Learn about the steps of an insurance claim for storm damage to your roof.
If you have the right to use a quality contractor, and you only need to pay the same deductible, why would you choose a cut rate company?
Anderson Roofing & Construction only does quality work. We don’t cut corners. We don’t overcharge, but we do charge for all the work that is needed to make your home whole and to meet the manufacturer’s warranty requirements.
If you want a full roof, not just a few shingles, the process could take longer than if you worked with a company willing to cut corners. But an improperly installed roof can damage the interior and the structure of your house. And improper installation voids your roof warranty.
There are several steps in a storm damage claim.
- We inspect for damage and take 10-100 photos.
- We prepare a photo report. If there is storm damage, you submit this to your insurance company.
- The insurance companies now usually send their own inspector or picture taker. Those photos are turned over to a desk adjuster who works for the insurance company.
- The desk adjuster from the insurance company will often offer to pay for very limited repairs. This person is not the same one who sold you the policy. It is somebody whose job requirement is to not approve too many claims or they can get fired. If you take their initial offer, it can leave you with a roof that has clearly been patched. Ask any real estate agent what this can do to your home value. The offer is called an “estimate” for what they suggest needs to be done. You have the right to ask for a copy of your policy and what it excludes. There are homeowners policies that are junk but most allow your home to be made whole again. “Roofing industry estimates show that 100% of claims are systematically underpaid and 95% of those claims are undisputed by the homeowner. This means that education on this subject is desperately needed in our industry, for contractors, adjusters and homeowners alike.” (National Roofing Contractors Association) Even if they send you a check right out of the gate, you have the right to ask for more
- We use the estimate from the insurance company as a starting point and we use the same software they use. We often have to increase (“supplement”) the original estimate because there are items missing that are required by International Residential Code or by the manufacturer. In our experience, about 50% of the required items are missing from the first insurance offer. Common problems:
- A. Inaccurate measurements of the roof.
- B. There are three different types of roof shingles (field, starter and ridge shingles,) but insurance companies often lump them together. They are not interchangeable and must be used in order to have a valid warranty. They are purchased separately and the prices are not the same.
- C. The estimate of the amount of wasted shingles may be inadequate. If you have a complex roof, lots of shingle scraps go to waste.
- D. All metal flashings must be replaced. Period.
- E. Drip edge must be installed. Period
- F. Insurance companies often use the wrong labor codes and cheaper prices. We only use laborers who are trained in roof safety. Unskilled laborers can’t work more than 6 feet above the ground.
- G. Removing and replacing the boots/flashing around vent pipes, chimneys etc.
- We give this “supplement” to you to send to your insurance adjuster.
- The insurance company may agree to pay for all of the supplement or they may argue. We are not allowed to argue for you. We are not allowed to see your homeowners policy nor are we allowed to discuss that policy with you or your insurance company. (There is a federal law that basically forbids practicing insurance without a license.) They may say they have a “policy” not to pay for certain items. (It really means they just don’t want to pay.) We can give you information that will allow you to insist that your insurance company pay for all the steps in a correctly installed roof. Yes, it is a hassle. But, if a stranger hit your car, would you allow their insurance company to replace your black bumper with a white one that “almost fits” because it is cheaper? Or glue the bumper on instead of using the correct brackets? Your home is a big investment and you want it repaired correctly with materials that match the original. We have educational materials that explain all of their customary arguments.
- Some insurance companies will tell you that they require you to get more bids. They will say it is their “policy.” This is just a tactic to pay less. It is rarely written into your policy (contract) with them. If you get lower bids, they will likely try to force you to use a cut-rate company that may not install all required components of a full roofing system and your warranty will be void. Insurance companies make billions in profits every year. Do you want them dictating that a contractor cut corners? Most policies allow you to choose your contractor.
- You may have to throw a snot-flying fit but you deserve a quality roof that meets code, has a valid warranty and you deserve to choose a contractor you trust.
- Sometimes it is necessary to involve other experts such as Public Adjustors, Lawyers or Appraisers. These steps have short deadlines by law but insurance companies are ignoring them. Realistically, it can add several months to the process. The insurance companies are betting you won’t be patient.
- The insurance company agrees to pay for the true cost of the roof and cuts you a check to get the roof started. They will send another check when the work is complete.
- You sign the check from your insurance company over to us and give us a check for your deductible. This is federal law. Roofers have gone to jail for “eating” a deductible. Homeowners can get in trouble, too.
- We order materials and schedule the repairs.
- We do your roof.
- As we are doing the job, we sometimes encounter hidden damage. We will photograph the damage and you can call your insurance company right there to let them know they will be getting an additional bill (another supplement) to cover unforeseen damage:
- A. Sometimes water has damaged the wood decking under the shingles and pieces of decking may need to be replaced so the shingle nails will hold in a high wind. Proper installation and warranty require a nailable surface.
- B. Gutters may be too fragile to be put back on or the wood they are attached to may be fragile and crumbling.
- We document that the work is done and prepare a final supplement and a final invoice for you to submit to your insurance company.
- Sometimes, there is another round of arguing. Hold firm. At this point, we have put in dozens of hours on getting your roof replaced the right way with all the necessary components.
- The insurance company will then cut another check. It will be the amount of our final invoice minus whatever you already paid.
- You sign the second check over to us and let your mortgage company know the work is complete.
- When the check clears, we issue the labor and materials warranties.
- They all live Happily Ever After.