Can I be sued by a contractor if my home insurance company hasn’t paid them?
UPDATED: Jun 24, 2014
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Asked June 24, 2014
As the owner of the home, you are the one who is ultimately responsible for paying contractors who perform work on the property. If the claim is settled by the insurance company, the check may be made directly to the contractor, but it may be written for you, as the one who owns the property. From the perspective of the person who did the work, where the payment comes from is not important, but they do have a right to pursue payment if it is not made in a timely manner.
If the damage was caused by a covered peril, you should receive a settlement from the insurance company. Depending on your policy specifics, the payment may be made immediately by the adjuster who inspects the damages, or it may be made after the work has been completed. Most policies will even meet you halfway and provide a partial payment to get the work underway, followed by a final settlement after the job is complete and the full costs have been tallied. If the payment is made directly to you, you are responsible for making payments to the workers who do the repairs.
If the insurance company does not pay you or the contractor, or only pays a partial amount, you are responsible for the remainder of the costs. Some contractors will file their portion of a claim with your insurer, but most will simply provide you with a bill for services. For them, the important thing is to be reimbursed for work and materials rendered, not whether you are having a settlement issue with your insurance company.
If you do not pay the full amount of the agreed costs, the contractor can take you to civil court in the hope of receiving payment that way. Even if the insurance policy was for Actual Cash Value and the insurer paid the full amount they were obligated to pay, you could be sued for the remainder of the costs plus legal expenses.
Answered June 24, 2014 by Anonymous