Insurance Adjusters Debate Skyrocketing Costs of Contents Cleaning and Salvage (Reddit)

Insurance Adjusters Debate Skyrocketing Costs of Contents Cleaning and Salvage

Friday, May 24th, 2024 Insurance Industry Litigation Property Risk Management

A recent discussion thread on the adjusters subreddit has highlighted growing frustration within the insurance industry over the escalating costs associated with contents cleaning and salvage operations. Insurance adjusters, contractors, and other industry professionals shared their experiences, concerns, and insights into the factors driving these costs.

Complexity and Cost of Contents Cleaning

The original poster described a situation where companies pack up all salvageable items, clean them at a warehouse, and return them to the insured’s home, often resulting in exorbitant bills that nearly match or exceed the actual value of the items. This sentiment was echoed by a contractor who recently entered the contents side of the business. He detailed a job involving a basement pack-out that resulted in moving and storing 170 boxes of items, many of which were deemed worthless by the contractor’s team. This inefficiency, combined with the meticulous documentation required for each item, contributes significantly to the high costs.

Insurance Industry Reaction

Many commenters suggested that insurance companies need to review and potentially limit coverage for such services to prevent inflated costs. One adjuster mentioned receiving a $30,000 invoice for packing out a modest amount of contents, without any cleaning services included. Another commenter noted that mitigation companies often submit inflated estimates, and a practical workaround could be obtaining quotes from moving companies, which are frequently lower.

Challenges in Mitigating Costs

Despite the consensus on the need for cost control, some professionals pointed out the difficulties in preemptively managing these expenses. For instance, once a loss has occurred and expenses are incurred, it becomes challenging to prevent the insured or the contractor from proceeding with costly pack-out services. Furthermore, the debate over transparency in billing practices highlighted a divide between adjusters who seek upfront estimates to set expectations and those who argue that such conditions are not stipulated in insurance policies.

Proposals for Better Management

Suggestions for better managing pack-out costs included:

1.) Requiring not-to-exceed estimates or detailed proposals before starting work.

2.) Ensuring open communication and setting clear expectations with insured clients from the beginning.

3.) Encouraging insured clients to handle pack-outs themselves where feasible, potentially offering financial incentives.

The thread revealed deep-seated issues and varying perspectives within the industry on how to handle the rising costs of contents cleaning and salvage operations. While the need for cost control is clear, finding a balance between fair compensation for contractors and preventing inflated bills remains a contentious issue.


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External References & Further Reading
https://www.reddit.com/r/adjusters/comments/1cv8y0w/contents_cleaning_out_of_control/

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