CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Consider the following real-life scenario:
At the peak of one of the hottest summers on record, the kind that prompt weathermen to caution against outdoor activities of any kind, your AC unit suddenly, and without warning, dies. As the temperature inside your house literally rises by the minute, you jump to action, anxious to find a quick fix to this major inconvenience.
Lacking any real knowledge about your AC system, you scour the phone book (or Google) for someone, anyone, who can bring you relief from the oppressive and dangerous heat. At long last, you locate a local HVAC company willing to dispatch a technician and get you back on your feet. You breathe a sigh of relief, not knowing that your call has set in motion one of the oldest insurance scams in existence today.
The rest of the story is all too familiar ... the HVAC technician visits your home, briefly inspects your AC unit, and informs you that he's got good news and bad news. The bad news (predictably) is that your unit is damaged beyond repair, and you need a replacement system. The good news is that if he denotes "Lightning Damage" on his handwritten invoice, there's a very good chance that your insurance carrier will pay for it, because it's most likely covered under your homeowner's policy.
And as you pick up the phone to call your insurance agent, you unwittingly perpetuate the continuous cycle of fraudulent HVAC claims.
"It's been our experience that there are many honest HVAC companies out there," states Damon Stafford of HVAC Investigators of Charlotte, NC. "However, the blatant dishonesty and fraud that we encounter on a daily basis is disheartening. We see full replacement claims submitted to insurance companies where a breaker is simply tripped, or where the wiring leading to an HVAC compressor was accidentally cut by a previous repairman."
Sadly, this is nothing new for the HVAC industry, and as insurance carriers focus more on fighting HVAC fraud, it's leaving homeowners between a rock and a hard place. What could have been a simple $75 repair has become a significant cost that your insurance company may not be responsible for ... and you could be left holding the bill.
"Due to the significant downturn in new construction business, the temptation for HVAC companies to take advantage of these situations has exacerbated. Our research shows that insurance companies routinely overpay on HVAC claims by an average of 65%," says Stafford. "And this ultimately affects us all, and by 'all,' I mean anyone who pays property and casualty insurance premiums. It's a sad reality, and what's worse ... most homeowners don't even know they're a part of the scam. They're just looking for relief."
HVAC Investigators is the nation's leading provider of HVAC assessments. The company leverages a network of more than 400 technicians around the country to provide factual, timely reports that help insurers settle fair and fast. If you'd like more information about the company's services or to submit an assignment, please visit them online at http://www.hvacinvestigators.com or contact them via phone at 888-407-5224.
SOURCE HVAC Investigators