What is Overhead and Profit?

When you receive the adjuster’s breakdown of your insurance claim, look for the line items Overhead and Profit. Commonly known as O&P, this covers the cost of a general contractor to oversee your reconstruction.

Depending on the size of your claim, your repairs may take several tradespeople to complete. Examples of tradespeople are painters, wallpaper hangers, carpenters, masons, electricians, and plumbers. If your reconstruction needs at least three trades, a general contractor is considered necessary to coordinate and supervise the job. Whether you want to hire one is up to you, but you’re entitled to be paid for the expense.

O&P covers the general contractor’s time and expenses and is usually calculated as a percentage of the overall cost of the job. Overhead covers the cost of equipment, facilities, and operations for the job. Profit is how the general contractor earns a living.

We often see the O&P omitted and if you don’t know you’re entitled to it, you won’t know to ask for it. Take a look at the adjuster’s summary, usually on the last page of the estimate, and check for the line items Overhead and Profit. If you don’t see it and can’t find it anywhere else in the estimate, ask the adjuster to add it. This is a legitimate expense and you are entitled to collect it.

Contact Us Today!

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the course of your claim. We’ll make sure you get your O&P and everything else you’re entitled to. Contact us today via email, or by giving us a call at 508-588-4243.

Be Prepared for the 2018 Hurricane Season

A hurricane can be a traumatic experience. And if your property is damaged, it’s the beginning of another ordeal – the insurance claim process. Hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 1, so we still have a way to go. The 2018 season is predicted to be average or above. We learned some valuable lessons from Winter Storm Riley that we can apply to a hurricane claim and here are a few tips to prepare yourself for a possible insurance claim.

Know your policy

The best thing you can do before a hurricane hits is to take a look at your policy to make sure you won’t have any surprises should you need to file a claim.

Hurricane claims can be complicated because there can be two causes of loss: windstorm and flooding. Windstorm will be covered by your homeowner’s policy. Flooding is covered by the federal government through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you haven’t purchased flood insurance, you may not be covered for flood. Here’s a blog post we wrote about it.

To add to the complexity, some policies have a separate deductible for wind claims, which is higher than the regular deductible. You may not even know that you have a different windstorm deductible and you don’t want to find out after a loss. It’s either a set amount or may be a percentage of your dwelling coverage. For example, if your dwelling coverage is $400,000 and you have a 2% wind deductible, your total deductible will be $8,000. After Riley, we had several clients whose wind deductibles amounted to over $12,000! Sometimes the wind deductible can zero out your whole claim.

Take a look at your policy’s declaration page and find the deductible. If you have a separate windstorm deductible, it will be written somewhere nearby. Here’s another blog post about it.

Prepare for your physical safety

Aside from preparing for an insurance claim, be sure to prepare for your physical safety. Have a hurricane kit at the ready and know your evacuation route. Things happen really fast in a hurricane and you need to be ready at a moment’s notice.

A Guide to Smoke and Fire Damage and the Claim Process

Big or small, a fire in your home is pretty scary. And the damage fire can cause is scarier still. Contact your public adjuster as soon as possible, even while the fire is still burning. He or she can take a huge burden off your plate as you take care of your family.

Right after the fire, you’ll need to protect the property from further damage and secure it from trespassers. This is done by board-up specialists. The public adjuster can handle the board-up specialist for you, from directing them during the board-up, to billing the insurance company, and board removal.

Another thing public adjusters can help you with is securing alternate living arrangements. The options include a trailer on the property, a hotel, or even an apartment with your choice of rented furnishings.

Cleaning up after a fire is best left to professionals. Not only is entering a home after a fire danger, soot and smoke require special chemicals and tools to remove. Your public adjuster can help secure and manage remediation and demo specialists for you.

A public adjuster can be with you through the life of your claim process, which is always longer and more stressful than you think it’s going to be. 

Contact Us Today!

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the course of your claim. Contact us today via email, or by giving us a call at 508-588-4243 .

Sump Pumps & Massachusetts

Sump Pump in your basement? The sump pump endorsement is a MUST.

During the spring Nor’easters, plenty of folks in eastern Massachusetts, including myself, experienced prolonged power outages. It was bad enough not to be able to charge our devices, but my sump pump shut down allowing the water to flow out into the basement.

I said to myself, “Bummer. But it seems like a pretty straightforward, covered claim.” Wrong! Unbeknownst to me, I didn’t have the special sump pump endorsement on my policy. Without that endorsement, if the sump pump shuts down for ANY reason, you are out of luck.

I took a look at the Exclusions section of my policy and was horrified to see right there in black and white that water which overflows or is otherwise discharged from a sump, sump pump, or related equipment is not covered. So, even though the power in the whole neighborhood was out through no fault of my own, my sump pump failure was not covered.

I found it counterintuitive for this to be excluded. A homeowner mitigates risk of flooding by installing the sump pump in the first place. A power outage occurs, and the sump pump fails. It has nothing to do with poor maintenance or lack of due diligence. But apparently, insurance companies consider this such a common occurrence, they decided to make it an endorsement rather than a standard coverage.

Chalking it up to a good learning experience, I called my insurance agent and added the endorsement to my policy the next day. It wouldn’t help me for this incident but would if it ever happens again. The endorsement provides limited coverage for sump pump failure – usually $2,500 or $5,000 – and it should cost less than $100 per year. If you have a sump pump, you should have this endorsement. Your agent may not ask you if you have one (mine didn’t), so you need to let them know. Check your current policy. If it’s not there, add it. You don’t want to be surprised after the fact like I was.

Contact Us Today!

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the course of your claim. Contact us today via email, or by giving us a call at 508-588-4243 .

Should I Hire a Public Adjuster or an Attorney?

Public adjusters’ area of expertise comes into play during the life of a normal insurance claim. Public adjusters have experience in all aspects of all types of insurance claims and will create a strategy for your claim that will bring you the best possible results.

What Does a Public Adjuster Do?

A public adjuster is a licensed insurance claims professional who advocates for the insured. Public adjusters have many responsibilities to your claim:

  • Determining whether your claim is worth presenting to the insurance company
  • Preparing a comprehensive estimate of damage
  • Managing the claims process including communications with your insurance company and their adjuster
  • Negotiating on your behalf to get you the best settlement possible

I’ve been handling the claim myself, but the insurance company is not giving me satisfaction. What now?

It’s not too late to hire a public adjuster. He or she can take over the claim and usually will bring about a satisfactory settlement.

When your public adjuster’s efforts have been exhausted, and the insurance company is still denying your claim, your only recourse may be legal action. Only an attorney can represent you in court – not a public adjuster. Taking the insurance company to court is uncommon, but it does happen. But generally, a public adjuster will be able to handle your claim from start to finish.

Contact Us Today!

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the course of your claim. Contact us today via email, or by giving us a call at 508-588-4243 .

How Can I Place a Water Damage Claim?

Water Damage Claim?

Water damage claims are the source of consternation for claimants. It’s probable that your policy doesn’t cover some types of water damage. It depends where the water came from and what caused it.

Where Did the Water Come From?

If the water came from above the ground, you’re probably covered under your regular policy. An example is a water comes in through a hole caused by a covered peril (like a tree falling on your roof in a windstorm). The resulting water damage is covered. If water came in from the ground outside the house, or below it, you could be out of luck unless you have a federal flood insurance policy. If the flood came from inside the house, then it depends on what caused it.

What Caused It?

Following are some causes of water damage and whether they’re covered.

  • Washing machine overflowed: probably covered.
  • Sump pump failed: you need a special provision on your policy for that.
  • Water damage caused by ice dams: probably covered.
  • Boiler broke down and flooded the basement: probably covered depending on how the boiler was maintained.
  • Frozen pipes burst: probably covered if you’ve made every effort to maintain heat inside the building.
  • Air conditioner leak from your attic: probably covered.
  • Leak from an old roof: the interior damage is probably covered, the roof is not.

You get the idea – water damage is not black and white. Knowing the cause of the water damage and knowing what your policy covers are keys to putting in a good claim. Remember, just calling the insurance company about a claim puts a black mark on your record – even if the claim is denied. You’ll want to be sure about the claim before you call the company.

Contact Us Today!

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters offers many services and can truly help you throughout the entire life-cycle of a claim. Contact us today by sending us an email, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243.

Leaky Roofs and Insurance Coverage

When you start to see water stains forming on your ceiling, the most obvious cause is a leaky roof. Is this damage covered by your insurance? The answer is probably. Can you get a new roof? The answer is maybe.

Causes of Water Damage

A few things can cause water to come into the house through the roof, like a windstorm, ice dams, a fallen tree, and openings caused by normal wear and tear. Interior damage resulting from any of these causes is usually covered by your homeowner’s policy (although commercial policies may be different). But what about the roof?

General Rule of Thumb for Roof Damage

If your roof is damaged by some unforeseen event, like a windstorm, the roof itself, and the resulting interior damage are usually covered. If water gets in through an opening created by the roof’s normal wear and tear, the resulting damage inside is usually covered, but the roof is not.

If you are able to collect on your roof, you may be entitled to a whole slope to make sure the shingles all match.

Contact Us Today!

Water damage is very prevalent in New England during the spring. Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters offers many services and can truly help you throughout the entire life-cycle of a claim. Contact us today for help with water damage claims by sending us an email, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243!

Don’t Let a High Wind Deductible Blow Your Claim

As we work through all of the claims that came in from March’s Nor’easters, we have had to share disappointing news with some of our clients. Some policies have a separate deductible for wind claims, which is higher than the regular deductible. You may not even know that you have a different windstorm deductible. You don’t want to find out after a loss.

Why Do They Do This?

When there’s a big wind event, like March’s Nor’easters, insurance companies won’t just have a claim from you; they’ll have one from practically everybody else in the affected area. Higher wind deductibles offset the financial burden that comes with having to pay several losses all at once.

How Do You Know If You Have A Higher Wind Deductible?

Look at your declarations page, usually the first page of the policy – the one with your name and address on it. You’ll see your regular deductible and nearby, the wind deductible if you have one. Your wind deductible may be a flat figure, like $2,000. Or it may have a percentage of 2%. The percentage is of the limit of liability for your dwelling. For example, if your dwelling coverage is $200,000, your 2% windstorm deductible is $4,000.

Check your Policy.

Higher wind deductibles fall into the bad surprise category, especially if the deductible is higher than the actual claim, in which case, you get zero. Take a look at your policy and find out if you have a wind deductible. If you do, contact your agent to see if there’s any way to lower it. With hurricane season right around the corner, don’t compound the trauma of a loss with the shock of a zero-dollar settlement.

Contact Us Today!

Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters offers many services and can truly help you understand your policy. Contact us today by sending us an email, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243!

Late Winter Storms & Damage Costs

Winter storms, whether they are snow and ice related, or water and wind-related, cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage in the United States every year. Therefore, it is crucial to understand your homeowner’s policy to know what you are covered for. Flooding is one of the things that are not always covered by a regular homeowner’s policy, so if you live in an area where flooding happens even occasionally, you may want to invest in flood insurance.

Common Claims in Winter

Roof Failure: Due to the snow and ice of the winters in New England, we often see that the weight of this snow and ice can cause a lot of problems with roofing. One way to prevent this is by hiring a professional to clean heavy snow off your roof.

Trees Falling: Trees fall during the winter due to high winds or the weight of snow. Fallen trees can wreak havoc on your house, shed, pool, fence, and backyard. Tree claims are usually covered.

Sump Pump Failure Caused by Power Outage: We have a ton of these claims this month and it’s hard to tell people it’s probably not covered. Any type of sump pump failure, even if it’s due to a power failure outside of your home, is not covered unless you have a special endorsement on the policy.

Ice Dams: Ice dams can cause interior water damage. We saw a lot of this type of damage back in 2015 during all of the blizzards. Damage caused by ice dams is usually covered.

Frozen Pipes: The water flowing through your pipes can freeze which can cause them to burst and create a flood. This type of flooding is generally covered unless you haven’t maintained an appropriate level of heat in the house.

House Fires: While seeming like the least obvious claim that you’d have to make in the winter, house fires are common because of the increased use in heating and lighting systems in the wintertime.

Contact Us Today!

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the entire life-cycle of a claim. Contact us today by sending us an email, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243!

Springtime Damage & Public Adjusters

Springtime is a time for new beginnings. The snow starts to melt and we’re on our way to flowers, summer, and sunshine. But this blissful outlook can flip like a switch when spring actually begins in full force. The spring thaw and the storms that typically occur during this time period can cause a lot of damage to your home, and you need to make sure you’re covered for whatever happens.

What Kind of Coverage Do I Need?

The first thing you should do when getting new insurance for your home is read the whole policy through to know exactly what you are covered for. Not all policies are the same. Don’t be surprised at the worst possible moment. Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters can look over your policy to ensure you’re covered for any event.

What Can Cause Damage in the Spring?

Trees

Trees have a tendency to fall at the most inconvenient times and in the most inconvenient places. During storms in the springtime, it’s common for trees to fall, causing damage to homes as well as backyards and pool areas. Fallen trees are generally covered by your homeowner’s policy.

Hail

Hail can cause very bad roof damage, as well as damage to your siding. Damage caused by hail is generally covered.

Water Damage

bob estimating water damageA spring thaw could bring flooding which can devastate a home. Remember, some flooding is only covered by federal flood insurance, so be sure to double check this coverage so that you can be properly compensated in the event of a flood.

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the entire life-cycle of a claim. Contact us today by sending us an email, or by giving us a call at 508.588.4243!