How Home Insurance Claims Work

How Home Insurance Claims Work

This will be a multi-part blog entry highlighting the most frequently asked questions of a Homeowners Insurance Claim.

Part 1: Understanding the Insurance Adjusters Report.

The adjusters report is a line item estimate prepared by the Insurance Adjuster showing replacement cost per room of your home.
There are three main columns to the Adjusters report.

  • RCV – Replacement Cost Value. The estimated cost of repairing a damaged item or replacing an item with a similar one.
  • ACV – Actual Cost Value. The estimated value of the item or damage at the time of the loss. Generally, ACV is calculated as Replacement Cost Value (RCV) minus Depreciation.
  • Depreciation – Loss of value that has occurred over time due to factors such as age, wear and tear, and obsolescence. If depreciation is recoverable, the amount is shown in ( ). If depreciation is not recoverable, the amount is shown in < >.


Above we see that drywall is paying $50.35 for full replacement. The initial check that arrives with the adjusters report will be the total of the ACV column less your deductible. When the contractor completes the project, they will submit a line item invoice for all items that were replaced or repaired in the Depreciation column that are recoverable.

Now lets look at R&R Carpet. R&R stands for “Remove and Replace”. The carpet is paying $792.09 to remove the carpet and replace with new.  Notice the Deprecation is in < >, meaning the deprecation is not recoverable due to this is an item that is expected to wear over time and will be replaced. So the actual payout for the carpet is the ACV of $643.76 as the depreciation is not recoverable.

Calculating depreciation
Generally, depreciation is calculated by evaluating an item’s Replacement Cost Value (RCV) and its life expectancy. RCV represents the current cost of repairing the item or replacing it with a similar one, while life expectancy is the item’s average expected lifespan.

For example, let’s say your laptop was destroyed in a flood. You bought the laptop two years ago and it was in normal condition for its age before the flood. A similar laptop is sold in stores today for $1,000 (the RCV). This laptop has a life expectancy of five years, meaning it loses 20% of its value each year. Because your laptop was two years old, it had lost 40% of its value before being destroyed by the flood. Therefore, the actual cash value (i.e., the value at the time of the loss) of your laptop is $600. Here is the calculation:

This calculation method also applies to most of the structural components of your dwelling or building that wear out over time, such as the roof. If your dwelling has a 25-year composition shingle roof, it would depreciate at 4% a year under normal conditions. If the roof is 10 years old at the time of your loss and it requires replacement, we would subtract 40% depreciation (10 years x 4% a year) from your replacement cost estimate to determine the ACV of your roof.

Please keep in mind that the condition of an item may also factor into the depreciation calculation.

Your potential reimbursement is governed by the replacement cost. Please keep in mind that when repairing or replacing an item, you can recover only the amount you actually spend. For instance, in our earlier example we determined the RCV of your laptop was $1,000. If you purchase a replacement laptop for $900 and submit a request for the recoverable depreciation, The Insurance company will reimburse you $300 – the difference between the ACV of your previous laptop ($600) and the cost of your new one ($900). If you find that you cannot repair or replace damaged or destroyed item(s) for the replacement cost established on your estimate, you would need to contact your Claim professional before repairing or replacing the item(s).

The rules that apply to your laptop are the same that apply to your kitchen cabinets, flooring, sinks, faucets, etc.

Next: Hiring a Contractor (Coming Soon)

FEMA Opens 3 Disaster Recovery Centers in the Houston Area

FEMA Opens 3 Disaster Recovery Centers in the Houston Area

Disaster recovery centers offer in-person support to individuals and businesses in 39 counties included in the Texas federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent floods.

Recovery specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the State and other agencies will be at the centers to talk about assistance and to help anyone who needs guidance in filing an application. The new centers are at the following locations:

Katy Mills Mall (Fort Bend County)
5000 Katy Mills Circle Katy TX 77494
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Baytown Community Center (Harris County)
2407 Market Street Baytown TX 77520
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Greenspoint Mall (Harris County)
263 Greenspoint Mall Houston TX 77060
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster assistance employees are committed to helping businesses and residents rebuild as quickly as possible. SBA representatives are available to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program and help business owners and residents apply to SBA.

Disaster Recovery Centers are accessible to people with disabilities. Centers have assistive technology equipment allowing disaster survivors to use amplified telephones, phones that display text, amplified listening devices for people with hearing loss, and magnifiers for people with vision loss. Video Remote Interpreting is available and in-person sign language is available by request. The centers also have accessible parking, ramps and restrooms.

If possible, homeowners, renters and businesses should register with FEMA before visiting a recovery center. Eligible residents may register for assistance the following ways:
– Online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
– Phone 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS-Video Relay Service) (TTY: 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).
– Via the FEMA app, available for Apple and Android mobile devices. To download visit: fema.gov/mobile-app.

The following information is helpful when registering:
– Address of the location where the damage occurred (pre-disaster address).
– Current mailing address.
– Current telephone number.
– Insurance information.
– Total household annual income.
– Routing and account number for checking or savings account (this allows FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into a bank account).
– A description of disaster-caused damage and losses.

Disaster survivors can visit any of the centers for assistance. Locations of other recovery centers are online at www.fema.gov/DRC.

Insurance Claims

Insurance Claims and Storm Damage

Hurricane – Tropical Storm Harvey Update

We will honor all Insurance claims with an Insurance Adjuster’s report and a signed Contingency Contract from Houston Remodeling listing us as your Contractor.

Where do I begin with the Insurance Claims?
Houston Remodeling offers services for storm damage and general contracting. Since dealing with insurance companies is quite hectic, we provide you with a service writer who helps you understand your claim process. Your service writer also coordinates meetings with the insurance adjusters and represents you as your contractor.  This ensures that all damaged items are included in the damage report.

Starting the insurance claim process.
Immediately you call your insurance company to report on damages. The insurance carrier will inquire on the date and type of damage. You will be issued with a claim number that will be used throughout the claim’s process.

A meeting with the Insurance adjuster.
The insurance company adjuster will call you to schedule a meeting. Inform your adjuster to contact us, your service writer (Houston Remodeling) and we will represent you as both your advocate and general contractor. Issues on mechanics of the repair, local building codes, and materials will be our job; you need not worry.

Getting funding.
Within ten days from the adjusters visit, you will receive a check from your insurance company. This check will represents the actual cost to repair or replace the damaged property. This does not include your deductible and depreciation. When the project is complete, we will bill your insurance company for the depreciation, also known as hold-back.

Exactly what does the Insurance company pay to replace?
Your insurance will pay for replacement cost only. If you desire upgrades, you are expected to pay the difference plus any overhead and margins to the contractor.

What is a deductible and who pays for it?
A deductible is an amount which a policyholder agrees to pay, per claim or per incident, toward the total amount of an insured loss. For example, if you incur a loss and your insurance company determines that repairs for the damages are going to cost, $1000.00 and your policy has a $250.00 deductible, your insurance company will pay $750.00.  It will be your responsibility to pay the remaining $250.00 balance to the contractor.

What does ACV and Depreciation mean?
Actual Cash Value (ACV) is the cost of replacing or restoring property at prices prevailing at the time and place of the loss, less depreciation.

For example, if an item is worth $100 new, is expected to last for 5 years and you have owned the item for 2 1/2 years, then the ACV of that item could be established as 50% of its original value. The amount subtracted from the replacement cost value based upon the percentage of the ACV is typically referred to as Depreciation.

Depreciation is a decrease in the value of property over a period of time due to wear and tear or obsolescence. Depreciation is used to determine the Actual Cash Value of property at the time of the loss. Under most cases the ACV is refunded after the job is completed and an invoice presented to the insurance company from your contractor. Depreciation is how the insurance companies project themselves from Homeowners who do not complete the repairs or replace the items but instead opt for the cash.

When the project is complete, we will invoice the Insurance company for the remaining balance or depreciation.

I don’t think the Insurance company paid out enough to have my home repaired?
Insurance companies expect supplements from the contractor. If is very easy for an Insurance Adjuster to miss several items while doing their estimate. Every Insurance company has a Supplement Team to deal with additional cost. Your only out of pocket expense is your deductible.

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Important Links below

List of Houston Shelters

The Salvation Army of Houston infomation

Texas Gulf American Red Cross information

Getting the most from your remodel with Houston Remodeling

Getting the most from your remodel with Houston Remodeling

The first step is realizing your vision for your new space, your vision should be realistic and budget-friendly.

The planning phase will be the next step, here we will bring your design to life.  Of all the phases of your project, this phase will take the longest.  Planning your design correctly in the beginning will save valuable time, effort, and money later.

Houston Remodeling’s dedicated team will provide professional advice and courteous service that starts with your vision and ends with an amazing space.   Securing our services will ensure you are enlisting the services of a qualified design build remodeler that will provide you the piece of mind that your design is well thought out and realistic expectations for a working budget are achieved.

Houston Remodeling is a high caliber design, build remodeling firm with over 20 years’ experience. We are A+ Rated with the Better Business Bureau.

We would love to earn your business.

Allow us to turn your vision into your reality!

Exploring Kitchen Countertop Types

Here are the most popular Kitchen Countertop Types. Any material can be used for kitchens countertops. Its up to you to decide how much care and maintenance you wish to put into the product to achieve the desired look, longevity and effects you want. There is no right or wrong answer, only personal preference.

Granite

Granite has been the star of the medium to high-end kitchen design for years, and its popularity shows no sign of weakening. Granite is a natural stone and consist mainly of quartz, mica, and feldspar. It comes in hundreds of colors and is available in textures such as polished, leather, sand blasted grain, rough and honed. Granite usually has a lot of grains and swirls referred to as “Movement” and mostly used in traditional, transitional and eclectic designs. If you’re looking for a unique, beautiful and resilient countertop for your kitchen remodel, consider granite as one of your top choices. Granite requires a new protective top coat at least once a year.

Engineered Quartz

Engineered Quartz, also know as Manufactured Quartz, is a man-made product created mostly from natural materials. It’s made of roughly to 94 percent ground quartz and 6 percent resins and pigments that are combined into durable and nonporous slabs.

Engineered Quartz is much stronger and has a higher impact rating than granite and is scratch and heat resistant. Quartz countertops are available in dozens of colors with patterns that are consistent, unlike those found in natural stone.  Making this material the preferred choice for modern and contemporary designs.

Patterns are also available to include variations you get with natural stone. Such as multi-hued slabs with flecks, swirls, mirror chips and random patterning to make them almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Slabs were once available only with a polished finish; now you can get them with a honed, sandblasted, or embossed patterns. So if it’s the look of matte limestone, textured slate, or glossy granite what you want, there’s a quartz countertop for you.

Marble

Marble is much softer than granite and can be marred by scratches or stains. It’s not a good choice for kitchens as it can stain and scratch easily. Marble is usually used for tops on furniture such as side tables and dressers.  No matter how much sealing you do, Marble will stain if used in a kitchen.

Soapstone

Soapstone is a natural stone with a silky feel.  Soapstone is only available in dark colors that deepen with time, developing a burnished patina. Soapstone is heat resistant and not harmed by hot pots, citrus, wine, acids or chemicals. The downside, it is much softer than many other stones, therefore,  it can scratch and chip with abuse and should be oiled from time to time. Soapstone is a preferred choice for bakers working with bread dough, pie crust, pizzas, etc, making it an option for the island or separate countertop.

Wood

Many of our projects incorporate a wood top to add a touch of warmth to the kitchen’s island or bar top. Over time a wood top develops a beautiful patina finish from regular use. Wood counters need to be oiled from time to time to hold their luster and can also be sealed with a food grade polyurethane for less maintenance. Typically there are three types of woods used for countertops; maple, cherry and black walnut.  We order our tops from John Booz or custom make them when wider boards are preferred. Often Clients ask us to distress their wood top to give them a used, warm appearance. Wood tops are also great for working with bread and pastry dough.

Concrete

In the hands of a skilled artisan, concrete can assume any color or shape and can be very unique. The addition of glass, shells or other materials gives concrete counters the look of terrazzo or mosaic, and modern finishing techniques deliver smooth, strong and seamless surface.

This is my least favorite of all countertops for several reasons. The first being the High Cost vs Value. Of all the countertops available, this material holds the least value for longevity. While it sounds cool and can look great early on, staining will occur in the cooking and wet areas. The concrete must be sealed and stained and even then, in a few months the color will fade. If you are into an industrial look, this is for you.

Glass

Glass is truly a unique and beautiful countertop material for the modern and contemporary design. It is amazingly strong, scratch, stain and heat resistant and incredibly easy to clean. Available in many thickness’s, colors and textures. Thinkglass offers some remarkable glass for many types of applications.

Paperstone

Made from up to one hundred percent post consumer recycled paper, fortified with petroleum free resins, Paperstone is an environmentally friendly option and available in smooth and textured surfaces that are reminiscent of stone, concrete and leather. Paperstone counters are a great way to increase sustainability without sacrificing style.

PaperStone surface is non-porous and provides stain resistance and it absorbs virtually no water. Surface cuts or marks may be sanded or rubbed out with an abrasive pad. It has a superior strength that allows unsupported overhangs up to 18″ when 3/4-inch material is used. It is only heat resistant to 350 degrees and has been certified ‘food safe’ by NSF and is LEED & Green Building compliant.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is usually used in modern, contemporary and industrial flair kitchens.

Stainless counters are aesthetically pleasing with clean lines. They offer non-porous surfaces, are resistant to water, heat and stains. Stainless tops are great for meal preparation as it is extremely hygienic with regular cleaning.

Downside to stainless is that swirl marks and denting can occur.

Laminates

Laminate has been used on kitchen countertops since the 1920’s and is still very popular today. They’re inexpensive, durable, come in lots of colors, textures, patterns, sheens and edge designs. They resist grease and stains and clean up with soap and water and can take a lot of abuse.

On the downside, laminate tops can be damaged by hot pans and sharp knives, abrasive cleaners can dull the finish, and if water penetrates seams, the substrate can expand and the laminate will bulge. Surface damage is difficult to repair. All of these problems can be avoided through proper installation and use.

Laminates are here to stay and many cabinet manufactures use laminates to cover flat style doors and cabinets boxes. Most modern style homes and nearly all business and hospitals use laminates due to it’s low maintenance and ease of cleaning.

Solid Surface

Before granite stole the spotlight, Dupont Corian flooded the market and was the go-to material in high end designer kitchens. It’s popularity faded quickly in the residential market due to high cost and maintenance, low heat tolerance and boring colors. The material can crack, stain and burn from a hot pot. Solid surface sinks were notorious for cracking from pouring boiling water in the sink from draining pasta.

On a plus side, Solid Surface is 100% repairable from a qualified technician. Solid surface material in non porous and seamless. Sinks can be integrated seamlessly into the countertop, making this material the ideal solution for hospitals and clinics to prevent bacterial growth.

Cabinet Door Types

There are typically four cabinet door types; inset, traditional overlay, full overlay and frame-less, also known as European style. Each has a slightly different look and function.

Inset cabinet doors
The face of an inset cabinet door or drawer is in the same plane as the leading edge of the cabinet box. This traditional look is from early America and is the most expensive style compared to other options. Small narrow, barrow type hinges are the most popular and are mounted right on the face frame with the hinges visible when the door is closed. BLUM brand concealed soft close hinges are also available. Each door and drawer is custom fit to each box. The boxes are 100% All American made 3/4″ plywood with 1/2″ plywood backs and i-Beam construction. The drawer are 3/4″ solid hardwood dovetailed frames. This is the most expensive style of cabinet.

Wellborn Inset cabinet door Inset Cabinet Door 2 - Wellborn Inset Cabinet Door 3 - Wellborn


Traditional overlay cabinet doors
A modern upgrade from inset, traditional or partial overlay doors and drawers are mounted over the face frame of the box. The door covers the opening completely and partially covers the finished face frame. The aesthetics is that you can see the wide visible face frames, while some like this look, others do not. Hinges are typically frame mounted and visible from the exterior, but can be upgraded to a BLUM style concealed hinge with a soft close features. This is the least expensive style of cabinet.

Traditional Cabinet overlay Traditional Cabinet Door 2 - Cabinet Dealer Traditional Cabinet Door 3 - Cabinet Dealer


Full overlay
The most popular and more modern door style is a full overlay, meaning that the door or drawer face completely overlays the box — it covers not just the opening but the entire face of the box. There is little to no visible face frame with these cabinets when the doors are closed. The advantage of the overlay door style is that there are very small gaps between doors and drawers, creating a consistent and continuous appearance.

Full Overlay Cabinet Door Full Overlay Door - Cabinet Dealer Full Overlay Door - Cabinet Dealer


Frameless

Frameless Cabinets are also know as Euro-style, modern, or contemporary and typically come with a flat or shaker style door. They have no face frames and the the doors are mounted directly to the box of the cabinet. From a visual standpoint, when all of the doors and drawers are closed, a smooth surface is created. From an accessible standpoint, frameless cabinets offer the widest openings, with no obstructing stiles or face frames.  The boxes are typically made out of 3/4″ plywood to make them stronger due to not having a face frame for strength. IKEA makes this style of cabinet and uses Particleboard as the box which is not recommended for longevity.

Frameless Cabinet Door Frameless Cabinet Door - Cabinet Dealer Framless Cabinet Door - Cabinet Door

Closet Ideas

IMG_4426.JPGCloset Rods

When installing wooden closet rods, use a wood stain instead of painting them. Medal hangers will turn the paint dark gray from metal transferring onto the paint from constant movement as in the photo.

Double Your Hanging Space

You can add more storage space by adding double closet rods.  We usually set double rods at 38 inches and 78 inches.  For longer clothes, set single rods at 67" with a shelf above for storage.

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Everyone can paint, so can you!

If you are looking to shift to a new house or want to renovate your existing one, the first thing you will need to think about is the painting. While it may be tempting to hire a professional to do it if you have never painted before, it will cost you a lot of money. Painting your own house allows you to experiment with something new and will help you save thousands of dollars.

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