You can’t sleep. The dog is keeping you awake, as it cowers next to you at each crack of thunder and flash of lightning. You get up and peer through the blinds to see tree limbs all over the yard. Out in the driveway, you can hear the barrage of thuds as your new truck is assaulted by stones of hail. The windshield is still intact, but you know there’s no way the paint will survive the storm. And you can hear the drumroll above you as your home is being shelled by the hail shower. You feel completely helpless, but you’re going to have a mess to deal with in the morning, and lots of phone calls to make once the purple blob on your weather app has passed.
Most people don’t often have to deal with filing a homeowner’s insurance claim due to storm damage, however, when the need arises, the learning curve is steep. Having been in the roofing industry for more than 20 years, my family’s roofing company, White Castle Roofing of Lincoln, Nebraska, has helped countless homeowners with such claims and we’ve seen firsthand the consequences of failing to act appropriately after a hail storm. With that being said, I wanted to share the do’s and don’ts for homeowner’s hail damage insurance claims.
Do contact both your insurance company and a reputable contractor as soon as possible after potential damage has occurred. Any amount of hail can be disastrous to the integrity of your roof, so reaching out to a roofing contractor for an estimate should be a priority after a heavy storm. In a highly affected location, most contractors and insurance companies operate on a first come, first serve basis. Find a contractor who will be willing to take roof inspection photos to share with you. You can even ask them if they would share their inspection report with you via CompanyCam so you can see all the photos of the damage on your roof. This report can also be used to share with the insurance company to expedite the process toward a new roof replacement or repair.
Do arrange a time for you, a reputable contractor, and the insurance adjuster to meet to discuss the claim. This is the perfect time to introduce the photo documentation you and your contractor have already discussed. The insurance adjuster will complete their own inspection of your roof, but the photo documentation your roofer has gathered can support your insurance claim if the insurance adjuster has a differing opinion on the roof’s condition. It’s a lot easier for a contractor to voice any concerns with the adjuster’s findings face to face than it is to do so via phone after they’ve returned to their home office in another city or state. With CompanyCam’s full insight of your storm damage, communication between your contractor and the traveling insurance adjuster can proceed quickly if a face to face meeting cannot be arranged.
Do keep a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy and carefully consider the coverage you need before purchasing. Should you need to file a claim, keep the policy handy so that you understand what you are entitled to in terms of compensation.
Do know what the manufacturer’s warranty on the items such as gutters, roofing, and siding are. These warranties are typically voided after you experience hail damage and forgo having your roof repaired or replaced in a timely manner.
Do not sign with the first company that comes knocking at your door offering to assist you. It is prudent to get at least three estimates. Insist that your contractor has a proper method for documenting their roofing jobs, that way you can stay up-to-date on roof repair progress from start to finish. Once massive damage occurs, the best storm chasing contractors from all over the country set their hail tracking maps for the affected area and start going door to door trying to sign as much business as quickly as they can. These may still be reputable contractors, but you can only trust a roofer that goes the extra mile to organize their inspection and job progress photos. If a contractor’s job documentation is powered by CompanyCam you can guarantee that you will see a customized photo timeline of your repair that is easily shared with you from the app to your email, smartphone, or wherever else you prefer. This is next-level customer service that only the best in the industry can provide, so never settle for less.
Do not accept the insurance adjuster’s initial offer if it does not fully encompass the scope of work and material a contractor has provided for you after an estimate. You want to make sure that the work needed can be properly paid for. Your contractor should have measurement photos of your roof, and a report of all materials needed and their price. If the insurance adjuster’s amounts do not correlate with the improvements that need to be made, you have the right to hire an independent adjuster that will submit their own findings to your insurance company and ask for a new payment amount. If these efforts do not produce results, you have the option to hire an attorney or contact your state’s insurance commissioner’s office to file a dispute with them. If you do find yourself in this situation, photos from your roofing contractor of your roof damage will be critical.
Do not feel forced to use a contractor referred to you by the insurance company. Oftentimes, their motivation is to complete the work as cheaply as possible, slighting the homeowner through subpar materials and shortcuts. Hiring your own contractor means that their incentive is to satisfy you over your insurance company. Picking the right contractor means the ability to have instant communication with them, frequent job site updates of your project, and quick turnaround time (because they know what they’re doing and how to get it done).
If you work with a particular contractor for every job you need done or have a field service worker in the family and they struggle with job documentation, recommend CompanyCam to them as their total documentation and organization solution.