When the weather is a delightfully breezy 80 degrees as it is now, it’s hard to think about frozen ice balls falling from the sky. The local hail storm we had in Newport News and neighboring areas was a couple of months ago, however, we are still receiving calls from homeowners with roof damage from that storm. Even if you are contacting your insurance, it’s in your best interest to contact a roofing contractor as well. Listed below are common questions and answers during that process.
How long do I have to file a claim?
The National Storm Damage Center states, “The time you have to file an insurance claim varies by insurance company, but most insurance policies limit your time to file a claim, within 12-24 months of the storm.” However, a best practice is to take action as soon as you know or suspect since small damages can lead to other associated problems and costlier repairs.
If I think I have hail damage what should I do?
Call your insurance company and ask for an adjuster to inspect your roof for hail damage. Call a reputable roofing company and ask for the same inspection. If there are any discrepancies between the adjuster’s findings and the roofer’s findings you may call for a “RE-INSPECTION” where your adjuster meets with the roofer to go over the roof together. Re-inspections are very common.
The insurance company must determine two things when assessing the amount of your loss:
Do I need to get my roof replaced right away?
The insidious nature of hail damage is that it may pose no immediate threat to the structural integrity of the roof. However, many insurance companies have a “statute of limitations” of how long a hail claim is viable. If you have experienced a loss such as hail damage it is prudent to take care of the problem in a timely manner before it leads to other associated problems.
Why would my insurance company replace my roof?
The purpose of homeowner’s insurance is to protect homeowners against losses in their property’s value due to damage that is beyond their control. If you have hail damage, you have experienced a financial loss in that your original investment of a 20-year roof (for example) has now been reduced to a 5-10 year useful life span. Your insurance company will compensate you for your loss and replace your roof.
Why does the estimate read that there are more shingles to replace than there are to remove?
A number of shingles to remove from your roof is the actual amount of square feet that it takes to shingle your roof. However, when putting on shingles, some shingles have to be cut to fit dimensions, ridges, hips and valleys. The insurance company adds 10% to regular ridge roofs and 15% to hip and ridge roofs to account for the loss of shingles.
My gutters and siding are damaged and the insurance company paid me for how many linear feet had to be replaced. When I called a contractor, they had a minimum fee which was far in excess of the small amount the insurance company paid me. What can I do?
Your insurance company understands minimum charges such as these and has set prices they are prepared to pay as minimum charges for all trades. They do not give you the minimum charge up front because such a large percentage of their customers never call a contractor and just pocket the money. If you call your adjuster and ask for the minimum charge for the work, they will pay it without any hesitation.
In my adjustment, my insurance company deducted some money for depreciation, what is that all about?
Different insurance companies call the amount that they hold back different things. Some call it depreciation; other companies figure it in as a dump and removal fee. What it represents is the amount of money the company will hold back until they receive a signed contract from you and a contractor for the work. When they receive a signed contract, you will receive another check for the amount they have held back.
My insurance adjuster said there was no hail damage on his first inspection, I asked the Roofing Company consultant to call him and request to walk through a re-inspection with him. On the re-inspection the adjustor concluded that there was hail damage and “totaled” the roof. Why such a dramatic turn around?
There are many different reasons that this happens so often. Sometimes adjusters get to a roof too soon after the actual damage and the hits haven’t had a chance to weather yet. Sometimes the adjusters are inexperienced. Sometimes they were tired after looking at so many roofs that day. Sometimes they just make mistakes. The best results for the benefit of homeowner seem to be obtained when an experienced roofer walks through the inspection with the insurance adjuster and calls to the adjuster’s attention any damage that he sees.