Homeowners take certain comfort in the expression, “I am grateful I have a roof over my head.” That’s all well and good until a severe weather event threatens the one thing that you rely upon so heavily. When it comes to repairing your roof, there are multiple layers baked into the insurance claim cake. Let’s explore them here so you have a keen understanding of the steps to dealing with the insurance company as you determine whether you need to file a claim.
A Very Good Place to Start
Let’s start at the beginning. It would serve you well to maintain a properly documented file on the ongoing status of your roof. Whether you have a file containing comprehensive details about your roof or not, the insurance company will use photographs for their own purposes of justification, including the potential to deny parts or all of your claim. That being said, this is not meant to frighten anyone. It is simply wise to recognize your roof is a big-ticket item, and the insurance companies have been around your block a time or two. You will have to allow the insurance adjuster to perform an inspection before presenting you with an adjustment. That’s the catchy word for mitigating expenses.
Familiarize Yourself with the Plan and the Procedure
If you are not up to speed on what your insurance plan covers, it is time to pull it out and read it. It is advisable to contact your agent and go over the finer points of what is excluded because in the insurance world, if it is not excluded, it’s covered. Also, filing a claim after a weather event is time-sensitive as it relates to cause and effect. If you drag your feet on determining a legitimate claim, you can procrastinate yourself right out of the chance to have the repairs covered by your insurance company.
If that weren’t enough, there could be unseen damage to your roof that you may miss and that may not be identified if you leave the evaluation up to the insurance adjuster alone. If this is overlooked, you could miss an opportunity to have a thorough repair leaving your roof vulnerable and exempt from coverage as time goes by.
Trust the Experts
So, what do you do when you are not a roofing expert? That’s right: You need to engage the expertise of a reputable roofer. You need to inspect your roof for damage immediately following a weather event. Internal damage could be significant and such that only a trained specialist can identify. A reliable roofer is likely to have a specialist on staff who handles insurance issues including performing a comprehensive inspection complete with photographs and a professional evaluation including:
- Proof of damage
- Events responsible for the damage
- Date and time of occurrence
A key goal is to provide justifiable evidence that any damaged areas did not exist before and were directly related to the weather event. A roofing specialist is also the one who will work directly with the insurance adjuster and speak on your behalf to establish the maximum payment that is due.
Proceed with Caution
To reiterate, roof repair runs into the high dollars. For this reason, it attracts the interests of some rather unscrupulous types. Be wary of any roofing contractor pressuring you for your signature up front while in the process of obtaining estimates and having an inspection performed. You could find yourself roped into a contract with a roofer not of your choice. You could consider such a move a giant red flag.
To summarize the steps:
- Look for signs of damage to the roof immediately following a storm
- Document details in writing and take pictures
- Connect with your insurance agent to be sure you know what is covered
- Engage the services of a reputable roofer with expertise in handling insurance claims
- Beware of contingency contracts
- Meet with the insurance adjuster
- Select your new shingles or tiles
- Schedule your repairs addressing all the damages that have been contracted
- Receive your final payment from the insurance company and pay the roofer for a job well done