If you’re a contractor repairing insurance claim-related damages, you may have received a copy of the adjuster’s Xactimate® repair estimate. If so, it likely means the adjuster has paid the claim based on his own estimate for what he feels the damages are worth, or he is attempting to do so. Sometimes this works out fine and the adjuster pays a sufficient amount for all of the work necessary. However, sometimes an adjuster can underestimate the damages and thus underpay the claim. There can be several reasons for this, but the most common is the adjuster not having enough construction experience to know what actually needs to go into the project to get it done right.
When a claim has been underpaid, it needs to be corrected. Unfortunately, that burden usually falls on the contractor—at least initially. You, as the contractor, have to prove to the adjuster that the job is going to cost more than he has estimated—and he is going to want documentation with itemization to see where the price differences lie. The best way to achieve this is to supplement the adjuster’s Xactimate estimate with your own Xactimate estimate since it provides the documentation and itemization needed, and since its pricing methods are the same as those used by the adjuster. Following are a couple of methods for supplementing an Xactimate estimate.
Method 1: Agree to the work outlined in the adjuster’s estimate PLUS the work outlined in your supplemental estimate
Sometimes the bulk of an adjuster’s estimate can be good and well-thought-out, but a couple of really important (and possibly big-ticket) items have been overlooked. Or maybe a number of relatively minor items have been left out, but those items would add up to make the project profitable whereas it otherwise wouldn’t be. In either of these circumstances, it’s very easy to say, “I agree to the adjuster’s scope of work for the amount outlined in his estimate, BUT I also propose to do the additional scope of work outlined in MY supplemental estimate as both are necessary for completing the project as a whole.” In other words, you are combining two estimates: the adjuster’s estimate and yours. This approach is easy and doesn’t involve “reinventing the wheel” (i.e. rewriting the adjuster’s entire estimate) since you are simply submitting a quick supplemental estimate of missing or overlooked items for consideration.
Method 2: Write your own estimate using agreeable portions of the adjuster’s estimate PLUS missing items you wish to add*
Sometimes a good chunk of an adjuster’s estimate isn’t based in reality. When this happens, his estimate as a whole can’t be salvaged. However, there may still be some items in his estimate that you are agreeable to. If this happens, the best thing to do is write your own fresh estimate incorporating items in the adjuster’s estimate that you are agreeable to, and adding to it any items you feel are missing. This type of estimate takes more time to write since you are, essentially, creating a fresh estimate. But the end product looks better and is usually less confusing for those reviewing it since the entire scope of work appears in one document and on your letterhead only.
*This method technically isn’t a supplement since you are creating a fresh estimate. However, you are incorporating into your estimate the agreeable items from the adjuster’s estimate and supplementing them with additional items of your choosing. So, it is similar to a supplement.
With either of the above methods, you are submitting an Xactimate estimate for missing and overlooked items, and that alone is a major step toward reaching an agreed repair cost with an adjuster who also uses Xactimate. Once you are able to agree with the adjuster on the scope of work within an Xactimate estimate, the pricing is usually settled since it is the same pricing system used by the adjuster.
If you have an adjuster’s estimate that you feel may be missing items necessary to complete the project correctly, Assistimate would be happy to review it, along with any photos of your project, and provide you with an opinion of what you could potentially include in an Xactimate supplement. Please Contact Us today for more details.