Colorado Insurance Freedom of Choice
After a disaster occurs, you have a million things on your mind. You need to repair the damage, and fast. You’re busy talking to the insurance company and trying to get your home back to normal. The last thing you need is to end up with a restoration provider who does shoddy work.
The problem is, during these times of stress is exactly when you’re most vulnerable. If your insurance company tells you that you can only use certain providers or they won’t pay for the work, you’re apt to believe them. This could mean that you end up using a restoration company you otherwise wouldn’t have, just because you feel like that’s your only option.
What’s important to know is that you have rights.
On September 13, 2007, Governor Bill Ritter signed HB 07-1104 into law. This law prevents insurance companies from controlling – directly or indirectly – which restoration company you use to restore your property after a fire.
This is essential because when businesses have to compete for your project, it keeps prices low and quality high. If someone knows they’ll get your business no matter what, they have no incentive to do their best work.
Remember that insurance companies:
- Exist to make a profit.
- Have a conflict of interest between their responsibility to you and their responsibility to shareholders to minimize payouts and maximize profits.
- Sometimes have deals in place with specific restoration and construction companies.
Since insurance companies can benefit from having you choose certain restoration providers, that means that the providers they recommend aren’t necessarily those who will do the best job restoring your home.
Throughout this stressful time, it is essential to know your rights, so that you don’t get taken advantage of.
So, what are your rights? This bill outlines that your insurance company:
- May not require you to use any specific restoration company.
- Cannot coerce, threaten, or incent you to use a particular company.
- Cannot use disincentives of any kind to discourage you from using the restoration firm of your choice.
- Cannot lie or misinform you so that you use their choice.
- May provide a list of restoration companies to consider, but must tell you that you are free to choose -- they cannot threaten otherwise.
- Is required to ensure that the estimate is adequate to restore your property to a pre-loss condition within a reasonable time.
- Must promptly pay the fair market price for the restoration, in accordance with your policy provisions.
- Must tell you about any ownership interests in or affiliated business arrangements with a restoration provider when they recommend a firm in which they have a financial interest.
Additionally, it outlines that you, the consumer:
- Are entitled to see a copy of the estimate upon which your settlement is paid.
- Have the right to know if your insurance company has a business arrangement with your restoration company.
- Have the right to have your claim paid promptly, regardless of your chosen contractor.
So, there you have it! You are protected by law, and you are the one in charge of your restoration process. If you’re in the process of restoring your home, we at Abbotts wish you the best of luck during a very stressful time, and would love to be of assistance in any way we can.
A link to the law can be found via http://www.leg.state. co.us/. If you feel that your rights have been violated, you can file a written complaint with the Colorado Insurance Commissioner.
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