Insurance company charging 8x amount of cost of repair?

  • by Trapped in LA
  • Oct 07,2019
  • 8 answers

One my drivers hit our metal awning of the place we are renting while backing up. It received minor damage and was pushed forward about 18 inches. I immediately notified our landlord and told her I would fix it. It was already in disrepair as one of the supports was cut in half, and 2 bent because of wind damage.
So the landlord buys material including all new supports, side frame and some sheeting. Total cost $525. We fix the awning and it's in much better condition than previous state. I ask landlord how we settle this and she tells me she'll take it out of next month's rent.
Here's where it gets complicated. She submitted it to insurance company. They tell her to not to bill me for materials as they will collect. So I get a $4300 bill from insurance company. Landlord is shocked, as she says they paid her only $2200.
So here I am. The awning is fixed. Me and my brother in law who does construction, spent 2 weekends fixing it. The materials cost $525, my landlord got $2200 and the insurance company wants to charge me $4300? Seems like fraud.
I'd rather pay the damages out of my own pocket. I have commercial insurance and don't want to submit it to them as I haven't had a claim in 13 years and don't want my premiums to go up
What to do?


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Insurance Answers (8)

car253 37 hours ago

Call the claim rep and tell them you owe them nothing but their deductible. That is the way it works.

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john 2 days ago

I'm sorry that that happened to you.
Here's a quasi-similar story that happened to us: We lost some shingles off of our roof during a hurricane. We contacted our insurance company. They sent one of their companies out and gave us an estimate of $5,000 to repair the roof. However, our deductible is $1,000. My husband said, "But it will only cost me $150 to repair the roof myself." So my husband repaired the roof himself to save the $850 deductible we would have had to pay had we gone through the insurance company instead.
Don't ask me why insurance is the way it is because I don't know. It's just weird.
But I have friends who have argued with the insurance companies successfully when the $ amount seems out of line, so don't throw in the towel yet.
"Be a squeaky wheel" seems to be good advice for you or your landlady, although do be a POLITE squeaky wheel. Good luck.

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lucy 6 days ago

As a general rule, insurance does (not) like to get involved in a claim, (after) repairs have been completed. They usually will get photos of the damages, then write an estimate of the cost to fix.
Now I have never handled homeowner claims, but am using my past experience with liability claims. You received a bill/notice for $4,300. They should have included an estimate which should have broken down the cost of the materials, plus the cost for labor (X hours) to fix this. Their could be additional costs, like the disposal of materials from the damages. Insurance, if this had been sent to (your) commercial insurance, would also show how much insurance (would) have paid (plus) the policyholder's deductible.
Now my "understanding" is that insurance does (not) reimburse back the deductible (till) the at fault party or insurance pays back to the insurance company. So the question is, could that $2,200 be what your landlord claims for materials vs $525? Or, they are billing you for labor, that you did.
It is too bad that you did not have photos of the (prior) damages. If so, then the prior damages should have been (subtracted) out of the total owed .

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Trapped in LA 7 days ago

Her deductible was $500. I'm not sure if that's off the $2200 or what she received after paying her deductible

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A Hunch 7 days ago

They paid her $2200.
But they paid a lot of internal employees salaries to process and review the claim.
What do you do? Offer the $2200 and see where it goes.
Also, in most areas this sounds like a job that would require permitting. Does it in your area? Did you get the proper permits?

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Casey Y 7 days ago

You mention a bunch of existing damage...did your landlord mention this?
Its took two people 2 weekends to fix this thing. Just because you did this out of pocket doesn't really mean much to me....even at $10 an hour for those two people...for 4 days...at 8 hours per day...that's at least $320. Now, assume a legitimate business was doing this. They would need to pay all sorts of taxes, workers comp and still have a profit margin. I think the numbers are legitimate...the fact that you did it for super cheap is cool and all...but doesn't really change the value associated with the damage.
Your numbers make no sense...your landlord did not get $2200 and you got billed for $4,300...meaning a $2100 deductible...that doesn't make any sense. A $2k deductible, sure...but nobody has a $2,100 deductible on property...period.

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Elaine M 7 days ago

So call them and contest it.

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Bort 7 days ago

The insurance company could have and should have been left out of the picture. Since they are involved there isn't much you can do other than pay it. If you try to explain that the landlord bought materials and you fixed it AND she got paid from them for it she is guilty of fraud. May or may not have been her intension.
It seems like you get along with the landlord so I suggest trying to work this out with her and not get her in trouble legally. I would offer reimbursing her for the materials, not charging her for the labor, asking her to pay that $2200 toward the $4300 bill they sent to you, and both of you split the balance. I think that's the only way either of you can escape possible fraud charges.
The insurance company sees a nice chunk 'o moolah coming so they're going to want that and nothing else or they're likely to take legal action. Don't give them any reason to do that. Just find a way to get them paid working something out with the landlord.
I am not accusing. It sounds to me like both you and the landlord were trying to do the right thing, get it fixed, and resolve it peacefully so you can both continue your landlord/tenant relationship in good, friendly, work-together way. That's great! But the insurance company is probably not going to see it that way. Especially since if they stick to whatever their take on the incident and damages were they have $4300 coming to them.
Another thought I'm having is that this is odd. Insurance companies to my knowledge usually don't charge the person at fault. Make sure this bill you got is legitimate before doing anything. To me it would be worth paying a lawyer 200 bucks or so to look in to this and advise me on what to do to be sure I do it right, stay out of legal trouble, and keep my insurance claim record clean.

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