Contractors already know writing accurate property damage estimates is the best way to avoid claim disputes and speed up the payment process. The only problem? Xactimate makes it so easy to make mistakes. When added up, errors lead to claims being underpaid by thousands of dollars.

Here are 5 bad habits to break immediately to

1. Not Checking Labor & Material Pricing

Contractors have a bad habit of leaving the prices for line items to the default setting. Xactimate sets median market prices (or averages) to every single line item. This can easily result in lower claim payouts if the user does not update them to the proper amount. Instead, contractors should use the “Open for Inspection” functionality to check and update prices as needed.

2. Not Using Sketch

We’ve spoken to several contractors who are intimidated by the Sketch tool in Xactimate but it’s one of the best ways to increase your speed and efficiency. While Xactimate does have the ability to import third-party sketches, being confident in sketching can drastically increase the accuracy and visual nature of your project. Need to calculate attic ventilation? Easy. Need to correct soffit widths on an imported Eagleview? Done. If you are not already in the habit of using Sketch, make it a goal to master the tool.

3. Relying On Supplements

The majority of contractors are not skilled enough or don’t have time to supplement jobs with underestimated materials and line items. These contractors most often end up doing the work at a low profit margin that will inevitably impact their business or cause them to go bankrupt. Instead, focus on writing proper estimates and being able to validate prices to carriers.

4. Not Substantiating Claims

Contractors should expect insurance carriers and their adjusters to push back on something, whether it’s price, materials, labor, etc. The only way around this is to substantiate all claims with factual documentation like Xactimate’s white papers, bulletins, and other materials. This often leads to proper communication/education with policyholders, which can derail attempts made by insurance adjusters to get them to switch contractors.

5. Not Having An Xactimate Certification

It used to be that roofers and contractors could be self-taught in the program and “get by” without formal training or completing the certification process. Because there is only a 2% user certification rate amongst claim handling professionals, acquiring yours will place you in an elite group of Xactimate professionals. Ultimately, this would give you the credentials and confidence to ensure you are generating factual and accurate estimates. If you are not already, make a plan to get certified in Level 1 by the end of the year.


If you want to work with a public adjusting firm that actually writes its own estimates in-house with Xactimate level 3 estimators, we would be happy to discuss the benefits our team can provide.