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Option to Repair Disputes
The insurance company’s “option to repair” your property.
Most insurance policies allow the insurance company to pick the repair company that repairs the damage to your property. When an insurance company sends its own repair company, it is exercising its “option to repair” under the policy. There’s nothing wrong with an insurance company choosing to repair damage to a home or business. But, the repairs have to be done right, have to be done in a reasonable timeframe, and have to actually restore the property to the condition it was in before the damage occurred.
Who hires the repair company?
Sometimes it’s obvious that the insurance company has invoked its “option to repair.” This is usually done through a letter that says explicitly that the insurance company has decided to repair the damage and is sending a specific repair vendor to your property. Sometimes the repair company is actually affiliated with the insurance company, like People’s Trust Insurance Company’s “Rapid Response Team.”
But, a lot of times, the insurance company doesn’t say in writing that it is calling the shots on who makes repairs. And, when repairs go badly, the insurance company’s first line of defense is to claim that the property owner hired the repair company, rather than the insurance company. They usually point to whatever documents you’re asked to sign when the repair company shows up at your house such as a “work authorization” form, to argue that you hired the repair vendor and not the insurance company.
If your insurance company has selected who is going to repair your house, make sure that you keep notes about who you talked to and who actually picked the repair company. Be sure to read any documents you’re asked to sign so you don’t unknowingly sign something that says that you chose the repair vendor instead of the insurance company.
What are your options when your insurance company invokes its “repair option?”
If your insurance company has sent out a “preferred vendor”, “emergency services” company, or some other company to make repairs, that repair company is going to take instructions from the insurance adjuster and not from you. That means that critical decisions about how to repair your property, what exactly to repair, and the method of repair are all decided by the insurance company, not you.
We have seen cases where an insurance company sent out a water mitigation company to dry out a leak, and the insurance company wouldn’t let that water mitigation company remove wet drywall even though the repair company recommended it. We have also handled cases where a fire burned through a wall, and the insurance company wanted to repair it with a coat of new paint.
You do not have to accept the insurance company’s scope of repairs. If it seems like the insurance company is doing less than what is needed to return your property to the way it was, you can fight that in court. Sometimes what the insurance company is trying to pass off as a repair just doesn’t make sense. If you’re in this situation, you should look at getting a lawyer.
What to do about bad repairs?
Most people trust their insurance company to do the right thing. So, most of our cases involving bad repairs come in after the repairs have already taken place. These bad repairs come in many different forms: incomplete work, shoddy repairs, mismatched repairs, new damage caused during repairs, substandard work, and repairs that took far too long.
If your insurance company took control of repairs, the insurance company is liable for any harm or damages it caused by doing those repairs badly or slowly. Also, if the repair work didn’t put the property back in its pre-damage condition, the insurance company can be held liable for the cost of
If your insurance company sent a repair company to your property and you’re not sure about your rights and options, give us a call at (727) 440-3991 to talk about it. You can also reach out to us through the form on the side and a lawyer will reach out to you. We don’t charge anything for initial consultations and, if it turns out you have a case, we work on a “contingency fee,” meaning you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case.