For Consumers

Hiring a general contractor for homeowner insurance claims

Once you file a homeowner claim, it's important you get a contractor who meets your standards and the requirements of your insurance company. You also want to make sure you don't get stuck paying additional costs.

Find a good contractor

Your company may suggest a list of contractors or "preferred providers" it's worked with before. However, you have the right to select your own contractor.

Once your insurance company determines the cost to repair your property, your contractor may be asked to share their estimate with the insurance company. If they disagree, you may need to pay the difference.

Ask about a guarantee

Typically, contractors guarantee their work for a certain period of time, and if needed, will come back and make repairs at no additional charge. If you use a contractor the insurance company chooses, then your insurer should guarantee their work.

No matter who you choose, get all guarantees in writing.

Be aware of assignment of benefit requests

If your contractor asks you to sign an “assignment of benefit” be aware this could effect your rights. This form could allow the contractor to negotiate, make decisions and settle the claim directly with the insurance company - without your approval. To understand your rights, talk to your agent or company before you sign this form.

Upgrading your home

During the repair work, if your contractor suggests an upgrade, make sure you understand your insurance coverage before you OK the work.

If the work goes beyond restoring the property to its previous condition, you may have to pay the difference.

If your house needs upgrades to meet current building codes, check your policy or with your agent to see if you have law and ordinance coverage. It provides you with financial protection against higher repair and replacement costs due to updated building codes.