful in proving your disaster claim and getting your insurance money faster.
When assessing the damage DO NOT begin cleanup. One mistake home & business owners make is that they often start to clean up the disaster – for example, they may vacuum up the pooling water, thinking that they are helping the situation. However, the insurance company needs detailed and documented proof of the disaster itself, so cleaning up without documenting the proper evidence can hurt your claim (or even get it denied). Leave It Alone The Damage Is Already Done It Will Be Covered.
Step 4: Begin Disaster Cleanup
This step will be dealt with as soon as the adjuster gives the go ahead. Some of the work will be performed immediately when we arrive at the scene to mitigate any further damage. These Are Emergency Services That Don’t Need An Adjusters Approval.
For example, if you have broken windows they will be boarded up and if there is a hole in the roof then it will be tarped. This prevents further damage, including theft or water damage from rain. In cases of water damage, it is also important to begin the drying process right away. Mold can grow within 72 hours of water damage and this will most likely not be covered by insurance, so cleaning up water will be a top concern.
Some homeowners think that they could save some money by performing their own cleanup. This is an incorrect – and potentially costly – assumption. There is a scientific procedure for cleaning up disasters like water, fire and mold. Improper cleanup procedures can cause the damage to spread and more costly cleanup to be required later on.
The insurance adjuster will decide if you are covered for the disaster and how much the insurance company should pay. Their inspection process may include:
- A visit to your home to inspect the damage and/or cleanup.
- An inspection to determine the cause/source of the damage – and whether you are covered for that in your policy.
- An interview with the claimant (homeowner) or other witnesses.
- Additional research as needed, such as looking a police reports and other documents.
Step 5: Claims Negotiation
In the end, your insurance adjuster will recommend a certain amount that the insurance company should pay – and the disaster relief team will also gather evidence and estimates to recommend how much should be paid. The final amount you get is typically negotiated, where the two parties meet somewhere in the middle.
Claims negotiation is the most important part of the process and another step where you really want a disaster relief company that you can trust to be your advocate. As you know, the insurance adjuster is working for the insurance company, and as such they tend to try to low ball the estimate on how much your claim is worth. You need someone on the other end (Select Restoration) to give higher (more realistic) estimates and to fight for what you deserve.
You typically won’t get that if you choose the insurance company’s preferred provider. Remember, that preferred provider is also working for the insurance company! They need to keep the prices low so they will continue to get referral business and make money. A preferred provider will, therefore, be a weaker negotiator because they are not fighting for you and you alone.
Step 6: Receive Claim Money
After negotiation, there will be a final agreement on the amount of claim money you are entitled to. You will then receive a check and can proceed with repairing, rebuilding or even upgrading your home.
How the claims money is received will vary by insurance companies. Some scenarios include:
- When a homeowner has a mortgage over $10,000, the check is often made out to the customer AND the mortgage company (which can be a hassle to cash).
- If the homeowner owns their house outright, the insurance company will often send the check right to them.
- Some insurance companies also pay disaster relief companies directly for the emergency services, and then pay a separate check for repairs.
Step 7: Repair, Rebuild – or Upgrade
After you receive your insurance money, it’s time to repair, rebuild or restore your home. If you chose the right disaster relief company, they will have advocated to get you the most insurance money possible. However, even with that, it will not be easy to replace everything. Because depreciation is factored in, you typically will not get full replacement value for the items you lost in the disaster. This means you will likely have to contribute some of your own money even to restore your home back to ‘normal.’
During the repair/rebuild stage, many other disaster relief companies will step aside. Their job is to simply provide emergency cleanup, and after that, you’re on your own.
That is one of the benefits of choosing Select Restoration. Not only do we offer 24/7 emergency disaster relief services, we are also staffed with residential and commercial building contractors, a certified restoration team, designers and project managers – we even have a remodeling showroom where you can speak to designers and pick out materials like flooring, cabinets and counter tops etc. Select Restoration’s extended services mean that we can continue to work with you throughout the restoration process to help put your home – and life – back together again.
Many homeowners who experience disasters choose to turn their negative experience into a positive by upgrading their home (not just restoring it). Yes, you can use insurance money (and likely some money from your own pocket) to replace like for like. But this is also the perfect time to pay a little extra and get the upgrades you’ve always been dreaming of.