Maximizing Your Roofing Insurance Claim
You’ve been paying your storm insurance premiums every month for as long as you’ve owned your home or business. A storm just hit, and it may be time to put that investment to work and get your damage repaired. Peak Roofing & Construction is here to help you through the process.
If you file a hail or storm damage claim, you want to make sure you get everything you are entitled to under the terms of your policy. Peak Roofing & Construction understands. We want the same thing for you. But there is a big difference between maximizing your claim and falsifying it.
Unfortunately, the DFW and Austin markets are plagued with unscrupulous roofing companies that literally prey on uninformed or desperate homeowners and business owners. Honestly, it makes us sick. However, there are steps you can take to ethically get the most out of your storm claim. It starts with doing your homework and getting expert advice.
If you sustain extreme damage from a hail storm, severe winds, or flying debris that forces you to temporarily relocate, keep your receipts. This includes all your storm-related expenses. Always verify it directly with your insurer, but if your policy covers the type of storm you experience, it likely covers the cost of additional living expenses.
Questions to ask your insurance company
Remember, you can call your insurance agent and ask questions about your coverage without filing a claim. For instance, if you think your roof repair may cost less than your deductible, you may want to do some investigation before opening a claim.
- Is the damage covered under the terms of my policy?
- How long do I have to file a claim?
- What if I can’t complete the repairs within the timeframe of the claim? Can I file an extension?
- What is my deductible for this type of claim?
- How long will it take for an adjuster to meet me?
- How long it will take to process the claim once the adjuster completes the inspection?
- Will you need to see estimates for repairs?
- What happens if more damage is found after the adjuster leaves, how is that handled?
“We went with a low-priced company for our last roof. It was a disaster. Come to find out, they installed a lesser quality shingle than the one we paid for. By the time I found out, the company was nowhere to be found so I was skeptical when I started looking. Your sales person restored my faith in roofers. I could tell from the first time we talked that he was honest and was looking out for my best interest. Your strong online reviews helped too. Thank you.”
Preparing for the Adjuster
In most cases, the insurance company will send an adjuster to get the most accurate picture of your storm insurance claim. An adjuster is professionally trained in damage assessment and in the company’s estimating software so they provide the company a comprehensive financial assessment of the needed repairs. You want to make sure they include damage to gutters, painting, siding, fencing, and windows as well. However, under certain circumstances they may send proof of loss form for you to complete. Peak Roofing & Construction saw this happen in 2016 in areas that we so hard it, it was very clear-cut that most homes and businesses needed roof replacement.
Based on our experience, the more information you have ready when the adjuster arrives, the larger the initial approved claim amount. This applies to everything from a full roof replacement estimate to what you paid for your damaged charcoal grill. One example was a customer that provided the adjuster the invoice from his original roof showing he had a weather barrier underlay across the entire roof. As a result, the adjuster immediately added it to the claim even though his visual inspection could not see it. Every little bit helps. It’s also experience that the more prepared you are, the faster your claim generally can be settled.
To protect your investment, you must make required temporary repairs. If the insurance company finds that there was additional damage because you failed to take necessary measures, they may have grounds to deny a portion of your claim. Save all receipts and log them in your documentation. Then submit them for reimbursement. These repairs will be considered as part of the overall settlement. So be careful not to spend an unreasonable amount on them. We have seen people spend so much on temporary repairs they do not have enough left to do the permanent ones.
Along those lines, be wary of contractors asking unreasonable amounts for temporary repairs. Unfortunately, Texas does not require a roofing license so when storms come along, so do the unscrupulous “storm chasers.” They show up at your door just when you need help but can take your money and leave you with even greater problems.
- Start a log. Create a notebook or online document folder. Log every phone call you have (including the name and contact info of everyone you speak to about the claim).
- Keep copies. Place copies of all documents and paperwork you receive in your notebook or scan them and save them online.
- Prepare an inventory. Include all damaged or destroyed items and give a copy to the adjuster along with copies of any receipts.
- Don’t throw anything away. Wait until the adjuster seen them. Be sure to take photos and/or video of all damage.
- Identify structural damage. Include all structures including pools, sheds, playground equipment, and fences.
- Get needed inspections. If there is damage to the power line going into your home/business or you suspect damage to your foundation, get an electrician or structural engineer to inspect it. Many insurance companies will cover it.
- Provide bids from reputable contractors. It’s helpful to have written bids from reputable contractors. If possible, ask them to include details of the materials to be used and prices. If the adjuster is comfortable with the information you provided, it can simplify the process.
It’s worth the time investment
Two last pieces of advice are based on Peak Roofing & Construction’s 10 years of working storm claims.
- Do your home, make your lists, and document everything. Even in the event you never show them to the adjuster, becoming knowledgeable is the best way for you to make informed decisions and feel confident that you are maximizing the claim.
- Only work with reputable vendors. We have heard countless stories of people taking advantage of homeowners and business owners in the Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin areas. If the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List does not rank them highly overall, stay away. There’s usually a reason.