Filing a residential roof insurance claim can be a long and frustrating process.
You’re bombarded by multiple appointments, endless phone calls, forms to fill out, blame game tactics, and confusing directions coming at you from every direction. By the end, you get an low-ball estimate that doesn’t even cover half of the costs for roof repairs or roof replacements.
These seven tips will help you get a better deal when negotiating an insurance settlement for your damaged property.
1. Be Sure You Understand the Complete Claims Process with Your Insurance Company
To start with, know what’s involved with your homeowners insurance policy and claims process so you can negotiate a fair payout. Here’s a quick general overview of most home insurance claims from start to finish:
- Call a licensed and reputable roofing contractor to ensure you’ve temporarily fixed or prevented any further damage to your roof immediately after a storm or incident.
- Contact your insurance company to notify them that you need to file a claim for damage to your roof.
- Ask the licensed roofing contractor to provide you with a clear picture of any damage.
- Submit an official claim with your insurance company.
- Meet your insurance adjuster for their official inspection of your roof. IMPORTANT: Ask your roofing contractor to be present during this inspection with your adjuster.
- Wait until the insurance company processes your claim based on your insurance policy and receive their official offer for repairs.
- Submit the estimate (with your roofing contractor) to the insurance company for approval.
- Upon approval, talk to your roofing contractor about scheduling repairs, ordering materials, etc.
- Once the job has been completed, an invoice will be sent to your insurance company for payment.
- The insurance company will pay the roofing contractor on your behalf. Occasionally, your insurance company may send you a payout directly. In this case you’ll pay the roofing contractor.
Depending on your area or policy terms, there may be different steps, so verify with an expert on how the process may differ for your home.
2. Carefully Review Your Insurance Policy Ahead of Time
Read through your insurance policies before filing a claim. Make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t included in your coverage. Most insurance companies cover things like storms, hail damage, water damage, falling debris, etc. Be aware that there are some situations where you won’t be able to get reimbursed for expenses. These kinds of claims are usually not covered:
- Damage caused by neglect
- Certain natural disasters
- General wear and tear
- Mold and mildew damage
If you want to avoid paying out of pocket, find out from your insurance policy if your case is covered.
3. Hire a Licensed Roofing Contractor
Hiring a licensed roofing contractor will be the best option if you want a fair estimate from your insurance company. They’ll be able to assess the damage, give a more accurate estimate, and present it to your insurance company more efficiently. Also, beware of any unlicensed roofers that claim to be roofing contractors. Here’s a few reasons why this is important:
- Most insurance companies won’t back payouts for unlicensed contractors.
- Unlicensed contractors will not be able to provide the warranties you need for materials and workmanship.
How do you know who to choose?
Here’s 4 steps to take before you choose a roofing contractor:
- Compile a list of 3 to 5 roofing companies that you want to request quotes from. Make your list by asking your friends and family for referrals, do a local Google Search for “roofers in your city name”.
- Visit the websites for the roofing companies on your list. Do these sites look clean and professional? Do they have a photos of work they’ve done? Do they have a list of their credentials or certifications? Reputable roofing companies always have professional websites because they can afford it and because they understand that it matters.
- Read their customer reviews on Google. Don’t look for a perfect 5 star rating. First pay attention to the number of reviews they have. No business or roofing company will have a perfect 5-star rating. But, would you rather use a contractor with a 5-star rating and 20 reviews OR one with a 4.5 star rating and 200 reviews?
- Verify they have a valid contractors license. Some states have specific licenses for roofing contractors. But, many states (such as Tennessee) issues a general contractors licenses to roofers. In the state of Tennessee you can verify a contractors license at VERIFY TN.GOV.
4. Keep Records
Make sure you keep records of any damages to your roof and home. Remember to take photos and write down details. Keep photos, video recordings, and audio files of your roof, and document everything related to your roof. Also, keep track of all correspondence with the insurance companies, the adjusters, and the roofing contractors for future references. You might be able to use these materials to help negotiate with your insurer.
5. Submit Your Roof Insurance Claim
File a strong insurance claims after receiving an inspection and estimate from your roofing contractor. Complete all the required forms and prepare for any and all of their inquiries. The project manager from your roofing contractor will help you collect and organize all the necessary documents for your claim and present them to your insurance provider on schedule.
6. Review the Offer from Your Insurance Company
After you’ve finished inspecting claims, there’s nothing else left but waiting for them to be processed. Your roofer will review the offer to confirm that you’re receiving a fair payout for the work being done.
If the final payment is less than expected, consider declining the offer and providing an accurate cost.
Use your records, inspections, professional opinion, and photos to show why you deserve more. It’s common for roof related insurance claims to come back incomplete or lacking elements needed for your roof, so be sure to ask for additional details before signing anything. And the right roofing contractor, will help you fight for a fair and reasonable payout.
Should you get a second opinion on your roof damage?
Absolutely! Do not settle after just one assessment from a roofing contractor. We suggest that you get at least 3 inspections and quotes from roofers. Consult with different roofing contractors can often times heed better results. When it comes to dealing with an insurance company, all roofing contractors are NOT created the same. Once you have multiple opinions and estimates in front of you, you’ll be able to utilize them when negotiating with your insurance company.
Are you asking the right questions?
If you don’t ask questions when dealing with an insurer, you may end up taking whatever low offer they give you without question. Write down everything you know about your roof depreciation amount (including any estimates), assembly, material costs, design, and required building code requirements. It will help you accurately calculate the cost of repairs and replacements. Because knowing what replacement costs vs. depreciation means will possibly save you from paying out of pocket since some policies don’t cover replacement cost – only depreciated value.
Ask questions about how the offer was created, how the adjusters came up with their final numbers, and which items are considered replaceable versus repairable. You want apples-to-apples comparisons between your insurance companies’ estimates and the estimates from the roofing contractors.
Reputable and Experienced Roofing Companies Can Secure More for Your Repair or Replacement.
The most reputable roofing companies spend much of their day talking to and dealing with insurance companies. So, if you want to secure the highest possible payout from your insurance company, don’t do it alone. Instead, choose a licensed and insured roofing company to help you out and do the “heavy lifting” with the insurance company FOR YOU.
Using an experienced roofing company will speed up the insurance process and give you an advocate to speak on your behalf to help save you money.
Roofing claims are complex processes that often lead to low payouts. With these tips, you’ll be able to negotiate a solid claim for your home effectively.
If you need professional help, we’re here to take care of everything from start to finish. Schedule your roof inspection online today. We’ll help you navigate the claims procedure, and we’ll ensure that you receive an accurate and fair estimate from your insurance company.