Q: Will you cover my deductible?
A: Many companies advertise that they will cover your deductible. In our opinion, this is nothing more than submitting fraudulent invoices to your insurance company. We will not do that. We will do the amount of work appropriate for the job, and bill for those services. We will do no more, and no less.
Q: Do we have to use the company the insurance company wants us to use?
A: No, you do not. In fact, some insurance companies will tell their clients that the bills will not be paid if they do not use their preferred firm. This is simply not true. Under Florida law, you have the right to choose your contractor. The choice is simple: Do you want to use a company who is looking out for the insurance company, or a company that is looking out for you?
During the last twenty-plus years of serving Southwest Florida, Firewater has built very positive relationships with the companies and adjusters working in this area. As a result, it is rare that we are unable to reach an agreement with any and all insurance companies and adjusters.
Q: Do you work for the insurance company?
A: While Firewater has worked cooperatively with every insurance company operating in the State of Florida, we do not work for any insurance company. We work for you, the home or business owner. Although we have been invited to join direct repair networks by a number of different insurance companies, we have decided not to join them. We do not believe it is possible to serve two masters. In this case, our client is you.
Q: Will your homeowners insurance cover damage if the home hasn’t been inspected or occupied for an extended period of time?
A: “Penny wise and pound foolish” aptly describes those who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Florida property, but won’t spend pennies a day to protect their investment.
Some of the worst damage that we have seen would have been prevented had the home been checked at least once a month. A problem that is small and virtually undetectable can be far more devastating than one that is large and easily noticeable.
For example, I recall arriving at a home on Marco Island, while a man was being loaded onto an ambulance. He was shouting, “Tell Mary I’m not going to sue!” The home was an absolute disaster. The mold was so thick on the walls that it looked like flocked wallpaper. There were small mushrooms growing out of the master bedroom carpet. Every door, carpet, and cabinet was black with mold and blown apart from moisture. The entire interior needed to be gutted, down to the framing.
This was all because of a slow drip! The water had been shut off, both at the water meter and at the main where it entered the house. Both shutoffs failed. The laundry room faucet had a slow drip, which would not have been too bad except a neighbor had advised the homeowner to put the drain plug in place. This same neighbor had agreed to check the home twice a month.
Unfortunately, his good intentions did not translate to activity. The first time that this neighbor entered the home in five months was just before the homeowner, Mary, was due to return for the season. When he entered the house, he slipped on the tile floor and broke his leg. This same neighbor was the man being loaded onto the ambulance.
Had he entered the home even once during the summer, this damage could have been avoided. Even had he not seen the drip, the smell of mold would have prompted further investigation.
Remember: when you are getting something for free, you’re likely to get what you pay for.
—George F. Wilson, President of Firewater Construction Services, Inc.