Hi Joe, we recently had a serious leak from a 2nd floor bathroom, which found its way down to our kitchen, forcing drywall to the ground, and then it worked its way through our cabinets and ruined them and of course then it ruined the wood floor. WE HAD A MESS!! The good news: the insurance company has been out and reviewed the damage and will cover fixing all the damage, thank goodness! However, my husband and I have considered making changes to the kitchen for a while now and do not want to put it back the same way it was. We are hoping we can make changes to the layout of the kitchen since it is getting re-done anyway? Your thoughts?
Royal Oak, MI
Joanne, you win the most popular question award! We’ve heard this no less than a hundred times before, so I will make it simple. The short answer is; YES, you can put your kitchen back the way you want it. The long answer is; the insurance company is only responsible for what was damaged in the claim. Insurance companies allow for restoration of “like kind and quality” of what existed before (equivalent value). Your adjustor should have thoroughly explained this to you. Anything you change or upgrade outside the claim will be out of your own pocket.
Of course, extraordinary circumstances can complicate otherwise ordinary claims. The big question is; was the claim big enough that you had to evacuate the home for any period of time? If so, then there is more to the answer. The insurance company is responsible for your accommodations as long as you are restoring “like kind and quality”. If you made changes beyond the limits of the claim that will extend your stay out of the home (maybe you decided to move walls, remodel a bathroom, paint the entire house etc.), the insurance company is not responsible for the extended time period out of the home. If you’re not moving out, then you shouldn’t be concerned. Make the desired changes you wish.
Now, I am putting on my builder and restoration hat. Before you consider selecting a contractor and making the changes, you should have a complete understanding of the scope of work your insurance company is paying for and what you are planning that exceeds their responsibility. Insurance and restoration companies write a very detailed scope of work with specific industry terminology and lingo that can easily confuse the average person. I seriously recommend that you call CONSTRUCTEAM for a free consultation before you move further in the process to ensure that you don’t get caught with another leak, this time not in the pipes, but in your pocket book.
Joseph P. Cipriano Jr.