On August 25th a Pittsburgh family of 3 were away enjoying a fun filled family vacation when they received a call from a neighbor that quickly turned their sunshine to clouds. The neighbor called with the horrible news that their garage door was mysteriously open and water was pouring out onto the driveway. At this point panic had sunk in as they had no idea what they were going find when they returned home. The family decided it would be best to call their insurance agent, report the claim and ask for advice to see if they were covered. The agent quickly assured them that they were going to be OK, reported the claim for them and had an insurance company preferred restoration contractor scheduled to mitigate the water damage. Following the phone call with their agent they packed their belongings and knew that it was time to head home to deal with the unfortunate accident. What transpired is a lesson that can benefit all policyholders. Sometimes it pays to have an independent professional look at your claim.
Upon returning home yet still hoping for the best the insured walked in to an unrecognizable home. Carpet, hardwood floors, tile floors and walls from the second floor all the way down to the basement had all been removed. Every room with the exception of one had endured some kind of water damage. When asked what happened they were told that somehow a supply line linked to the toilet had burst allowing water to run for days while they were gone.
To no surprise more panic set in as the family realized that the home was uninhabitable and with a young daughter there was no way they could stay in their home. They gathered some personal belongings and checked into a hotel. Soon after, they were contacted by an insurance representative who explained that she will be their claim adjuster and point of contact for their claim. During the conversation provided some basic details, asked some questions and set an appointment for the adjuster to scope the property to determine the amount of damage. A few days later they met the adjuster at their home.
It was during this inspection where the insured began to notice some unusual behavior between the adjuster and the preferred restoration company their agent had called for the mitigation. After leaving the inspection the homeowners were left with a very uneasy feeling with the way things had developed and the behavior they had witnessed. This led them to explore their options for getting a professional to look at and possibly represent their claim.
Upon doing their research, the insured was referred to and hired Mr. Zachary Flora a Pittsburgh area Public Adjuster with Tutwiler & Associates on September 9th, just a few days after their inspection. Mr. Flora immediately visited the property where he witnessed considerable damage and proceeded to assemble an independent repair estimate of his own. After notice that Tutwiler & Associates was involved, the insurance company produced what seemed to be a rushed repair estimate amounting to roughly $22,000. Given Mr. Flora’s expertise and recent inspection of the property, this was very alarming as he knew there was much more damage than what was being accounted for. With attention to the details of the loss, Mr. Flora produced an estimate that came to nearly 3 times what the insurance company had offered. Due to the price difference the insurance company sent notice that they would be hiring a consultant to scope the loss and produce another estimate on their behalf. After a few more inspections where Mr. Flora met the insurance company representative, a few follow up calls and letters documenting details of the loss, Mr. Flora was able to negotiate an additional $70,000 dollars towards repairs to the home. In addition, 4 months of a townhouse rental which was a more comfortable living situation for the family and replacement of damaged personal property was added to the claim, amounting to a settlement well beyond 6 figures. “My goal was to simply value the loss that occurred and help this family get their property back in order under the provisions of their policy. Sometimes relying on the insurance company to tell you what they will pay you does not always yield the best settlement,” commented Mr. Flora. The result speaks for itself.