Dealing with insurance prices

I am new here and this topic brought me here. I want to get people’s opinions on how they deal with insurance company estimates. I use Xactimate and have been doing some experimenting with it lately.

My question is:

When you go out and sign up a customer that has an insurance quote, how often do you challenge the prices the insurance company is paying? How do you go about doing that?

I’ll share my thoughts and techniques I begin using as this thread progresses.

After thorough review of the summary & our walk through of the roof, I only challenge the insurance co if there are several items missing and/or entered in wrong that need accounted for. When work begins, I’m still making sure all items are accounted for. I also use Xactimate & if there are “speciality” materials that cost more than xactimate says, I send in a bid.

What about you? What do you do?

I have really been looking up the codes in my local areas and ones we are working in. I am in Louisiana and they have adopted the 2012 version of the IRC. Certain things are code, drip edge, roll roofing in the valleys, and I am looking for more code upgrades as long as the homeowner has an upgrade able policy. If they don’t, I’ll inform them of the standards so they realize for future inspection purposes. I can’t force a homeowner to upgrade after all.

Another thing I have discovered is the “DMO” code. DMO is the demolition code for basic laborer. However, hardly anybody has a separate demolition crew tear off a roof and then have roofers put the roof on. I don’t know of any that is. You pay insurance and pay based on what work is performed the majority of the time. If you have a person working on a roof, general labor or not, you are paying insurance rates for a roofer. Changing the DMO code to RFG doubles the remove price in most every case. Same for interior, flooring, fencing, drywall, etc. This needs to become an industry standard.

Everyone knows roofing is a dangerous job. Not having insurance makes it even more dangerous. To make a decent living and to do it with the necessary insurance, the roofing industry as a whole needs to be paid more for the work performed. In some areas that is. Some areas have combated the insurance companies correctly and therefore the prices in those areas have adjusted accordingly.

Just my thoughts on the subject.


WrittenConstruction - I keep all codes handy in titled files and send them with my supplement request to avoid having to do so later on. I do want to know how the dialogue has been between you and the adjuster when you change DMO to RFG?? I’ve been hesitant to utilize that tool. It makes quite the difference in price on Xactimate.

We did one the other day. The original adjuster summary was $33k. We came back with $81k. Adjuster called and said, “Hey, can you take off these charges for $750 and change the carpet price to $4.26 instead of $4.65? The rest looks fine.”

It really just aggravates me that it is hard to turn a reasonable profit while maintaining insurance minimums. Real insurance minimums. Like on people working in the field. 401k and dental would also be nice for employees in the skilled labor trades also. Might make America Great?


We supplement over 95% of the claims.


WrittenConstruction - Thank you for sharing! I was hesitant about changing the DMO to RFG because I thought it would leave a notation of a price change, just tried it and it didnt! I’ve been missing out :confused:
Have you found a way to set the DMO to RFG rather than having to change each line item?

You can’t change the default from DMO unfortunately. Good luck getting this change approved. May have some but it will be limited.

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@Authentic_Dad, I figure it will be hit or miss, but the more roofing/construction/skilled labor businesses that know about this, the more of an industry standard it will become. The more we know. Also, the RFG code is based on insurance and labor burden costs associated with the respective trades. I can email you one with the customer info taken off to show you what I include with the ones I turn in. We have had mixed results on this though.

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What are things you like to supplement for. Besides the RFG code, we add code upgrades. Roll roofing in the valleys is actually code in most places. So is drip edge. What are some other ones you have found that work well?

I know exactly what it is. I wrote about this in a Facebook forum several months ago. I’m simply saying it is difficult to get approved. I think it could be approved however.

Whatever is missing on that claim that should be included.

I was doing some research to see if there was anyone else out there trying to actively address the situation and see what luck they had. I ran across something on Facebook about it. Part of the bad thing about the roofing industry and skilled labor for that matter is the fact that chuck-in-a-truck will do the work for cheap and get by ok in life. Under the radar I might add. What about taxes? What about insurance, workman’s comp, overhead, and profit? These are things that add value to our economy and individuals. High profiting insurance companies understand this, but just want to save money. Personally, I don’t care how many adjusters I piss off. Good luck everyone.

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But you are supplementing in the initial proposal, rather than after the build unless there were extra expenses incurred during the build process, correct?

If this were my job as a contractor, I would have proposed the appropriate shingle in my original estimate as I would be familiar with local requirements. If for some reason that didn’t occur, I would supplement for the appropriate material asap. I’d certainly do it before I built the roof.

Do you get it approved before you start the roof? Or supplement, do the work, then hash it out with the insurance company?

I prefer to know exactly what it is we are getting paid for before we start.

Look up your state laws regarding workman’s comp. If the insurance company will not pay the RFG codes, have the homeowner sign a release of liability. None would. Tell the homeowner, “Look, this is my bid and price, I have told you what it includes. You can find someone to do it for the Ins. price, but learn the hard way that they don’t carry proper insurance. You fight the ins. company for this price and they will pay it. As for me, I have work to do.” Maybe a little nicer than that.

If the homeowner fights the claim for you and wants you as the contractor, they will pay. Period. End of story.

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WrittenConstruction - I’m interested in seeing this, if you don’t mind.

You challenge the insurance company every time. Their first estimate is a total waste of time in most situations and they tend to forget many items that should be included. Use Xactimate to defend your claim by inserting notes to support your claim . The outside adjuster and has no power to make decisions anymore so you need to give the inside adjuster good reason to pay your claim. Although there are many adjusters out there that are very good, you have many that don’t have a clue, let alone have they ever installed a roof. i.e. example If they question why drip edge is needed, give them a full explanation. Look up a definition of drip edge in the manufactures details and send it’s purpose and function (Also save as a Macro in Xactimate for use on the next claim) After a little time you will have a full set of Macros that you can include weather you need to use them with your first estimate or supplement. The adjuster needs a reason to pay your claim. They really know but it is all in the game.

Hope this helps,


I am still working through some issues. Obviously it is going to be fight to get it approved, but the key is not to give up. I have a PDF breakdown if anyone is interested. It took a little bit to put together.