TEXAS STRONG!! Just days post storm this message was seen and heard at every turn. From social media to handmade signs in every community around the coastal bend, this was our collective mantra.
So many first-responders and people from all over descended upon our coastal towns to help us. This message was like a beaming lighthouse. They were all here to help us to REBUILD - TEXAS STRONG. The outpouring of assistance from complete strangers, neighbors helping neighbors, communities banding together, made us feel truly hopeful. Many of my friends and so many others spent their weekends organizing clean-up efforts. People gave the shirts off their backs to those who had lost everything. No one paused in these efforts to help others. It was all goodness.
However, the kind hearts and heroic efforts of everyone faded all too quickly into a harsh reality as thousands faced the monumental task to rebuild. The superheroes were being rapidly replaced by the CON's. They came by the truckloads. Just when we had gotten used to the giving spirit of others, the takers came to take their share. They came looking to profit from the epic losses of those in need of good advice. The bad and the ugly rained down on South Texas making flood waters and relentless winds seem like chapter 1 of an unending horror. The CON's may be everywhere, but we want you to know the PRO's are here too. And we are ready to help.
I asked myself, what can we at Space do right now to help others to REBUILD? The obvious came to mind. We can get better pricing and discounts on materials, furnishings and lighting. That's something. But as the calls keep coming in, I'm realizing most people don't have a clear understanding of their rights as the Insured. The claims process is confusing and a lot of people aren't getting good, solid answers.
Further, very few know that you don't have to accept the insurance adjusters offer as final. I know this. But where could I find this information in print? I'm not an attorney. This information needed to come from a trusted legal PRO. SO, I looked to find the legal eagle PRO's and their opinions. Where would I find this very pertinent and desperately needed information quickly?
I did what any normal person these days would do. I looked to my trusted frenemy, GOOGLE. The results: worse than a late night browse through WebMd, were frustrating and frightening. I kept coming across the same confusing information again and again. The stupefying mountain of BS left me angry. I knew the answers were there. But, they were buried deep in propaganda and useless information. Brought to you by none other than insurance companies, CON attorneys and government bureaucracy. Solutions came in the form of what we shouldn’t do, rather than what we should do. NOT HELPFUL! I found step by step ways to do everything but REBUILD. So, I kept digging. Here's what I found.
I would highly recommend that you check out a site called: Unitedpolicyholders.org. This is a site dedicated to empowering the insured to know their rights. Read through their Q and A section. You might have total losses or maybe only a partial loss. Whatever you are facing, they address it somewhere on this site. The BIG take-away from this resource is: - DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS THAN WHAT YOU ARE DUE. Your adjuster is NOT your friend. He or she might be really nice, but this is big business, my friends. Just know that their first offer is nothing more than that - an offer. You can and should negotiate to REBUILD your home or business to the condition it was in prior to the storm. This is where the PRO's can really help.
REBUILD vs. REMODEL is something that should be discussed. To REBUILD means to build something after it has been damaged or destroyed. To REMODEL means to change the structure or form of something. This is an important difference to understand as you talk to your adjuster. They are there to talk about how to REBUILD your structure. Mention the word REMODEL to them and an ice storm might be the next disaster you face.
While the insurance company isn't obligated to build you a new home or to remodel it into a new and better design, they are required to pay out whatever is needed to get your home back to its pre-storm condition. If you feel that this just isn't happening for you in a fair way, reach out to local professionals to get their written opinions on damages that your adjuster is refusing to pay out. Collect these letters of opinion from contractors, designers, and/or installers (you'll need more than one) to send them to your adjuster. This process has helped to get our clients what they deserve the first time, without hassle. It's more work, but this could make the rebuilding process turn into more of a remodel for you in the end. Calling in the PRO's to stiff arm the CON's can mean building back better than before. They can help guide you on how to use your claim money most effectively. They can also assist you in identifying issues you haven't thought through (given your state of shock), using their best trade discounts to affect your claim, and offer better design ideas just for starters.
While we don't want anyone to ask for more than their fair share, we do want people to have what is rightfully theirs. As you and your family get through this, we hope you find the best PRO to help you build back. Call us if you need some guidance. We are here during this time to do our part. Working together, we believe that's how to rebuild TEXAS STRONG!