The Truth Behind Underfunded Roof Damage Claims: What You Need to Know
February , 2023 | 9 min. read
Did your home suffer roof damage during a storm? Are you finding yourself at the mercy of your insurance company that seems to be more interested in saving a buck than helping you recover? Welcome to the club.
We understand storm damage roof claims can be stressful. But with the right information and preparation, you can ensure that you will receive a fair settlement.
RoofCrafters has been at the forefront of the roofing industry for 30 years. During this time, we have gained valuable experience dealing with insurance companies. helping our clients navigate the complex process of insurance claims. By understanding why insurance companies deny or underfund claims, we're able to help our clients avoid these pitfalls. Now we want to share our experience with you.
In this article, we'll dive into the reasons why insurance companies may deny or underfund storm-damaged roof claims. And what you can do to protect your rights as a homeowner. And hopefully, by the end, you'll feel better educated about the insurance claim process.
So let's dive right in.
Why Do Insurance Companies Deny or Underfund Storm-Damaged Roof Claims?
Insurance companies may deny or underfund storm-damaged roof claims due to a variety of reasons. They may also base their decision on an evaluation performed by their adjuster. This adjuster may not have adequate training or experience in assessing roof damage.
These factors can result in denied or underfunded claims:
- Lack of documentation: Companies may deny claims for insufficient documentation. You as the policyholder have to provide documentation to prove that the damage was caused by the storm. This can include photographs of the damage, a detailed written description of the damage, and a copy of the insurance policy.
- Limited understanding of the policy: Many homeowners do not understand the terms and conditions of their policy. Not being aware of what is covered can lead to misunderstandings and disputes with the insurance company.
- Pre-existing damage: Insurance companies may deny claims if the damage was pre-existing. This can include wear and tear, maintenance issues, or any damage that occurred before the storm.
- Policy exclusions: Insurance policies may have exclusions for certain types of damage, such as damage caused by hail or wind. If the policyholder's claim falls under an exclusion, the insurance company may deny the claim.
- Policy limits: Insurance policies may have limits on the amount that the policyholder can claim. If the cost of the repairs exceeds your policy limit, the insurance company may only pay out the policy limit.
- Limited understanding of roofing: Insurance adjusters may not have roofing knowledge. Being unable to properly assess the true cost of repairs, leads to an underestimation of the cost of repairs.
- Preference for low-cost repairs: Insurance companies may opt to choose the cheapest repair option. Going the cheap route instead of the best option for you as the homeowner.
- Failure to maintain the property: Insurance companies may deny claims if you've failed to maintain the roof. This can include failing to fix known issues or not keeping up with regular maintenance such as a regular roof check-up.
- The insurance company's interest: Companies may decide to underfund if the repairs are less than the amount requested. This can be due to the insurance company's estimates, or because they believe that the policyholder's estimates are too high.
- Lack of transparency: The claims process can be difficult to navigate. Generally speaking, homeowners may not aware of their rights or the steps they need to take to get a fair settlement. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, so they may have a financial incentive to underfund claims.
As a policyholder, you should always review your insurance policies. Document any damage thoroughly to maximize your chances of receiving a fair settlement. You need to understand your rights and the claims process before making a claim. It’s usually recommended to work with a professional to help you navigate the process and advocate for a fair settlement.
Why are Many Storm-Damage Roof Claims Underfunded by Insurance Carriers?
Insurance companies are in the business of mitigating risk and maximizing profit. Every company operates from a different set of values. However, when it comes to storm-damaged roof claims, they may underfund the claim for several reasons.
Some of the most common reasons for underfunding include:
- Estimating costs: Insurance companies use their estimating software to determine the cost of repairs. Which may be lower than the estimates provided by a contractor.
- Policy limits: Insurance policies may have limits on the amount that the policyholder can claim. Which could be less than the actual cost of repairs.
- Depreciation: Insurance companies may take into account the age and condition of the roof when estimating the cost of repairs. For example, if the roof is old, the insurance company may only pay for repairs based on the depreciated value of the roof. Instead of the full cost of repairs.
- Policyholder's role: Policyholders should have an active role in the roof claim process. They should provide the insurance company with detailed documentation of the damage and estimates of the cost of repairs. If the policyholder is not able to provide this information. Or if the insurance company believes that the policyholder is not being truthful, they may underfund the claim.
- Negotiations: Insurance companies may offer a lower initial settlement. This is in the hopes that you'll accept the offer rather than continue to negotiate for a higher settlement.
- Insurance company's bottom line: Insurance carriers are for-profit businesses. This means that their bottom line is to keep expenses low. They're in the business to make money. Underfunding claims is one way for them to do that.
It's important to note that insurance companies are not always out to cheat policyholders. But it's also important to be aware of the potential for underfunding. To be prepared and ready to negotiate for a fair settlement. It's also recommended to have a professional inspector assess the damage. It will make it easier to dispute and negotiate with your insurance company.
What You Need to Know About Underfunded Claims
You should be prepared and understand that insurance companies may underfund claims for storm damage to your roof. Or in many cases deny full roof replacement. Being prepared and informed will help to ensure you get fair compensation.
Some of the key things homeowners should know about underfunded claims include:
- The value of their policy: Homeowners should understand the limits of their insurance policy. As well as the coverage provided for storm damage. You should also be aware of any deductibles or co-payments that may apply.
- The cost of repairs: Homeowners should have a general idea of the cost of repairs for a roof before making a claim. This will help you to negotiate with the insurance company and ensure that you’re being offered a fair settlement.
- The importance of documentation: Homeowners should document the damage done to the roof as soon as possible. Take photographs and keep all receipts and estimates. This will help you to present a strong case to the insurance company.
- The role of a professional inspector: Having a professional inspector assess the damage to the roof will help you get a fair settlement. An experienced contractor knows how to negotiate with the insurance company.
- The negotiation process: Homeowners should be prepared to negotiate with the insurance company. Be prepared to dispute any offers that you feel are too low.
- The need for professional representation: Often hiring a Public Adjuster or attorney can prove to be beneficial. This is needed in some cases to ensure fair compensation.
- Understanding the insurance company's bottom line: Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They're in it to make money. This means that their bottom line is to keep expenses(claim payouts) low. Underfunding claims is one way for them to do that.
You need to know your rights. Be prepared to advocate for yourself when claiming storm damage to your roof. Hire an experienced storm damage contractor. By understanding the insurance process, you will increase your chances of fair compensation. And most importantly getting your property put back to a pre-storm condition. That should always be the goal.
What Recourse Do You Have When an Insurance Claim Settlement is Too Low?
If you are faced with an insurance claim settlement that you believe is too low, you have several options for recourse. From negotiating with the insurance company to hiring an attorney. Taking legal action, you have various paths to pursue to receive a fair settlement for your storm-damaged roof claim. These options can help you to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve for repairs and replacements.
Options for recourse:
- Negotiate with the insurance company: You can negotiate with the insurance company to get a higher settlement. This may involve providing more documentation or estimates to support your case.
- Hire a public adjuster: A public adjuster is a professional who can help homeowners to navigate the claims process. They negotiate with your insurance company direct. They can provide an independent assessment of the damage and help to build a case for a higher settlement.
- Hire an attorney: If negotiations with the insurance company do not result in a fair settlement. You can consider hiring an attorney. An attorney can help to review the policy and the claim and can represent you in court when necessary.
- File a complaint: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the claim. You can file a complaint with the state insurance commissioner's office. This may lead to an investigation and may help to resolve the dispute.
- Take legal action: If you feel that the insurance company has acted in bad faith or has violated the terms of the policy. You have the right to take legal action. This can include filing a lawsuit or going to arbitration.
It is important to remember that you have the right to appeal the decision of the insurance company. That is if you believe that you have not received a fair settlement. But keep in mind, it's better to have professional help to navigate the process and increase the chances of you receiving a fair settlement.
Conclusion - What's the Next Step?
Storm damage roof claims can be a complex and frustrating process for homeowners. Insurance companies may deny or underfund claims for a variety of reasons, but you have several options for recourse. Whether it's negotiating with the insurance company, hiring a public adjuster, or hiring an attorney. You have the right to pursue a fair settlement for your damages. File a complaint or take legal action!
RoofCrafters has been helping homeowners get their storm-damaged roofs replaced for 3 decades. We’ve done so by helping them navigate the insurance claim process. By helping provide all the necessary documentation. Such as building code upgrades, photos of the damage, and fair labor rates. By doing so we've been able to get our clients fair settlements and put the roof back to pre-storm condition.
By understanding the process and your rights, you can protect your investment. And by doing so ensure that your roof gets restored to its pre-storm condition. With the right support and guidance, you can navigate the claims process with confidence and get the settlement you deserve.
My name is Anthony, and I am the lead estimator of RoofCrafters’ Georgia/South Carolina division. The roof is the most important part of a structure, and people count on that to protect themselves and their families. That is one of the many reasons why I love my job and enjoy coming to work every day. The continuous training, honesty, and providing the customer with the Roofcrafters experience is what makes me the best in the business.