How to Write a Supplement Estimate

In our previous post, we explained what a supplement is with regard to Insurance Claim estimates.

Today we will go into a little more detail in explaining how to write a supplement estimate for an insurance claim. (A little disclaimer here: There are a lot of ways to write a supplement, and not ALL supplements get approved by an insurance company.) If you’re a contractor, there’s no doubt you know how to write an estimate. But if you’re doing an insurance job, or looking to get into insurance restoration work, there may be a few additional things you can do to improve your turnaround time and margin.

An important thing to remember when writing a supplement is to put yourself in the adjuster’s shoes. The adjuster is responsible for justifying the expense of the claim, and they are essentially telling a story, detailing the claim in the form of a report to their superiors. For starters, adjusters use estimating software to generate their estimates. Likely Xactimate or Symbility depending on the insurance company they represent. So why does this matter? Claims adjusters are familiar with the unit costs and pricing within these platforms. So if you write a traditional estimate or supplement by hand, based on your labor and material costs plus margin, the adjuster will likely have to crosscheck your estimate in their system to see if pricing is in line with their software. So our first recommendation is to pick up one of these programs to write your estimates.

Submitting an estimate in a Xactimate or Symbility format has a lot of benefits. First, this will communicate to the adjuster that you know what you’re doing, as far as contracting an insurance job is concerned. This essentially legitimizes you as a contractor in their eyes. Second, the adjuster will not have to cross check your estimate pricing. A good adjuster will be able to review the line items and within a couple minutes should be able to tell you if things need to be changed. Third, if you as a contractor learn how to write an estimate properly within these platforms, there’s a good chance that the margin built within the platform will exceed your typical “hand written” margin. So become proficient and familiar with one of these estimating platforms. would recommend Xactimate over symbility. If you have any questions regarding either of these two platforms, let us know.

After your supplement estimate is created, we would recommend you document why the supplement is necessary. Were there 2 or 3 layers of flooring needing to be removed for a pipe break claim? Hardwood under carpet needs to be removed? Take a picture. Pictures will help the adjuster understand why the supplement is being submitted. Pictures worth a thousand words?? Yes, and good pictures are worth thousands of dollars as well. After you take pictures, explain in detail (and good grammar) what the pictures represents. Example Below: Photo 1 = Kitchen Overview. Photo 2: Multiple layers of laminate flooring removed.

Kitchen OverviewFlooring LayersOne more thing to set yourself apart from your competition…. Document everything in sequential order. There’s a good chance the adjuster will pull up your supplement estimate and photos on two screens. So make sure things flow in your report from room to room, elevation to elevation and slope to slope. Pretty simple. What’s even better, if you have a copy of the adjuster’s original estimate, make things flow in the same order as the original estimate. By doing this, you’re making the adjuster’s job easier. Over time, this will pay dividends to a contractor who wants to be a practitioner of the insurance game.

If you found this information to be helpful in anyway, please share or send it to a friend. If you have any questions on any of the above details, hit us up with any questions! Thanks and stay safe out there!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.