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Question DetailsAsked on 10/31/2016

Should you give a contractor a insurance claim ck up front on a roofing job with giving you a estimate

I have a roof that is suing me because I will not give him my insurance ck. Because I want a estimate before he started the work to forward to the insurance company

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1 Answer


Wow - that is pretty bad when your own roof sues you. Presume you meant a ROOFER is suing you.

Something sounds hokey or cunfused here - because it sounds like you already have the insurance check, but want an estimate to forward to the insurance company - that is backwards. Usually they want to see estimates BEFORE they give you a check. Unless they cut you a check for the "adjusted amount" - which if you accept it is all you get, regardless of whether actual cost is more or less. That "adjusted amount" you can challenge if your estimate/actual repair job come in more than the check, but only if you did not accept the adjusted amount payment.

Could also be they gave you a partial payment check up front, and will be providing the remainder after the work is done. Some insurance companies do this - pay maybe half up front so you can get the roofer on board and working, or sometimes they pay the "depreciated value" up front then the remainder to come up to the total "replacement value" when job is complete, assuming you have replacement value coverage on your policy. (Meaning they pay the full cost to replace the damaged portion (or entire roof as applicable), not just the remaining "depreciated" or "amortized" value remaining in the roof (based on its age/condition right before the damage) which you get with normal depreciated value or cash-value insurance.

You may have to sign the check over to his company (and be sure it is endorsed to the company, not to the individual himself) if you signed a contract with him requiring that (a typical "ambulance chaser" roofer scheme) - which if he is suing you I suspect is the case. And certainly if he is suing you you need an attorney experienced in insured home improvement/repair contracts - to deal with him and also with the insurance company, who almost always has to be notified of any suit relating to the insured property because they may end up having to pay out as a result of the suit. They would also normally the attorneys to defend against this type of suit, and would also commonly be named as a defendant too by the contractor.

If you signed a contract (see also two links below for related questions with answers about "storm chaser" or "ambulance chaser" roofers) that he would do the work for whatever the insurance company granted as coverage, then it does not matter what the estimate would be - he gets the full claim amount. And the contract probably states you pay your insurance deductible on top of that.

IF you do NOT have a contract with him, then certainly you can get estimates from as many roofers as you want and pick the one you want - though if the total charge for the insurance-compnay approved work (not including any "additional"work you have done out of your own pocket) comes to less than the insurance coverage plus your insurance deductibl, commonly you have to pay the insurance company back the difference. Depends on state and insurance policy and whether the payment was an "adjusted claim payment" or a "cash settlement in full regardless of actual cost". (Generally, you cannot "make money" on an insurance claim, so if the actual cost to repair the damage is less than the amount the insurance company paid (plus any deductible they accounted for in the payment amount), you have to pay back the "overpayment".

One other consideration - if he provided input directly to the insurance company as the basis for their insurance adjustment (estimate of cost to repair damages) and the insurance adjuster did not come out or only drove-by to confirm there was significant damage (sometimes done when they have a lot of claims in an area from a major storm event), then it might be the check covers more than it should - he might have falsified (back to "storm chasers" here) the amount of damage or padded his estimate to get a larger check amount or bumped the amount up so it gave enough to also cover your deductible because he promised (illegally, but commonly done by shady contractors) that you would not have to pay your deductible, so he wants you to just give him the check and not provide any detailed estimate to the insurance company which might expose his fraud. Could also be he is saying he is going to sue you or had an equally shady attorney send you a $50 letter saying he is going to sue you, but actually has no intention of doing so because it would uncover his fraud. There are some firms with cheap, shady attorneys (or faked letters) who write this type of letter to customers/prospective customers to basically extort them into forking over the check.

You certainly need to stay on top of this - and remember if you signed a contract giving him the rights to the check and to act as your representative, or to "subordinate" your insurance rights to him, he is acting as your agent - so any funny business he is up to can come back to bite you as well - financially, plus in terms of the insurance company cutting off your policy for fraud if they find out - which would result in your being black-listed on the insdustry-wide database of insurance fraudsters, so you would likely never get ANY type of insurance again and likely have all current policies cancelled, regardless of what company they are with. Home, health, auto, etc - which especially with auto can be crippling because no insurance, no vehicle registration or driving, at least in some states come renewal time or when they are notified of the cancellation by the insurance company, and not able to drive legally in most or all states without insurance. your attorney needs to look into this possibility and protect you against it by working with the insurance company if this is a fraud case. May be - no way to tell from info at hand on this end, but it has the smell of possibly being so.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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