In the past several years, we have all experienced the knock at the door of someone wanting to sell us one thing or another. It is especially inconvenient after a long day at work or when we are sitting down to dinner with our families or when we are entertaining guests. We answer the door to see someone unfamiliar to us that says, "We are working in your neighborhood and are replacing many roofs on your street because of Hail damage. Would you like for me to go up and inspect your roof to see if we can get an insurance claim for you?"
If this has happened to you, your friends or family read the following information on how you should properly file for a Homeowner's Insurance Claim for damaged roofing replacement.
1) Do your homework and get educated about your coverage and any potential costs prior to contacting the insurance company. Locate and carefully read your Homeowner's Insurance Declaration pages regarding your coverage especially the replacement coverage articles. Remember that your Insurance company is the only one who can approve the payment of these damages.
2) Prior to anyone getting on your roof, other than the insurance adjuster (with proper credentials), obtain a current workers compensation and general liability certificate. These coverages should then be verified with the listed insurance agent. If anyone is injured on your property, you are liable without this protection!
3) Contact your insurance company and let them know of any damages (hail or wind) that you think you may have incurred. Regardless of what any contractor tells you, your insurance company must approve your claim for a hail damaged roof.
4) Go ahead and get one or two detailed proposals for replacing your roof. Make sure you only contact State Licensed Contractors in the state where your home is located. And they should be certified by the roofing product manufacturer and listed on the manufacturer's website as such. Be sure to check all contractor credibility through sources such as: Kudzu.com, AngiesList.com and the Better Business Bureau.
5) Never sign any agreement that allows a contractor to act as your representative to file an insurance claim or receive an insurance payment. Never sign any agreement that states that a contractor will install your new roof for whatever the insurance company will pay.
6) Schedule a time to personally meet with your insurance adjuster. Make sure the adjuster thoroughly inspects your roof for not only suspected damage but any other damage. Provide the adjuster with your preferred contractor's detailed written proposal. Your insurance adjuster will provide you with a report detailing all of their expenditures for your claim amount.
7) Provide the insurance companies report to your contractor for their review to insure that the quantities of material and the complete replacement value are correct. The contractor can help you determine if you need if you need subrogation from your insurance company. This can usually be done with a phone call between the insurance adjuster and your contractor. This should be the only time your contractor should speak with the insurance adjuster on your behalf. The insurance adjuster will notify you of any changes to your claim.
8) Remember your homeowner's insurance adjuster is the only person that can approve an insurance claim. You are in control of the contractor that performs any work on your home. DO NOT give any contractor any money up front for a roof replacement. Any reputable company can over the costs of material and labor until the job is complete. Make sure the insurance company makes the claim check payable to you and not your contractor.
We, in the business, call Contractors who follow storms, "Storm Chasers." Although they may give you a price that is hard to turn down, or offer to meet your insurance company's pay out, even including the deductible, it may end up being the most expensive roof that you ever buy.
There are currently many stories (substantiated by your local news providers) of very large and small roofing companies that are in bankruptcy or even have company officials in jail due to unscrupulous business practices taking advantage of homeowners. And there are too many stories of homeowners having liens filed against their homes even after their contractor has been paid because the contractor failed to pay the supplier of the materials. Protect yourself and your home by following the steps above.