Fire damage

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Bill Arden, May 29, 2009.

  1. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    My garage and part of my house burned memorial day. :(

    The insurance company thinks that it's possible to...
    1. Gut the entire house to the studs.
    2. replace the roof trusses.
    3. rewire the entire house and replace the main panels.
    4. replace the entire interior.

    This would only save the concrete slab and the wall studs.

    I just don't see how there "replacement" estimate will possibly be less than the $81,000 limit that my policy covers.

    I also think it would be hard to completely replace a 24x36 insulated, wired, and fished workshop with in floor heat for less than the $58,000 limit

    I still think it will be cheaper to just bulldoze the place and buy some other place given the current house prices.

    Thoughts?
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Not to rub salt in the wound, but how is is that you only have $81,000 insurance coverage? If you are grossly underinsured, you could have a case of negligence against the company, but difficult to prove.

    Not a builder, but it seems that if the roof has to be replaced....wow! First thing is to get some estimates. It may be less than you think. Sounds like the insurance company was not aware of your finished shop, so you might be screwed on that!
  3. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    Around here you are only required to have liability along with enough coverage to cover the loans on the place.

    For example: My folks only have liability since they don't have any loans on the property.
  4. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    I'm really sorry to hear this happened Bill. I hope everyone is okay and things will be alright for you.


  5. Move. You was underinsured. Always have 'replacement value' insurance at all times because that is what you have to do when things go wrong; replace it.


    If you try to do all that under the small amount of money you're given.....it will turn into a major crisis that will leave you arguing/cutting down contractors to do the work.

    Bulldoze it and sell the lot, or take that 81 grand and it towards a foreclosed home that is seriously undervalued right now.

    What caused the fire?
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Bill, as I said, I am not trying to rub salt in your wounds. But if you cannot afford fire insurance on a house, you can't afford to live in it. Your life's hard-earned asset is at risk.

    But to the problem now: One of the reasons to literally strip to bare walls and rebuild, rather than bulldoze, is codes. If you keep the walls, you also get to keep or grandfather any possible zoning issues, like setbacks, FAR, grading, parking specs, etc. etc. It is done all the time here for people remodeling their property. If you scrape, then you have to totally comply with all current zoning and planning specs. Depending on what you have, that could make it prohibitively expensive to rebuild.

    You WILL have to comply with all current plumbing and electrical codes as you rebuild, and that DOES add up. One electrician told me the new requirement that basically everything is on either a GFCI or an AFCI, and ALL outlets must be child proof, can add $2 grand to an 1800 sqft house. Not every city has invoked the 2008 NEC, but it is coming.
  7. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    Come on, let's have a bit of optimism here. Just see what can be done. My gut feeling is that you could do what you want to do for the 81,000. Even where I live....in the North East.

    I do think, however, that getting the workshop rebuilt within that is pushing things a bit too far. But having a home is more important. Right?
  8. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
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    Bill, now is the time to think about how you want to rebuild. If it was a 3 bedroom, your parents might want to think about a 2 bedroom, you might want to eliminate a diningroom, have a nice, eat-in kitchen; if you had a 2 bathroom, nothing wrong with just one. Heck, their will be codes, but, so far how you want to rebuild with no mortage loans you can change things to what you want. It is your game and I would take advantage to doing things differently. It could actually end up being to your advantage.

    I know someone who had a fire behind their fireplace wall, and that is what they did, and then finished alot theirselves. It worked out well for them.

    Don't throw in the towel yet. No reason to.
  9. Sorry about your loss......

    I just don't see how there "replacement" estimate will possibly be less than the $81,000 limit that my policy covers.

    I also think it would be hard to completely replace a 24x36 insulated, wired, and fished workshop with in floor heat for less than the $58,000 limit

    I still think it will be cheaper to just bulldoze the place and buy some other place given the current house prices.

    Thoughts?[/quote]

    I am very sorry about your loss..

    we have worked for a few restoration companies before,
    and I have seen the this same story before too...


    Many times they claim that it can be done, but the one thing that they forget to mention is the time it takes to complete this project ....
    lets say it takes them 8 months to do the work...


    With having only the dirt cheapest insurance policy they usually do not put you up in a free place to stay either... and I have seen people having to live with their in-laws for that 8 month period...

    ....and that was always stressful on everyone....




    they re-used everything that they could, including plumbing fixtures, ect..
    I would have prefered just getting new fixtures, but it was not in the budget..

    all the savable wood will be painted and sealed off with the proper paints, and most times it all turned out fairley well...



    I would certainly look into who gets assigned this work,
    to see how good their past jobs have turned out.....

    this work is ususally rewarded to the lowest bidder..
    So I would be makeing very sure that they can actually bring in the
    job to your satisfaction and in before anything starts.

    Get it written down in the contract exactly HOW LONG it is gong to take.....
    or they could just drag their feet going to other jobs throughout the summer...

    .



    after being mixed up in the middle of a few of these messes, the one thing I personally learned from it all was to beef up my insurance way, way past the max... .

    if for no other reason to keep me from having to move in my my mother-in law for 8 months....






    good luck
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  10. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    Messages:
    1,317
    Location:
    SW Florida
    Again, sorry for your loss. I hope the hard lesson was learned and your next place will be adaquately insured. Even with flood I have to be overinsured (something written in the contract about 80% coverage, been awhile since I looked at it).

    Also, back on topic:
    The cost of housing is down but so is the cost of construction. A pool for example that would have been 60-70K to install 2 years ago can be put in for $45K or less. The profit margin with a lot of contractors has shrunk. If you get a bid that covers your whole house make sure you read the contract and bid. If your contract is tight you should/could be OK. You might have to forgo some things like the in-floor heating, for now but you could also make preparations for some of that to be put in in the future.
  11. something else.....

    something else I have seen in my state with a few of these restoration companies....that I now stay away from......

    they will reward out the work to some kid who thinks he
    can bring in the job for this much $$$...

    they already know that it cant be done for that cheap,
    but they let the fellow work his ass off for a few months,
    and when he fails and falls flat on his face and goes belly up,, ,
    they simply dont pay him ...

    basically they get 60% of the job done for free,
    and then they send in their big crew to finish the work
    and they get to keep all the money

    it just takes a lot more time....

    and of course they can blame the first guy for the delays

    they end up looking like your savior........
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  12. I don't think Bill liked the answers that were given.
  13. Rugged you are probably right

    Yes, you are probably right....Rugged...


    I would rather tell the fellow all the pitfalls that I
    have seen with my dealings with fire restore places.


    give him some tips and things to try and avoid,,
    and save him some troubles down the road...
    get them on a set time schedule and a date to be done by......





    do you think I went too far mentioning how long
    they might have to live with the mother in-law...????.

    .
    Last edited: May 31, 2009


  14. Yes. Probably a 24 hour ban with you limited access only to the pig slop award thread. :p


    I'm pullin' for ya man! It's gonna be ruff!!
  15. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .

    He might just be alittle busy.
  16. true.....

    Yes Cookie, its a lot like the worst kind of work you can ever do.. cleaning up a mess in your own home..

    probably wont be seeing him around here for a long time..

    good luck.
  17. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    Things are looking better.

    I've been patching the burned electrical wires and have stapled plastic up on the ceilings in the house.

    The insurance will take quite some time to work out. My policy says replacement cost, however the letter they sent me said that I would only be payed depreciated value unless it is replaced.

    Edit: to clarify.
    $81,000 on the house
    $58,000 on the garage
    $60,000 on personal property

    My biggest concern right now is them saying that my welder and tools are some sort of work property.

    I am also worried that state farm will find some garbage contractor for the estimate. I am going to call the place that built the garage and have them give me a quote as well.

    PS: Did you know that the land fill won't accept charred wood for two months!
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
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