Restoration Tips: Handling Insurance Claims for Storm Damaged Roofing

Jul 13 2020
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Restoration Tips: Handling Insurance Claims for Storm Damaged Roofing & Siding. It is ironic this post is coming through to Grandma’s House DIY this morning as this afternoon we have some SEVERE weather coming through. I guess we made the news all the way down in Oklahoma for having so many tornadoes touch down last week. Its been pretty crazy! I know this is 2020 but our weather has been INSANE. Hopefully I won’t have to follow the advice in this article and our roofing and everything will get through this undamaged.

Restoration Tips: Handling Insurance Claims for Storm Damaged Roofing & Siding. It is ironic this post is coming through to Grandma's House DIY(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

Wind and hail storms do significant damage to roofing and siding each and every year, all across the United States. There is an entire industry of restoration and roofing contractors who specialize in insurance claims – often referred to as “stormers”, or more derogatorily as “storm-chasers”.

These contractors will follow weather patterns and canvas neighborhoods after a storm event, assisting homeowners in the handling of the claim, from the initial filing of the claim all the way through to the final shingle installation. Since most homeowners do not quite know just how much they are entitled to under their homeowners insurance policy, the construction knowledge and insurance claim savvy provided by storm-damage roofers and restoration contractors can be a huge benefit to homeowners.

With a professional managing the claim, you are more likely to receive insurance payments for thorough and complete repairs and restorations, as opposed to just a small payout for band-aid style patchwork repairs.

What’s more, most restoration contractors will start their business interaction with you under the agreement that if you let them handle the claim they will perform the full scope of insurance-approved repairs for not a penny more than the insurance company agrees to pay, meaning you will never be charged any extra fees.

Restoration Contractors & Bad Reputations: How to Pick a Good Contractor

Like most other industries, a few bad apples can give everyone else a bad name. This is especially true for Stormers.

Some storm-chasing contractors are notorious for swooping into neighborhoods after a storm and taking advantage of desperate homeowners by getting a ton of money from their insurance companies and then doing shoddy, cheap work and skipping town before anyone is the wiser.

When the work fails prematurely, they are unreachable for warranty call-backs. The most important thing you’ll want to find out before signing any contract, or within that 3-day cancellation period after signing, is the contractor’s reputation. A simple Google search is often sufficient.

A good contractor will make his or her business visible on dozens of different platforms online so potential customers can easily research their history, licensing credentials, and reputation via customer reviews. If the contractor is nowhere to be found online, you’ll want to avoid doing business with that company.

In 2020 there is no reason for any contractor to not have an online presence unless they are purposely trying to fly beneath the radar. You can take your research a step further by looking up the business owner’s name and doing a background check to see what other businesses that person has been a part of, where he/she is from, and what people say about him/her.

It’s important to know who you’re hiring, and you’ll find that most insurance restoration contractors are good businessmen and -women who have learned that the storm damage industry presents a unique opportunity for growth for their company due to the volume of work provided by storms.

Restoration Tips: Handling Insurance Claims for Storm Damaged Roofing & Siding. It is ironic this post is coming through to Grandma's House DIY

Homeowners insurance is intended to pay policyholders for damages caused by covered perils like storms, so it is not a “scam” to have a professional contractor work with your insurance to make sure all the repairs are paid for.

How the Storm Damage Roofing & Insurance Claim Process Should Work with a Professional Restoration Contractor

The best of the insurance claim specialists will handle the entire claim for you and you won’t have to do a thing. Many restoration and roofing contractors will work with licensed public adjusters who will work on your behalf the way and insurance company’s adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company.

The P.A. will file the claim for you, do all the communication, and will work with your contractor to document all the damage to your home and build out thorough and complete estimates for the repair, replacement and restoration of that damage. During a hail event, this can mean roofing, siding, windows, doors, fencing and more.

The insurance company will often approve these estimates without ever coming out to the property to inspect, especially during a large scale storm event when they’re very busy. When they do come out, your public adjuster and contractor will meet with the insurance company’s claim handler. 

For complicated claims, the insurance company will insist on a licensed structural engineer inspection. When this happens, they are usually looking for a reason to deny or under-pay a claim. A good public adjuster and restoration contractor will often have their own engineers present during an inspection, as a sort of battle of experts.

The P.A. and the contractor will do all the negotiating and communicating for you – you should rarely have to do a thing – but they will keep you updated throughout the entire process.

A claim for roofing and siding damage can take anywhere from one week to 2 or 3 months depending on the carrier and the carrier’s adjuster. Unfortunately, it is typical for insurance companies to drag out claims as a strategy to wear down policyholders and get them to settle for less money, just to finally get it over with.

Restoration Tips: Handling Insurance Claims for Storm Damaged Roofing & Siding. It is ironic this post is coming through to Grandma's House DIY

A good P.A. and restoration contractor will know how to speed the process up, but ultimately the insurance company is responsible for the delays. If it gets drawn out too much, they can be accused of acting in bad faith and could be vulnerable to a lawsuit. Your P.A. will know how and when to make this determination.

Conclusion: Closing out the Claim & Getting Your Property Restored

Once your contractor has reached an acceptable settlement with the insurance company the first portion of the funds will be released, known as the Actual Cash Value amount, or ACV.

This is the Replacement Cost of the damage minus the amount of Depreciation determined by the adjuster for the age and condition of the property. Once the work is done, the Depreciation is released and therefore the full Replacement Cost of the damage has been paid for (minus the deductible, which the insured is responsible for paying to the contractor).

Some insurance companies will release the full Replacement Cost when they get a copy of a signed contract indicating the work is being completed, and some are even more lenient and will release the full amount based on a verbal confirmation that the work is being done.

Your contractor/P.A., having spent weeks to months at this point working on this claim with no income, will probably want to secure the full Replacement Cost as soon as possible in order to fund the project. Usually, your agreement with the contractor will stipulate that you are to sign over the checks as soon as they arrive. Doing so will help the process start as quickly as possible. Once the checks are signed over and work begins, you’re basically done with your claim.

Your contractor will handle the billing of any supplemental work (such as damaged sheathing/plywood discovered during the roof tear-off) to the insurance company, and then when the work is done you will usually get some type of closing document from the contractor along with a sworn statement of loss from the insurance company with the final total dollar amount of the claim.

Now you get to enjoy your restored property! And you can tell all your neighbors about what a great job your restoration contractor did for you.

Restoration Tips: Handling Insurance Claims for Storm Damaged Roofing & Siding. It is ironic this post is coming through to Grandma's House DIY(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

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