1. What Types of Roof Damage Exists?
The first type of roof damage is hail damage. Hail damage is devastating for homeowners because of the long term effects. Hail stones can break vinyl seals on windows, skylights, and other roof penetrations. Hail damage can also bruise and degrade asphalt shingles that protect the wood frame of your roof protected. Neglecting hail damage for a long period of time can create costly and potentially dangerous issues. One of the most common problems associated with roofing problems is black mold. Your attic will handle the brunt of the problem as long as it can. Then the roofing problems will enter the home and become a much bigger problem.
The second type of roof damage is wind damage. Typically wind damage is a faster and cheaper to repair. Depending on the shingle used most wind damage can be patched or repaired instead of replacing the entire roof. There are certain roofing systems where this is not the case. Wind damage is also dangerous because it often rips not only the shingles but the felt which is the final barrier between your home and the elements.
2. What are Impact Resistant Shingles?
Impact Resistant roofs (many times referred to as Class 4 by insurance carriers) are roofing systems that have the highest wind and hail rating afforded in the industry. Many insurance companies like State Farm, Farmer’s, and Farm Bureau offer discounts for installing these roofing systems. Unfortunately, your policy only covers a “like for like” replacement cost which means you’ll have to pay for the upgrade out-of-pocket (although some insurance carriers have had promotions to pay the difference). Even if paying for the upgrade yourself, cost is so low the savings cover the extra out-of-pocket costs in a few short years or even sooner. As your roofing contractor, Absolute Roofing will provide your insurance company with a Class 4 certification if you choose to use it.
3. How Do I Know if I Need to File an Insurance Claim?
There are several things you’ll want to know before calling your insurance company. Before filing a claim it’s important to see if the damage warrants filing a claim. Many times the damage is partial and only requires a small repair. Upon our initial inspection, we will tell you whether or not the damage is extensive enough to warrant filing a claim. If the damage is less than your deductible we will write an estimate on site and give it to you. If the damage is significant and requires a full roof replacement it will be time to file a claim together over the phone. Your insurance company will then send an adjuster to inspect the damages onsite. The most important thing you can do as a homeowner at this point is to make it clear to your insurance company you want representation onsite by your roofing contractor. Most of the time we agree on the scope of damage but it’s incredibly beneficial for you the homeowner to have an extra set of eyes helping to hold your insurance adjuster accountable as well. The adjuster will provide you with a full report detailing the total storm damage done to your property and an estimated cost to fully restore your property to its original pre-storm condition.
Depending on the type of storm, you’ll want to make sure your adjuster takes a careful look at your roof, windows, paint, siding or exterior, gutters, vents, air conditioning units, concrete, including driveways and pool decks, and any downed or damaged electrical wires or other utilities. This is one of the areas that Absolute Roofing sets ourselves apart from other roofing contractors in Omaha. We have a specific pattern for inspecting properties which cover all these areas. Many times there is hail and wind damage to parts of the exterior you are not even aware of. Don’t let what you’re not aware of come to bite you down the road when you go to sell the home.
4. How do I file a Claim?
If your home has been damaged, exposure to the elements may greatly increase the amount of damage to you home. Many insurance policies limit your time to file a claim, so don’t wait until you have water dripping through the ceiling, mold in the attic, or your roof caves in to contact a roofing contractor and your insurance company. It might be too late to file a valid storm damage claim. Some important things to know:
- Don’t Delay! Most insurance policies limit your time to file a claim
- You can’t be singled out for a rate increase due to storm damage per the law
- Absolute Roofing will advocate for you
- Always do your homework and understand your rights
- Review your policy
5. What happens if I file a claim and my insurance denies my claim?
You can request 2 separate inspections and re-file a claim that has been denied. Always make sure your contractor is present during an inspection. An experienced contractor can often help get your claim approved, even if it has been denied previously. Always remember the purpose of your homeowners’ insurance is to protect your home against losses that affect the value, functionality, and safety of your home. If your home has sustained storm damage, your insurance company should provide compensation to have your property restored to its original condition before the storm. (If they don’t, it might be time to consider a new insurance company)
6. What are the Steps in the Insurance Claim Process?
Filing a storm damage insurance claim can be a frustrating and confusing process. You should remember that your insurance company is in business to make money and may not always approve your claim. Below is are some steps to help you through the process.
Step 1: Assess the storm damage. Record the date of the storm, signs of damage you can see from the ground, and take pictures of any damage. Search online for news stories of the storm hitting your area, so you have proof if it is ever required. We also pay for detailed hail reports that have the credibility you will need if you’re ever questioned.
Step 2: Contact a reputable storm repair contractor, roofing contractor, or roofing company. Make sure your roofing contractor performs a full property inspection, including the roof, windows, siding, AC units, screens, concrete and all other exterior surfaces. Storm chasers are notorious for only doing roofs and not caring about the other trades and other damage.
Step 3: Read your insurance policy carefully and contact the claims department of your insurance company directly. Be prepared to provide pictures, and the estimate from the contractor you have chosen to work with for repairs. If it’s a full re-roof be prepared to give your statement of damage estimate to your contractor so they can supplement (for local permits, etc) and get on the same page with your insurance carrier.
Step 4: Request an insurance adjuster inspection. Insist your contractor is present during the adjuster inspection. Your contractor’s job is to make sure the adjuster plays fair and provides you with a fair assessment. Remember, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company and may have an incentive to deny your claim if they think they can. For most of the larger insurance companies, this is not the case.
Step 5: If your claim is denied, don’t worry. You are entitled to meet with two insurance adjusters. Remember, even a small amount of damage should result in an approved claim. Any type of damage can devalue your home and damage should be fixed immediately before it leads to greater damage down the road
Step 6: Once your claim is approved your insurance company will send you 2 separate payments. The first payment is typically the Actual Cash Value (ACV), or current value of those items in their damaged condition.The second payment includes the depreciation, or amount withheld from insurance companies until the work is completed. Make sure to work with a roofing contractor who doesn’t require a down payment or the depreciation allowance before you receive it.
Step 7: After your materials are delivered, your roofing contractor will get to work. Any changes to the written bid should be submitted in writing for your approval. No additional payment is due until all the repairs are complete. Once your project has passed a city inspection, you will have a chance to approve the job before making the final payment. Make sure the job is done to your satisfaction and your contractor signs a lien waiver, before handing over the second payment.
When filing an insurance claim, remember most state laws prohibit insurance companies from canceling policies for filing claims in an Act of God storm damage situation. In NE, insurance companies cannot single you out for a rate increase. If the insurance company is going to raise rates, they have to raise everyone’s rates in your area. So, if you don’t file a claim, your personal rate increase will pay for everyone else’s claim except for yours.