The wind beneath my wings

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

Being the editor of this newspaper is like having a Facebook account with 90,000 friends. Occasionally, I'll use this column to throw out a question to see what the great washed have to say on the topic. (Although I hardly ever throw out an impenetrable comment pretending it's for everyone when really it's just for one person.) (Unless you count the jokes I write that I'm the only person who thinks are funny.) (Like that one.)

So, anyway, I have a question. I had some wind damage done to a solar panel on my roof. I called the insurance company to make a claim. They didn't send anyone out to look, just requiring an estimate from a contractor that included his diagnosis of what caused the damage.

The insurance company began to harass me, making multiple snotty calls demanding the estimate, even after I told them that I was having a couple of people look at it, and that I was considering several options, including repair as opposed to replacement. They bugged me to the point I was actually considering withdrawing the claim just to stop the phone calls. I guess this is what passes as customer service, as opposed to just coming out and looking at the damage.

Anyway, I sent them the first estimate I received, which was for a replacement panel that would look different than the other three that were on my house. They sent me a check for the amount over my deductible. After looking at all the options, I decided to repair it myself, working with individual contractors for the different parts. My question is, what's my responsibility?

Am I required to do the worse solution because I deposited the check? Do I send back the money that's over what I actually pay? I am deeply distrustful of insurance companies, and I don't want to get my ass in a sling, but I was totally upfront with them, and now I don't want to be further inconvenienced.

What do you think?