Look we understand that no one wants to have to deal with their home getting damaged by a storm. Especially the roof that protects everything else inside the home.
So, did your insurance agent or adjuster tell you to go out and get 3 roof estimates?
Whether you’ve filed an insurance claim prior or not, dealing with an insurance claim for roof damage at a time like this can be a bit overwhelming.
We get it.
No worries, many of our clients here at RoofCrafters Roofing came to us asking this same question. And with 3 decades of experience repairing storm-damaged roofs, we know a thing or two about roof claims. So we'll do our best to answer the question here so that you can move on with your life without all the stress and worry!
In this article, we’re going to cover the insurance claim process.
You'll learn the following:
First steps to filing an insurance claim for roof damage
What happens once you file a claim
Why you do NOT have to provide 3 estimates
And hopefully, you’ll be able to make well-informed decisions about getting your storm-damaged roof repaired.
Let’s dive right in.
First Steps to Filing an Insurance Claim for Roof Storm Damage
If your home was just hit by a major wind or hail storm, tornado, or hurricane, do not rush to call in a claim. We’ll explain this shortly. Two things need to happen before you file an insurance claim.
First, you’ll need to have someone come out to make sure it is safe to be in and around the house. Second, you’ll need to secure the house. As a policyholder, we must mitigate any further damage to our property. In most cases, this means protecting the home's inside from water intrusion.
Having a licensed roofing contractor come out and perform an inspection will end both steps. The contractor should take photographs and document any damage before covering these areas with a tarp. This will prevent the adjuster from needing to remove the coverings to see the damage. Keeping your house secure until the roof can be repaired is a priority.
You’ll want to have your homeowners' policy handy when the contractor is onsite. Here's why…
Roofing contractors will get called out for roof storm damage. Only to find out that the repairs needed to fix the damaged roof do not meet their deductible. Then they learn the homeowner already called their insurance company and filed a claim. We need to avoid this to help you keep your insurance rates down.
When you file a claim, keep in mind, it starts the entire process. Filing a claim that doesn't meet your deductible will still count against your policy as a claim filed. But, you don't receive any insurance benefits. The insurance company assigns you a claims adjuster. Then a lot of work happens behind the scene. Insurance policies are there for us when we need financial benefits.
By having a professional contractor inspect the damage, you’ll be off to a great start getting the damage repaired. With or without the insurance company. Make sense so far?
Ok, let’s discuss what happens once you file an insurance claim.
Filing an Insurance Claim to Repair a Storm-Damaged Roof
Here’s what happens once the call is made to report that you have storm damage and would like to file a claim.
Your insurance carrier will assign you a field adjuster
The field adjuster will contact you within 72 hours to confirm a date for an onsite inspection.
The field adjuster will arrive on the confirmed date and perform an onsite inspection
The field adjuster will take measurements, and photos and document all damage.
The field adjuster will turn the written estimate over to their superior(desk adjuster) for final review.
The desk adjuster will approve or deny the claim based on the photos and recommendations.
Once the claim is approved the desk adjuster will return the Xactimate estimate to the field adjuster.
The field adjuster will then send you the approved Xactimate estimate.
Up to this point, all the above items are pretty standard stuff. For most insurance carriers. Ok, but maybe they all don’t have a 72-hour policy in place to make initial contact. But you get the point. This is all pretty standard for a roof damage insurance claim. And from years of experience, we can say that the majority of insurance companies will operate this way.
But this is where it gets interesting.
Let’s say you didn't call a professional roofing contractor out to inspect the damage and assist you with the claim. Now you get the estimate back from the adjuster to replace your storm-damaged roof, it’s $20,000. What do you do?
You have to start playing general contractor and call around town to find a reputable roofing contractor to replace the roof for $20,000. This may work if the Xactimate estimate the adjuster wrote is accurate. Keep in mind, that adjuster works for the insurance company.
It’s reported that over 85% of storm damage-related insurance claims are underfunded. Now, we can’t confirm if that number is accurate or if the underfunding is done intentionally.
Is it possible that you’re calling around town trying to find a reputable roofing contractor to install a $25,000 roof for $20,000?
Let me also ask you… Is the insurance company paying you for your time calling around and meeting and interviewing all of these roofing contractors? Would you agree that it takes a lot of your valuable time?
In one more scenario, your insurance provider or adjuster tells you to go ahead and get 3 estimates to make the repairs. So you begin calling roofing contractors to get 3 estimates. By the way, both of these scenarios happen every day, we didn't make these up.
Now we’ll discuss getting 3 estimates.
Why You Do NOT Have to Provide Your Insurance Company 3 Estimates
Let’s say you got the 3 estimates the adjuster or insurance carrier told you to get. One estimate was $26,000. The next estimate was $21,000. And the third estimate was $17,500. Which one do you think the insurance company will write the claim for? Of course, it'll be the cheapest claim. You’ll get $17,500 minus your deductible.
But does that mean you’ll get the best job?
Does that mean that your storm-damaged roof will be replaced to pre-storm condition?
That’s what your insurance company owes you if you have an RCV policy(replacement cost value).
Does it mean all the correct materials will be installed per state and local building codes? And that they’ll perform all the work per the manufacturer's written installation specifications. This is what the insurance carrier owes you.
Do you see where we’re going here?
Your insurance company owes you for a roof, exactly like the roof you had. Before it got damaged by the storm. Plus they owe you for all local or state building code upgrades that may have occurred since the roof was installed. And, all the work has to be performed to meet the roofing manufacturer's written installation specification. This is all cut and dry. Black and white. No grey area.
So, why do you need to go out and get 3 estimates? Let us answer this one for you. You don't!
One professional roofing contractor that knows the local and state codes. One who also installs the roofs per the manufacturer's specifications. And one that also has experience navigating the insurance claim procedures is all you need. Find ONE roofing contractor that you feel comfortable working with. A contractor that you believe will do the best job. Don’t worry about the price.
Once you find a professional roofing contractor with experience, they’ll be able to take the stress off of you. They’ll be able to walk you through the entire process. They’ll write the estimate using the same software that the insurance company uses to build your estimate. By using the same estimating software the insurance company uses(Xactimate), you’ll only be responsible to pay your deductible.
Can you see why you do NOT have to get 3 estimates? Also why getting 3 estimates is NOT in your favor?
So, we highly recommend you find a reputable local roofing company with insurance experience. One that you trust. Then, when your insurance company or adjuster asks you to get 3 estimates, you can kindly say, "No thanks." and "I already have the contractor that'll be doing the repairs."
They can not make you choose a low estimate or a substandard company to work on your home. Find a reputable, local roofer, one that you trust, and is experienced in insurance claims, and you'll be in good hands.
Ready to Hire a Roofing Company Experienced with Insurance Claims?
Now that you know the steps to file an insurance claim. You know what happens once you file the claim. And you also know that you do not want to provide the insurance company 3 estimates. You’re probably ready to hire an experienced storm damage roofing contractor.
We’ve put together a hiring checklist to help you when interviewing roofing companies. We’ve also included some important frequently asked questions. Along with the answers so you’ll be able to better qualify your next roofing contractor. Download the checklist below.
If you live in one of our service areas and would like to save time and stress. We’d be glad to schedule one of our expert storm damage estimators here at RoofCraftersto come out and inspect your property. They’ll go over the entire process and explain the steps in detail.