Understanding the Nuances of a Restoration Estimate or "Hiding the Broccoli"

Projects have varying complexities that can make restoration estimating difficult. But calculating and presenting the estimate is not the most challenging part. One of the most difficult parts of restoration estimating is ensuring all your costs are covered so you maintain a healthy profit margin. Figuring in a profit is relatively easy to do, and it gets easier with experience. But you also want to cover everything with little pushback from adjusters. That is often easier said than done, but reaching an agreement on a completed and accurate estimate with the carrier can be accomplished. 

The adjuster often agrees with the need for most of your line items. However, there are numerous other line items that they give you pushback on. They tend to do this for several reasons. For example, the insurance carrier has developed a predetermined set of guidelines for estimating. Some items are allowed, while others need to be presented in a specific way for the carrier to allow them. Like you, they know these items are necessary, but if they are not presented and backed up in a certain way, they will get denied. 

Here’s an analogy. As a parent, you know your child needs to eat broccoli. It’s good for them and loaded with nutritional goodness. But a child glances at broccoli and shakes their head. No way they are going to eat that stuff. But cover that green goodness with cheese, and they will woof it down and ask for more! It’s all in the way you present it. If you pile broccoli on a plate, it’s a no-go. Adjusters are the same, add a lot of line items without justifying them or having them in the right place, and the adjuster will be forced to shake their head no, too. But providing the proper documentation and justifying those necessary items on your estimate is like pouring cheese over broccoli to make it presentable. 

Documentation for Line Item Approvals

Restoration estimating takes time. Presenting the estimate so your essential line items get approved may take some extra work. However, the final result is more line items that get approved. This makes everyone involved in the process happy. The carrier may even know and understand that certain line items are necessary. They may acknowledge that the estimate needs them, yet they will still deny them if they are not added in a certain way. Some essential keys to opening the door to approval for more line items include: explaining the need with F9 notes, picture documentation, and guideline documentation from reputable sources.

Why Adjusters Deny

In most instances, the adjuster may not have a dispute with the total value of a restoration estimate. Their problem is more with the line items than the estimate’s total. There are some line items that an adjuster will glance at and argue with just based on their presentation. However, there is a way to get the adjuster to accept line items. The format is an essential part of the estimate, especially if you want approval without many complaints from an adjuster. 

We know what a restoration project requires because that’s our industry. As experts and construction professionals, we have to be able to justify and explain what needs to be done and what it takes to do it. Not only will it make our lives a little bit easier, but it’ll also make it much easier for the adjuster. It’s all in the presentation. But once you nail the presentation of the line items in your restoration estimate, you’ll find you get faster approvals.  

Presenting Line Items in a Restoration Estimate

To ensure your line items are presented properly, bill them as Xactimate intended. For example, sometimes line items don’t belong in the room details. Instead, they must be shown on the totals page at the end of the estimate. You are not hiding the line items; they are transparently and properly displayed on the estimate. But there is less confusion about line items because they are no longer mixed in with the General Conditions or the Room line items. To add your essential line items in the right place, go to the “Parameters” section. Then, click on “Additional Charges.” From there, you can add various charges to your estimate. This puts your line items on the totals page.

Placing your line items on the totals page makes it easier for the adjuster to see them. They are not just shuffled in with the rest of the estimate. Now, they are more easily justified, and the adjuster will better understand what you need to complete the home restoration correctly. (See attached Photos)

Graphical user interface, text, application, emailDescription automatically generated
A screenshot of a computerDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

Are you tired of having line items denied by adjusters? Wescope can tailor restoration estimates to meet your project’s specific needs while also meeting the requirements and guidelines of the carriers. 

Latest Posts