Does fire restoration work have to be exactly as detailed in the estimate provided by the contractor to receive full settlement from the insurance co?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: May 23, 2012

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Insurance Question from Saint Paris, OH

Asked on 05/23/2012

Does fire restoration work have to be exactly as detailed in the estimate provided by the contractor to receive full settlement from the insurance co? My insurance company agreed to a settlement following a fire at my home based on a quote provided by a contractor. When the contractor did the repairs I asked him to make a few changes, such as putting carpet down where there used to be laminate flooring. The estimate from the contractor originally listed around $1400 to replace the laminate but now the insurance company says the laminate wasn't repaired so they aren't going to pay the $1400 even though I had carpet installed instead? Also, I want to move the pellet stove that was the source of the original fire but they won't allow that.

Answer given on May 26, 2012

If you have a homeowner loss and the insurance company and contractor agree to a price, uaually the insurance company will allow you to change the scope of the work, but they won’t pay for the difference.If your changes increased the cost, they should be willing to pay the agreed upon amount and then you would owe the contractor for the increased cost. Also, the insurance company would not pay to move the stove if that resulted in an additional cost.You should discuss the changes with the adjuster and explain that you are paying for any increased costs incurred for the changes, and that the agreed upon amount from the original bid was based on how the home was before the loss. The adjuster may be thinking that the contractor built in the additional cost for the changes in the original bid. Have the contractor talk to the adjuster to explain how the estimate was originally prepared. It may all just be a misunderstanding.

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