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thru-hiker 12-02-2010 12:50 PM

Insurance claim for vinyl siding
My retired parents have lived in the same house for 18 years. A few months ago yard signs for a specific contractor began popping up all over the neighborhood. A representative of the contractor came to the door and informed them that because of a large hail storm the previous year they could file a claim with their insurance to have the siding replaced. They could barely remember the storm and although the aluminum siding was a bit worn and dingy they had never noticed any storm damage. At first they were skeptical but when neighbors starting getting claims approved and got quality vinyl siding installed they relented and signed up. The contract stated that they would replace the siding for whatever amount the insurance paid and would even drop the deductible in exchange for them putting up a yard sign. My parents are on a fixed income and the house is their main asset so it seemed crazy not to accept windfall even it didn't feel 100% kosher.
Now that they have been approved for 19k my mother has become upset that the contractor did the exact same job for the next door neighbors for 8k and the neighbors down the street were also allotted a new roof by their insurance for about the same 19k claim check. She asked me to sit in on a meeting with the contractor. When I mentioned the cost differential he immediately offered an upgrade of slightly thicker vinyl but said that it was all he could do. Any other work done on that claim would be insurance fraud. He also claimed that they were doing some jobs at a loss and only profited on the aggregate of all claims.
I know this sounds like a classic case of looking a gift horse in the mouth. My mother is not a greedy person but she is very frugal and is upset that some of the money can't go to other home repair projects that have been on hold for budget reasons. Personally, I think she has to come to terms with the fact that she is getting a windfall even if it means excessive profits for company very adept at gaming the system. I'd be curious to know how any of you feel about this. Also, what is a fair price for vinyl siding on mid-sized two-story colonial in the Philly area?

DrHicks 12-02-2010 12:57 PM

I think you need to get all the legal information in place before you let this contractor touch anything.

Make sure you get his license number, insurance information, etc. Make sure you communicate with your folks' insurance company to make sure everything is above board.

Make sure all your bases are covered.

DexterII 12-02-2010 01:22 PM

Since you did not mention that they actually had storm damage, I can only assume that they did not. Also, I would never agree to any manner of contract based soley on what I could get someone else to pay for. So, in my opinion, this has WRONG written all over it. But that's me. If in fact there is a legitimate claim, my recommendation would be to contact a local, reputable siding company, and get an estimate from them. And, if your locale permits, in other words if there are more than one in the area, I would get two or three estimates, and select the one that you and/or your parents are most comfortable with. Be sure to get a copy of their insurance before they begin their work. Having only heard one side of it, although it sounds very typical of such "contractors", I would exclude the "storm chaser", and move on. Simply one man's opinion.

Gary in WA 12-02-2010 02:29 PM

Have your parents call an AARP rep for you to learn more, or a free senior citizens knowledgeable person donating their time with the community. Look in the phone book.


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