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Helpful Repair Hints from Our Man on the Inside

Still overwhelmed by hurricane recovery projects? My friend Dennis Anga, a roofer and landlord, offers some insight into getting repairs done on your home:

  1. Don’t put off urgent repairs if you have the means to get started before your insurance claim is processed. Document everything carefully, and your insurance company will reimburse you after the fact for completed repairs.
  2. There are three main categories of insurance adjusters:
    1. Those who work on salary for an insurance company. They tend to be very conservative.
    2. Independent adjusters contracted by an insurance company. Believe it or not, they get paid more for writing higher claims, so they have no vested interest in cheating you.
    3. Independent adjusters who work for you. They’ll fight the insurance company for bigger claims on your behalf and collect a commission. You may decide you need an independent adjuster of your own if you’re being treated unfairly.
  3. Most mold is relatively harmless stuff that a water-and-bleach mix will kill. Don’t get too worried about it, but limit your exposure as much as you can. Rubber gloves and a dust mask may help if you’re prone to mold allergies.

  4. Make a list of the damage to your property, and keep it handy so you can add items as you discover them. Adjusters have very limited time to work, so they move fast. Callbacks for forgotten items are likely to be ignored or poorly compensated for. But no matter what, make that list of damages so it’ll be easy to follow through on claims and repairs.

  5. Realize that many businesses in the repair industry have as much work as they can handle right now. Prices are going to be high for a while, since there’s more work than workers to do it at the moment. What may seem like price gouging is only a consequence of the fact that crews are working overtime and holidays for double pay.

  6. Some repairs can probably wait if you have sufficient “patch” repairs in place. For example, get the tree trunks and branches off the roof, but have the stumps ground down on a cool day in February when the demand for work crews has eased up. After Christmas, crews will be hungry for work–and better rested. If your roof, siding, or indoor repair jobs can hold until then, you might save money and frustration by waiting.

  7. Check and double-check. Do your homework by consulting the Better Business Bureau or asking for recommendations from friends and neighbors. There are a lot of tricks that contractors will use to save money. You may feel good about the roofing salesman and think you’re getting a good roof, but what if the work crew is only using two nails per shingle to get the job done? Make sure that the guy down below is reputable, conscientious, and willing to take responsibility for his crew’s work.

Many thanks to Dennis Anga for providing these tips. If you’d like to hire Dennis, you can call 713.643.4446 or contact him by e-mail, but he warns that he’s pretty well booked up for the next month or two!

The Clutter Fairy is not a legal or insurance expert, and nothing in this newsletter should be construed as legal advice. If you experience problems with your repairs or insurance claims, consult your insurance company, an independent adjuster, or an attorney.

This article appeared in our October 2008 e-mail newsletter, published during the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. To subscribe to our newsletter, please use the “Subscribe” form, above right.

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