Filing an insurance claim isn’t as straightforward as it seems. That’s because you’ll have to deal with financial jargon when filling out forms and dealing with insurance agents, all of which adds to the complexity of the claims process.
If you’re having trouble filing an insurance claim, there’s the option of having a residential roofing contractor help you with the claims process. Here’s how a roofer can help you with the claims process:
Familiarity With the Claims Filing Process
Since roofing companies work directly with insurance companies and understand their processes, they can ensure you get a fair and accurate appraisal.
Detailed Documentation of Storm Damage
As soon as the weather clears up, you should document the damage to your exterior. Take pictures of torn roofing shingles, and take note of the location of the damage. When you file an insurance claim, you’ll need to submit pictures of storm roof damage. The problem is it’s easy to miss the warning signs of storm damage. However, if a residential roofing contractor is helping you with the claims process, they can conduct a comprehensive inspection to identify the signs of damage you might have missed.
Important note: if water managed to make its way into your interior and damaged your furniture, look for their original receipts.
Comparison With the Adjuster’s Notes
After processing the necessary documents, your insurance provider will send an adjuster, who will assess the extent of damage to your home and calculate your insurance payout. If your roofer is on-site when the adjuster arrives, they can compare notes and discuss your home’s repair needs.
Understanding Your Insurance Estimate
Once the adjuster has finished their assessment, they’ll provide a statement of loss, which itemizes all of the costs of roof repairs or, in serious cases, a metal roofing replacement.
Here’s an overview of some of the terms you may encounter:
- Replacement cash value (RCV) – The RCV (which represents the total amount for the insurance estimate) is calculated by subtracting your deductible (the amount you have to pay before your insurer pays for the repair or replacement costs) from your contractor’s invoice.
- Depreciation – This is the amount that won’t be released until contractors finish the roof repairs or replacement.
- Actual cash value (ACV) payment – The ACV refers to the amount on the first check you receive once your claim is approved. It’s calculated by subtracting your deductible and the depreciation from the RCV. In most cases, the ACV payment is just enough to get the roof repairs started.
- Supplements – In case the adjuster overlooks the storm damage, your insurer will make adjustments to your insurance payout.
Other Things to Keep in Mind When Filing an Insurance Claim
What are the other things homeowners should know before filing a claim?
- Avoid cleaning up until after you take pictures of storm damage to your home – It’s also to avoid conducting major clean-ups until an adjuster has assessed the extent of damage to your home.
- Contact your insurance agent before filing a claim – If you want to learn more about your insurance provider’s claims process, contact your insurance agent, who can walk you through the steps in filing a claim. It would also be a good idea to review your insurance policy to determine what types of damage are covered.
- You should file an insurance claim as soon as possible – There’s a strict time limit on filing insurance claims. In some cases, it can be as short as 14 days after a storm has passed. That’s why you shouldn’t delay filing a claim.
- Make sure your roof undergoes routine roof inspections and maintenance – This is to make sure your insurance policy remains valid. Remember: insurers will only cover storm damage, not damage caused by negligence on the homeowner’s part.
How Often Should You Have Your Roof Inspected?
As a general rule, your roof should be inspected at least twice a year (ideally in spring and fall) and after a storm or extreme weather event. What if there aren’t any leaks? It would still be a good idea to schedule roof inspections. That’s because no matter how durable your roof is, it’s likely to have suffered some form of storm damage. Not to mention it’s easy to miss the subtle warning signs of storm damage. And by the time they emerge, it’s already too late to mitigate storm damage.
What to Expect During Emergency Roof Repairs
Upon arriving, your contractor will take the necessary steps to mitigate roofing damage. For instance, it’s usually standard practice to drape a large tarp over large homes to prevent water from infiltrating your interior. After conducting preliminary inspections, they will come back over the coming days to conduct more comprehensive inspections and finish repairs.
Important note: while waiting for your roofer to arrive, don’t attempt to fix roof leaks, no matter how minor they might seem. That’s because unauthorized repairs can lower your insurance payout or in some cases void your insurance policy.
Always Vet Roofers Before Hiring Them
One more thing: don’t forget to vet a prospective roofer before hiring them. Stringent vetting makes sure the roofers you’ll hire are qualified for the job and they don’t miss any of the signs of roof damage.
Here are some vetting tips:
- Limit your search to roofers near your area – To quickly narrow down your options, focus your search on roofers near you. Hiring local also has other advantages. For instance, since they’re more familiar with the local climate, they can make better recommendations.
- Ask them how long they’ve been in business – The number of years a roofer has been working in the industry should give you a good idea of their level of expertise.
- Certifications – Certifications are proof a contractor has undergone stringent vetting by manufacturers and independent non-profits. In a sense, certifications are essentially a vote of confidence from manufacturers that the contractor won’t compromise on quality.
Why Hire a GAF® Master Elite® Contractor?
The requirements for a GAF® Master Elite® certification are so stringent that only two percent of roofers in the country can qualify. To be certified, a contractor needs to be properly licensed, adequately insured, committed to undergoing continuing education, and have a solid reputation within their local communities. Thanks to the stringent vetting process Master Elite contractors undergo, you can rest easy knowing that they will never compromise on quality. In fact, a survey of more than 28,000 property homeowners found that an overwhelming majority (93%) of respondents said they would recommend their GAF Master Elite contractor to others.
GAF Master Elite contractors also offer exclusive warranties that offer wide coverage and stronger protection for your roof. The Golden Pledge warranty is the GAF’s most extensive warranty, offering 25-year labor and 50-year material coverage.
Keep an Eye Out for Storm Chasers
In addition to the basic qualifications of a contractor (like workers’ insurance), it’s important that homeowners should at least have a basic understanding of the warning signs of roofing scams. In particular, you should keep an eye out for storm chasers. They are usually contractors from out of state the follow storms in the hopes of making a considerable profit by doing as many repairs as quickly as possible. Since storm chasers are focused on finishing as many repairs as possible, the quality of their workmanship is usually poor.
Storm chasers often knock on homeowners’ doors, offering to fix their damaged roofs. That in itself is a red flag—no professional contractor would go door to door to offer their services.
STARR Roofing & Gutters, a GAF Master Elite contractor, offers a wide range of professional roofing services as well as quality metal roofing options. To request an estimate for your roofing project, call us at (512) 736-6539 or fill out this form.