If your home has suffered damage from a storm, and your roof either needs to be repaired or replaced, then you need to file an insurance claim.
Most home insurance policies cover hail and storm damage, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
However, insurance companies have to deal with untrustworthy individuals all the time looking to defraud them, so they won’t trust you either.
In order to successfully file a claim, you will have to:
- Document the damage;
- Get an adjuster to appraise the damage to the roof;
- Get an estimate from at least one roofing contractor, and;
- Submit all of that to the insurance company.
Let’s break that down step by step.
Document The Damage
When you’re about to get a big storm, it is a great idea to get up on your roof and take “before” pictures of the shingles. That way, if you do experience some damage, you have photo evidence of what exactly got damaged.
However, most likely, you’re only looking up filing an insurance claim for roof damage because you got a storm that damaged your roof that you weren’t prepared for.
When that happens, the best things to do are:
- Film the storm from inside your house, showing its severity
- Screenshot any news stories or police reports about the storm, documenting the date and time
- Take “after” pictures once the storm dies down, of fallen trees, missing or loose shingles, hail damage, shingle granules in the gutters, hail stones next to tape measure, etc.
- Take a look at your insurance policy, to find out what sorts of damages are covered under your policy
Depending on the type of policy, the amount of damage the insurance company will cover may vary. Some policies do not cover the cost of a new roof, but simply repairs up to a certain dollar limit. Other policies cover the cost of replacing the roof with varying amounts, based on the age of the roof.
Additionally, you may have to pay a deductible, after which the insurance company will cover the rest of the damage. A deductible is a set amount of damage which you (the homeowner) will have to cover in the event of roof damage to your home which is covered by your policy.
Check to see what type of coverage your policy offers.
Estimate From Roofing Contractor
Sometimes, however, insurance companies require one (or more) roofing contractors to come out and give an estimate for repairing the roof, in order to come up with a monetary figure to deal with.
When this is the case, you must be careful that you aren’t ripped off by an unscrupulous roofing company. According to HandyManHowTo.com:
Beware of Roof Inspection Reports disguised as Contingency Contracts.
If you sign such a so-called “Inspection Report” it can entrap you in a contract that says you must give the job to the roofer if the insurance claim is approved. Never sign anything at this point! I’ve seen contingency contracts misleadingly titled “Roof Inspection Report” where the fine print states:
- The homeowner owes a 20% cancellation fee based on the roof replacement cost value if the contract is not cancelled within 3 days.
- The contingency contract is valid and binding so long as the insurance company pays the homeowner for the loss.
- All insurance payments shall be made directly to the roofing company.
- The homeowner acknowledges they lack the time and expertise to discuss matters with the insurance company and appoints the roofing company as their agent.
If you sign such an inspection report you’ve lost the opportunity to solicit competitive proposals. By authorizing the insurance company to pay the roofer directly, a dishonest roofer may take the insurance check and disappear.
So how do you make sure that a roofing company is reputable?
- You don’t need to pay for the roof inspection
A roof inspection is a part of doing business for roofing companies, and all high-quality roofers will do it for free.
- You don’t need to sign anything
Again, a roof inspection is free, and should only take about 15 minutes. The roofing contractor shouldn’t do any work on the roof during the inspection, and if he tries to make you sign something or attempts to do some work on your roof, then you know he isn’t trustworthy.
- The roofing contractor gives you his license number when asked
A reputable roofer will be licensed, and will willingly show you their credentials. If he doesn’t, then don’t trust him.
- Former clients leave positive reviews
You can go on his Google My Business profile (see ours here!) or his Facebook page (see ADR’s) to read reviews. Hearing about a contractor from another homeowner is the safest bet.
Once the damage has been looked at, the roofing contractor will likely be able to tell you if your roof qualifies for an insurance claim and if it is likely to get approved.
Submit Claim To Insurance Company
Once you have your documentation and the estimate from the roofing company, you can submit your claim. Call the claims number of your insurance provider.
You will be given a claim number, so keep that on file.
In order to bolster your claim, you should send the pictures and videos, and a written summary of the damage your roof received.
Inspection By Claims Adjuster
After you’ve documented the damage yourself and gotten an estimate from a roofing professional, the insurance company will send out a claims adjuster in order to document the damage on their behalf. There are independent adjusters who are hired by insurance companies to inspect roofs for them, as well as adjusters who work for specific insurance companies.
The adjuster will do the same thing that you did in step 1–he will document the damage to your roof by taking pictures of the damaged areas and writing a report.
Your insurance company needs this to process a claim.
Still a little confused?
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Contact one of our local offices near you today.