Rebuilding your home

by generalmom

So many on the East Coast will have a huge burden of how to rebuild their homes after Hurricane Sandy.  My heart really goes out to them and I want to take a quick break from our new home construction project to offer rebuilding experience encouragement.

We have had experience rebuilding and remodeling our first home after a severe hail storm in Illinois.  We had to call the insurance company and file a claim and an adjustor came out to assess the loss.  We had complete loss on our asphalt roof and siding!

The insurance agency had me get three quotes from a roofing vendor and a siding vendor.  I started with the local phone book, Yelp, and Angie’s list.  Let me tell you the bids were all over the board in terms of cost.  So we laid the bids out (we did this last month for the new house) on the counter, circled what was uniquely described as a “service or material spec” that the other bid didn’t have.  For example, if one bid says “complete tear off of roofing” and another one doesn’t, that means one vendor will rip all roofing off and the other ones may go right over the old stuff.  Big difference!  There could be your cost difference.  You want the complete tear off by the way to avoid future leaks.  You then need to decide on materials to use.  For the roofing example, you can get estimates on nicer material like the architectural roofing to see where the bids come in and in many cases will be what the insurance company agrees to pay or you may want to pay a little more for the nicer materials.

Now call your top vendors and ask them about the items listed on other bids and if that is included and just not on the contract.  Make sure to write it in and they need to sign it also for it to be binding.  No verbal agreements.

For all you checklisters, here’s a checklist to ensure your insurance company sends a catastrophe team to make an inspection and then gets you payment as quickly as possible.

1. First, call your local agent, call the insurance company’s 800-line, use the company’s mobile app, or go to its website.

2. When it is safe, make temporary repairs to prevent more damage. That includes tarping or covering a roof or hole in the ceiling, covering broken windows with plywood or plastic, or securing any loose objects.

3. Save receipts for supplies. Reimbursements are possible.

4. Take photos or video for your own records, but real assessment occurs when agency representatives visit the site. Even if the house isn’t there anymore, a company representative still has to confirm all damage visually.

5. Make a list of potential property loss. Take a total home inventory.

6. Stay organized. Keep an active, open file of all paperwork.  Keep names and phone numbers of all insurance agency personnel.

7. There is no standard waiting time for a catastrophe team member to contact you about the claim.

8. Most homeowner and renter insurance policies provide alternative residence stipends, usually a percentage of your total policy cost. Policy holders can normally choose from hotels or apartments, depending on their needs.

9. Checks can take from one to three months or more, depending on the complexity of the damage and number of claims on the insurance coverage.

Storms like Hurricane Sandy remind homeowners of the need for insurance. But those without insurance should call the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which in cases of disaster, can provide assistance or loans.

The insurance route is only one recourse. One potential solution is to borrow against the cost of the land to rebuild the home.

Stay strong everyone.  You can do and if God brought you to it, He will get you through it!

“All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23