Dealing with your insurance company after discovering that your roof has been damaged can be a stressful and complicated ordeal, involving a long process of filing an official claim with your insurance company, getting an estimate for the damages, and hiring a roofer or another service company to repair the damage. During this time, it’s easy for you to overlook crucial steps in the insurance claim process – luckily, the experts at Jack the Roofer are here to see you through everything and make sure that you get the best possible outcome.
Before filing your claim
If you suspect that your roof has been damaged, there are a number of steps you will want to take to ensure that you get the very most out of your insurance claim, and that you do not get scammed by opportunistic roofers who are simply chasing business related to insurance claims. The best thing you can do is contact a trusted, local roofing company that has expertise with working with insurance claims.
We suggest you contact Jack the Roofer if you are in the Denver metro area or anywhere along the Front Range in Colorado, or your well-known, in-town roofing company if you aren’t. Only the experts at a local roofing company will be able to carefully assess the damage to your roof and determine whether or not your insurance claim will be unnecessary or legitimate. For example, if you only have $1200 worth of damage on a $1000 deductible, you will have to determine if it is worth filing a claim. It is better to know that ahead of time instead of finding out after you have filed a claim.
Determining whether or not you have a legitimate claim with your insurance company to cover roofing damages is extremely important, as filing an unnecessary insurance claim can be held against you by your provider – this can lead to you having a negative mark on your record with your insurance provider, and in some cases you can even be dropped by them. Only roofing experts will have the knowledge and experience needed to assess the severity of the damage and whether or not you should file a claim.
Trained roofing experts will also be able to determine if you have other extensive damage to your property such as gutters and downspouts, or windows, siding, paint, garage doors in addition to your existing roof damages. For items such as windows that fall outside of a roofing company’s scope, you will be advised to bring in local experts to comprehensively assess those damages – experts we know and trust to recommend. If your roofer finds that your roof has taken extensive damage, then it may be wise to contact your insurance provider in order to find out what exactly what your insurance policy will cover. To get the absolute most out of your insurance claim, always contact trusted local experts who are not just looking to make a quick buck from you and your insurance provider.
Other things to do before filing your insurance claim include taking action as soon as damage to your roof has been noticed, as waiting too long can disqualify you from getting coverage from your provider. You will also need to know a “date of loss” or a date when the potential damage could have occurred. Documenting evidence of the damages to your roof – whether it’s taking time stamped photographs of the damage or an official written assessment by your local roofer, it’s important to gather evidence of any kind before filing your claim, as it can help determine the extent of the damages and provide justification for coverage.
Beware of insurance scams on roof claims
One thing you should always be aware of and alert about are opportunistic insurance scammers. There are unscrupulous roofers whose sole source of income is chasing your insurance business, often travelling from out-of-state in order to take advantage of homeowners and insurance companies.
These scams will often involve roofers who are not local to your area, and will often involve face-to-face door-knocking type solicitations. Roofing companies are usually busy enough that sending their estimators door-to-door to solicit business is not profitable, so you have to ask yourself how they make money – generally they make money by scamming your insurance company, with mistakes on the claim that could affect your homeowner’s insurance. You should be especially be wary of ANY roofing company that offers to give you cash as part of the insurance settlement. There is no “cash back” option with any settlement, and any money going to the roofing company is meant to cover labour or cost of materials. Since the company clearly isn’t giving you their profit, chances are they are skipping over fixing something critical on your roof to offer you that cash.
You can tell if a roofing company isn’t local because they will have out-of-state plates on their vehicle when they come to do an assessment, and their business may not be registered locally if you research them on the Internet. Some unscrupulous businesses will pay a local roofing company to use their license to pull permits locally, but you can usually catch these with the license plate trick. It’s important to hire a local company so they will be there if you ever need any warranty work done on your roof; an out-of-state company could take much longer to fix anything on your roof on your warranty, if they fix it at all.
Check BBB and online reviews
You have to trust the person who is getting on your roof. Check them out beforehand by looking at their record on the Better Business Bureau’s website, checking online reviews on sites such as Google, Home Advisor, and Yelp. You can’t fake a BBB rating, and it is easy to spot fake online reviews since they are usually written poorly by offshore companies who have no knowledge of Parker or surrounding areas in Colorado. That being said, every company has made a mistake or two, and it’s the way they handle it that really shows you what kind of company they are. If their response to a negative review is to bash the person leaving the review instead of offering to help in any way, you know you’re dealing with someone untrustworthy.
When getting an estimate, you should also ask to see a copy of the business license and their business insurance. If a roofer is uninsured if he slips and falls off your roof, the liability is on you as the homeowner. An above-board roofing insurance company will have business insurance that covers its employees should they come to any harm while working on your roof, and this insurance is very expensive, so fly-by-nighters don’t get it. When looking at both the insurance and business license, make sure the name on all of the documents matches the business name.
Can I get money back from the insurance company as part of my claim?
As we’ve pointed out, any roofing company that promises you cash back from a settlement is possibly shady. Yes, they may be giving you part of their profits back, but this is a very unlikely scenario. Some will also offer to pay your deductible, which is suspect due to the fact that they have to give up some of their profit on the job. Costs on insurance claim jobs are very tightly controlled and quoted, and the roofing company is paid directly by the insurance company.
Margins are frequently lower than you would think they are, so there isn’t a lot of cash to give back. So where does it come from? Usually cutting corners on the labour, materials, or other areas where they can cut without you or the insurance company noticing. Additionally, if you are going strictly by the book, the law says that you aren’t allowed to give a customer the deductible, although companies that really want to offer it usually find a way around it.
Dealing with different types of insurance adjusters
Jack the Roofer knows the different kinds of insurance adjusters, and what each is looking for. Local adjusters from larger companies such as State Farm are the most common, and very easy to deal with as we know what each larger insurance company with local agents is looking for on a claim. We’ve dealt with them all and know how to put together your claim to make the process easiest for everyone – you, the insurance adjuster, and us.
Smaller insurance companies hire adjusters that are paid per claim, and who adhere to more general guidelines. These can actually be trickier because we may know what the insurance company wants to see, but the adjuster doesn’t know. We help to educate them and put in a claim that won’t come back from the head office with errors or missing information. It’s subtle things like this that make Jack the Roofer the business to call if you have a roof insurance claim – if you tried to deal with it on your own your head would spin.
Readjustments and reinspections
One of the best reasons to call us before you put in your insurance claim rather than after is reducing the likelihood of a readjustment. This tends to happen when a homeowner files a claim that the insurer sees as too large, or where they don’t agree with the damage assessment. Sometimes, they just do readjustments randomly to ensure that everything is above board, even if everything is in order. In this case, Jack the Roofer can be your “expert witness”, even if you have to fight the insurance company in court. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but we have experience with these kinds of situations and have been called in (as have other local trustworthy roofing companies) to mediate these sorts of claims as an expert third-party.
Can the insurer drop me after I make a claim?
While the insurance company is within their rights at any time to drop you as a client, in reality they don’t go around doing this unless there is a very solid reason or series of potentially fraudulent events. Otherwise, they’d have no customers. Homeowners insurance is one type of insurance that usually sees at least a few claims over the course of your lifetime, and most insurers understand this and have priced their policies accordingly.
They will drop you if you file repeated claims for the same thing, or do not fix something they ask you to, such as your roof. You will generally have about two months from the time you file the claim to get your roof fixed, and it is important to stick to the insurer’s timetable for this. The reason for this is that if your roof is found to be damaged, your insurer is now assuming additional risk for water damage and other potential structural damage to your home during the time that your roof is damaged. Jack the Roofer will schedule the work as soon as we get the green light from your insurer, ensuring it is complete well within their desired schedule.
What should I think about when reevaluating my homeowner’s policy?
One of the things we are seeing more of in homeowners insurance is higher deductibles in the form of a percentage of your home value. For instance, if you have a home valued at $300,000 and have a 1% deductible, your portion of the claim and out of pocket expense is $3000. Some insurance carriers have 2%, 2.5% and up to 5% deductibles for wind and hail. We also see Actual Cash Value versus Replacement Cash Value, most often on roofs that are made of cedar shake.
They do these types of deductibles in order to keep monthly premiums down and to prevent you from filing claims. These high deductibles are very common in other parts of the country like Texas where there are quite a few hail storms and more insurance claims. We see the trend coming to Colorado and will likely be the rule instead of the exception in the near future. The short version of our advice is to pay a little more on your monthly premiums to ensure you are covered in the event of a claim. If a disaster such as a hail storm strikes, you may be cash-poor after replacing everything (think your cars, landscaping, outdoor furniture, windows) and may not be able to pay a high deductible.
When getting a policy for anything, including your home, you always want to go with Replacement Cash Value as well as Code Upgrade Coverage. This allows for incidental costs surrounding your roof replacement to be covered, such as painting, pipes and gutters on the roof that may be damaged, and more. If you have an Actual Cash Value policy, they technically only have to pay for the minimum amount that will get the roof repaired. For more on how this breaks down legally, check out this article from the Insurance Journal. The only thing you get out of an Actual Cash Value policy is a lower premium. There is no other value, and it could actually hurt you long term.
Contact Jack the Roofer today to get your damaged roof fixed
Whether you’ve had hail damage or other storm damage, contact us to keep your headaches away when filing an insurance claim. We’ll make sure you get everything you deserve under your policy conditions in an ethical way. In the end, that’s the only way to do business.