This is an example of why you need reserves before buying a rental property. On Sept. 3rd, a drunk driver plowed through my single-family rental in Independence, MO. The link to the news clip is below. The news got everything right except the tenant was not the owner.
Luckily, no one was home. My insurance coverage is in effect, but there is a $2500 deductible. I can cover that because I saved. This isn't something that really can be anticipated, like buying a home with an old roof or old HVAC, but one needs to plan for it.
I'm posting this because I've never seen a post about someone going through an insurance claim. I'm sure I'll learn something along the way, and will update this thread once more is known.
The adjuster is not your friend. Question all estimates and get your own numbers
@Caroline Gerardo is spot on. Insurance adjuster isn't your friend. But a public adjuster is. Find and hire one. They pay for themselves. Glad no one hurt and you have coverage. Probably all work out well in the end.
@Ryan Fox was the driver insured, if so why isn't the claim being filed against the driver's insurance?
I'm glad no one was hurt. I agree with Brendan that the drunk driver's insurance should be paying.
@Brendan Miller - Yep, the driver was insured, and we're going after his insurance.
@Ryan Fox , ok good! I was confused by the $2500 deductible part, I thought you were having to pay the deductible on your home insurance policy which didn't make sense to me. That is definitely a wild story, it's good to hear that no one was hurt. That'll definitely be one of most memorable landlord stories to tell, I can't imagine getting that call from a tenant!
This really blows and I hope you get to a decent conclusion here. I've had a drunk driver plow through a 6x8 external rear porch roof support on one of my properties. I fixed it myself and didn't go through insurance.
I 100% agree with @Scott M. get a public adjuster. My mother’s house was damaged by a tornado and our public adjuster got her almost triple the original amount. I would check that they are a member of NAPIA (National association of Public Insurance Adjusters) and also check references. Good luck!
I appreciate all the responses above, will look into the public adjustor option as the insurance thinks this is only a $40k loss.
A couple things:
1. If you put the claim in through your company, they will pay you minus the deductible and will attempt to recover everthing from the drivers carrier in a process called Subrogation. Locally, that process takes about 18 months. The claim is put before an arbitrator who determines the percentage liable. If the drivers company is determined to be 90% liable, they will pay back your company 90% of the loss and your company will refund you 90% of the deductible.
2. If you hire a public adjuster, they are generally compensated by a percentage of the claim payment. That means that if the claim is $40,000 then you will net out less than that. They claim that they will recover more so you will net out with more.
3. If you are not local to the property, it may be worth hiring the public adjuster just to have them handle the adjuster visits, etc.
4. be sure to include the lost income in your claims.