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Gwinnett Homeowner Insurance Deductibles are at an All-Time High, What Can You Do When You Have a Loss?

Recently, homeowner insurance deductibles have reached an all-time high. So, when faced with a loss on your home, you may ask, “What if I can’t afford the higher deductible? Does that mean I can’t file an insurance claim and get my home repaired? What can I do? Do I have any options?”

The good news is, yes you have options. In this article I will discuss a few of these options. If the options discussed do not cover your specific need, please reach out to us privately, and we will do our best to help.

Important Steps to Take Before Filing a Claim

The first step before you file a claim with your insurance company is to evaluate the damage. How do you do that? It’s important to have a restoration company come out and evaluate the damage. This is important because a professional restoration company understands that not all damage is clearly visible. They’ll know where to look and what to look for. Why is this helpful? Let’s consider just one of the many reasons. What might at first appear to be minor damage could in fact be much more. And the opposite could be true, what may appear to be an expensive repair could actually be a minimal one. Knowing what you’re dealing with can save you time, hassle, and money in the long run. So having the restoration company come out first gives you an accurate understanding of the situation and will allow you to make an informed decision.

To File or Not to File?

Should you file a claim or not? If the damage does not exceed your deductible, then it’s really not worth filing a claim. The simple step of calling a restoration company before you file a claim, could actually safeguard your insurance rating and keep your rates down. How so? The number of claims you file, whether the insurance company pays any money out or not, even if they decide to deny your claim, all affects your insurance rating and thus your premiums. So you would want to avoid filing any unnecessary claims.

But what if the damage exceeds your deductible and you want to file a claim, but you can’t afford paying the deductible? Do you have any options? Absolutely! Ask the restoration company that came out to do the inspection if they offer financing for your deductible. It may surprise you that many of them do. Another thing you might want to consider could be a home equity line of credit to cover your deductible. It’s worth a phone call to your finance company to see if you qualify or not, and so, if it’s a viable option or not. Another option to financing your high deductible is qualifying for a 0% interest credit card. Some credit card companies offer 0% interest as an introductory special offer. If you should decide to go this route, just make sure you pay it off before the interest starts to accumulate.

Be Wary of Insurance Fraud

As a caution, some people have asked restoration companies to increase the estimate they are providing their insurance company to cover the cost of their deductible. Keep in mind that this is insurance fraud, and is illegal for any restoration company to do. An honest contractor is concerned, not only with earning your trust and respect, but also adhering to all laws and requirements. So, if someone tells you they can fudge the numbers, RUN! If they’re willing to lie to the insurance company, you can bet they’re also willing to lie to you.

Out-of-Pocket Options

But what if you decide not to file a claim with your insurance company but still need the damage repaired and you can’t afford the cost of repairs. Are there any other options available to you? Most of the previously mentioned solutions can be applied here as well. See if the restoration company will be able to finance the total cost of repairs? Or could you apply for that equity line of credit to pay for the repairs?

Do I Really Need Everything Done All at Once?

If you are not able to get the repairs financed, another option would be to ask the restoration company who provided the initial inspection for their professional opinion on what repairs are an immediate necessity and what ones can wait for a future time when you can afford them? The restoration company may determine that they can do the repairs in stages. Be sure to have them explain to you if there are any cons to waiting on some of the repairs. An honest contractor wants to build a long-term relationship with you, by earning your trust and respect.

Finding the Right People for the Job

How can you find a reliable restoration company? One of the best resources is to ask a friend or family member for a referral. They can tell you, based on personal experience, what you can expect from a company they’ve worked with in the past. Remember, while online reviews are a great resource, before you make a judgement for or against a company, take the time to read the reviews to determine how relevant they are to your needs. You could also put out a call on a local social network, like Nextdoor, to get others in your area to send you recommendations.

Want to Just Do-It-Yourself?

Some people may decide to do the repairs themselves? I wouldn’t recommend making this decision until after you have had the damage looked at by a professional restoration company. As discussed in the preceding paragraphs, it’s important to know the extent of the damage. If after the inspection you do decide to do the repairs yourself, remember you have a valuable resource in the contractor who did the inspection. They‘re experienced and may be willing to share some important information on how to approach the repairs. In some cases it may be possible to purchase some of the needed materials directly from the contractor even if they are not doing the repairs. Why would this be of benefit to you? They may be able to get the materials at a cheaper price than you would at a traditional box store. There’s no harm in asking, though not all contractors are able to do this.

Many contractors want to help where they can and are interested in building a long-term relationship with you. In the event you should decide to do your own repairs it would be a good idea to research how you might be able to do them safely and accurately before you start. Just imagine getting into it and then finding yourself in over your head! So hopefully doing your research ahead of time will save you further headaches and any unnecessary additional costs on repairs.

R4 Restoration looks for opportunities to help and educate our customers. Considering an ancient proverb that says, “Plans fail when there is no consultation, but there is accomplishment through many advisers.” So we would love to hear your thoughts or any questions. We want to build long-term relationships with our customers.

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