All About Insurance Claims: An Informative Q&A with Areté Vice President Davor Jokanovic


Could you lay out what the process will look like from a client’s perspective after contacting Areté with an insurance claim project?

So, we would come out to meet the client at the job site and walk through the project as we would any estimate. Then, once we do a regular walkthrough, I would ask a client to show us their insurance claim and see what the insurance company has estimated, assuming they have been there already. It’s a very important step because a lot of times when insurance adjusters come and prepare the claims, they miss a lot of information when it comes to certain items as well as their rates. They are not allocating enough for replacement value. So it’s very important for me to take the insurance claim and start breaking it down into a lot more detail to understand, apples to apples, what matches and what doesn’t. However, the insurance company is not going to pay for any upgrades, they’re just gonna pay the replacement value.

Most of the time our clientele wants to use that chance to upgrade their space. So that would be a completely separate step that would then go through our design and build firm to ensure that we create a new space to fit all of their needs. But concerning the insurance walkthrough, if the insurance adjuster has already been there, I would look through the claim to make sure it’s sufficient. If the insurance adjuster has not been there and the client has contacted Areté, then we would do an initial walkthrough, then set up another time to walk through the space with the insurance adjuster to make sure that I’m pointing out all the things that have been damaged and need to be replaced. After that, insurance companies sometimes ask us to prepare an estimate, but we always like to wait for their insurance claim to be completed first so that we make sure they have included everything and then we can kind of compare it.

It can be stressful to have your property damaged. What are some ways that Areté puts clients at ease during remodeling?

Well, the main way is through experience! We have been through this process many, many times in the past 22 years. One of the first things that when we do if a flood or a fire has happened, depending on what stage they are in, is bring in a company to make sure that the remaining personal belongings and the furniture are removed and stored properly. We would also work with a mold remediation company to make sure the demo, as well as the entire mold removal process, is correctly done. While that’s happening, we would work alongside the insurance company and guide a client to make sure that insurance is covering everything that has been damaged. But at the same time, we work with our client on the design and build side of it to make sure that we design their new space to their liking.

How does Areté handle disagreements with insurance companies if they should arise?

Well, after insurance agrees to what they’re going to cover and we begin working on the project, we do have a chance to leave contingency aside for insurance for things that may come up during remodeling that insurance, nor us, nor client knew about. So for example, with kitchen cabinets, if the kitchen is damaged and the kitchen cabinets have been damaged, insurance will not cover the replacement of the countertop because they’re assuming that it can just be removed and put back on. We’re aware that, 99% of the time, it will crack. So once it cracks, then we document that properly and send it to the insurance company to have them cover that as well. That’s just one example of things that arise and how we’re able to address them.

Can you name specific insurance companies that you recommend working within the city?

So personally, we have Country Financial. We have everything with them: liability, car, real estate, homeowners, and life insurance. Bigger insurance companies, like Allstate and State Farm, can sometimes appear to have better coverage from the onset, but at the end of the day, it comes down to an adjuster and what type of claim you will have. There are also different types of claims. Certain adjusters will only work with claims up to $50,000 or $100,000, depending on the size of the insurance company. If the claim is much bigger, then it goes to a different department. I do not have a suggestion as to what particular insurance company you should use. What I do recommend is that you have all of your coverage that I named with one particular insurance company if you can.

Are there certain steps that homeowners can take to avoid water or fire damage from occurring?

I would highly recommend having professionals come and do an inspection on your home (especially a plumber) every year, once a year, or every other year. You want to inspect to make sure that the plumbing lines of exterior walls are properly insulated. Every fall you want to drain out your exterior spigots to make sure that there’s no water in there. I can’t tell you how many times I see those lines freeze and break. You want to also make sure that none of the gas lines have any gas leaks. The stove is up-to-date and the water heater as well as the furnace. So usually a lot of fire and water damages occur due to the mechanicals, plumbing, gas lines, and electrical, you know. HVAC, not so much.

Every year, like I said, hire somebody who can just quickly go through and make sure that everything is working properly. You want to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors working properly as well. So those are certain steps that you can take to avoid some of these issues. And he also, you know, a plumber can inspect some of the water lines underneath the sink. We recently had a client that had a leak on the third floor. A water line under the sink either burst or was not correctly connected, or got loosened. He was not home for three days, so his 4,500 square-foot home was underwater for three days. Those are the things that you just want to regularly maintain and do maintenance on because you can avoid some serious damage.

At Areté Renovators, we understand that navigating the aftermath of an unexpected event can be overwhelming, especially when it involves filing an insurance claim for your property. Our team is committed to providing a seamless, supportive experience from the moment you reach out to us with an insurance claim project. Areté takes pride in being your trusted partner in restoration and renovation. Contact us today at 773.683.3033 and let us help you give new life to your space.