Long story short: my MIL's home suffered a severe fire on Monday. Damage is estimated at $150,000 on a home valued at $310,000. Substantial fire damage, but probably just as much in water and smoke damage.
She lives 600 miles from us. She's an immigrant and while she speaks English, she's easily overwhelmed when buying a car, let alone navigating something as complicated as a house fire. The responsibility for navigating it all will fall to my wife. She just returned tonight after being onsite all week.
Neither of us have any experience dealing with something like this, and we have our own home to run, too. Mostly because of distance, we're considering hiring a public adjuster. The Greenspan Company is the leading candidate.
Any advice or experiences that we could learn from?
probably a good idea. but more important is hire a good contractor. insurance will probably be very compliant with a contractor on supllements for additional work and also with you on the personal property loss.
Probably good advice.
After the flooding at my sisters and trying to work with the Bozo the insurance company sent...if it were me I would hire private.
Also, I might not go with one of the "restoration" companies who supposedly specialize in restoring houses after fires etc. They seem god awful pricey when compared to standard contractors and I have seen them do A LOT of corner cutting.
Can tell you that the insurance adjusters we had with our fire tried their best to screw us, especially on the kitchen. We ended up doing a itemized list of contents and got another 10K from them. Good contractor is essential in getting back in the house in a reasonable time.
I can't see how hiring the private adjuster is going to hurt at all. Wish we had.
Go with the private adjuster and find a good contractor - as the other's have said AND make sure you've documented absolutely every destroyed piece of property by video. You'd be surprised what will come to mind when you review all of the video, you'll see things you've forgotten about. Your city code enforcement folks, depending on where you live and their expertise, will be invaluable advocates on your behalf as well. Friend of mine who suffered the same, but not as much in cost as your MIL, hired the head code enforcement supervisor, off duty of course, to do two walkthroughs, once before work and one after, that worked out really nice as he knew where to look for the hidden cosmetic fixes.
I appreciate the responses. The adjusters take a percentage of the claim. I've learned it's negotiable, but they start at 10 percent. Their angle is they will get far more money for the claim so their client comes out ahead. Plus, they handle everything, including the construction. There's no doubt in my mind hiring them is the easiest thing to do, but often times what's easy isn't what's best.
Public adjusters having their own construction company is fairly common in the midwest. They will typically get 10 and 10 meaning 10 percent overhead and 10 percent profit on their sheets. They will get you typically 20 to 30 percent more than your insurance company adjuster will give you. Your insurance company will not like you hiring them either in case your not aware of that. What you want to keep a close eye on with your contractor is your allowances for example your kitchen cabinets, windows, carpeting, lighting and etc. They can make more money from you if you don't pay attention and they will give you a lesser grade product. Make sure they give you a no smoke smell guarantee. Make sure they have a good BBB rating and call their referrences, look at their work if you have time too. Also make sure they have a good person contents adjuster that is willing to go through every single piece of your personal belongings otherwise you will lose money here as well. I could keep going on and on but you get the idea. If you want more help just shoot me a pm and I will be glad to help.