When a large property loss has been deemed to be repaired or rebuilt, the insured policyholder should be aware of a variety of steps.
The focus on moving forward is often a therapeutic and positive healing component after a large loss occurs. Moments of loss and negative thoughts or memories will still surface, but planning and considering what will be new and fresh again can lift those heavy days.
If an extensive repair is the path to follow, your design ideas will be limited to the previous space, the current foundation, and likely even within the same framed structure. Your choice of finishes, both exterior and interior, will bring new life into the space, with some upgraded efficiency factors, such as Energy Star windows and doors with insulation values where required. Sometimes, all new mechanical fixtures and installations (ex: plumbing, electrical, and HVAC) will replace older systems, which will add some great value to your property for years to come.
With a total new rebuild, you will typically be able to redesign the structure entirely; either to fit your compensation budget or even add some of your own funds to improve the practicality or size of the property. Careful consideration of bylaw or setback, zoning, and conservation specifics will always precede any changes to the original footprint prior to the claim. A good contractor will be able to guide you through all additional cost considerations to your revised changes or ideas. Most importantly, ensure you have a written commitment to your rebuild compensation from the insurance company. This agreement forms the “foundation” from which you plan ahead; in some cases, where a rebuild or repair will de-rail if it’s not transparent or formally committed to.
These are some factors to reflect on when a claim process unfolds. Even if some sacrifices or policy limitations surface, there is often a silver lining aspect to recognize.
An essential process is finding a trustworthy contractor, but the following steps will outline some other aspects of your rebuild or repair.
- Remain focused and moving efficiently on the ‘content mountain’. Your adjuster will be looking for your lists and cost assessments for contents covered under the policy. This process can take a tremendous amount of time and energy to complete, but steady progress is key! This progress should be moving along congruently with your rebuild stages.
- Ensure your contractor is maintaining your budget and all financial parameters and that costs are reflected accurately. Your adjuster and contractor can precisely clarify this information.
- When all finishes are determined, ensure you have your furniture and appliances ordered. Confirm they will fit with new cabinetry or adjusted room sizes. If there were prior frustrations with these details, now is the time to resolve them before the project’s completion. Keep the furniture and appliance supplier updated with delivery details.
- Contact your insurance company to confirm that they will re-insure the new property, or at minimum, provide construction or builder-risk coverage. Sometimes, they won’t renew or rewrite your policy based on their corporate decision. If that occurs, it’s best to know ahead of time, so adequate time is allowed to secure a new insurer.
- Your temporary living accommodations should still be adequate and sufficient. If issues arise, let your adjuster know for some assistance. Extreme external circumstances shouldn’t add a burden to your load of processing through the claim process.
- Outline any communication expectations or requests you may have to all parties involved. Often, this is where challenge and negativity can develop. This project is your property, and you are the owner – you deserve to know any and all things that are occurring or will transpire.
- Ask the contractor what the site visit limitations or cautions are. The Ministry of Labor protocols are particular for site safety, so it’s essential to respect the contractor’s liability exposure if and when you would like to inspect the progress.
- Updating your mortgage company or lender of the progress is also a prudent and appreciated effort. They often don’t know how things are moving along yet have a significant interest in the success of the rebuild.
- Pursue counselling or therapy for any trauma or emotional strain you have experienced from the claim or loss. Self-care can often be overlooked during this busy and stressful process. Family or pet loss is the highest of priority when it has occurred during the loss event. Trying to be resilient and strong for others isn’t a viable long-term approach.
In summary, many details are critical to consider and address apart from just the physical “bricks and mortar” rebuild of the property. Maintaining a big-picture view and a positive outlook will provide for a greater optimistic and successful outcome.
If you’ve experienced a large property loss and are looking for a trustworthy builder, contact us. Rebuild Response is the only contracting company with specialized services to the rebuild process across Ontario. With over 50 years of combined building experience, you will understand why the insurance industry has relied on Rebuild Response for the past decade. To learn more, go to www.rebuildresponse.com.