You can’t sleep. The dog is keeping you awake as it crouches next to you at each crack of thunder and flash of lightning. You get up to peer through the blinds to see tree limbs all over the yard.
You can see the barrage of thuds in the driveway as stones of hail assault your new truck. The windshield is still intact, but you know there’s no way the paint will survive the storm. Then you hear the drumroll above you as the hail shower is shelling your home.
You feel completely helpless, but you’ll 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 file a homeowner’s insurance claim due to storm damage. But when the need arises, the learning curve is steep.
Having been in the roofing industry for over 20 years, my family’s roofing company, White Castle Roofing, has helped countless homeowners with such claims and has seen firsthand the consequences of failing to act appropriately after a hail storm.
With that being said, I wanted to share the dos and don’ts for homeowner’s hail damage insurance claims.
Do contact your insurance company and a reputable contractor as soon as possible after potential damage occurs.
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 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 shared 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 inspection of your roof. The photo documentation your roofer has gathered can support your claim if the insurance adjuster has differing opinions on the roof’s condition. It’s much easier for a contractor to voice any concerns with the adjuster’s findings face to face than via phone after they’ve returned to their home office in another city or state.
With CompanyCam’s complete insight into 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.
And keep the homeowners in the loop — just like the TikTok below.
Do know the manufacturer’s warranty on the items such as gutters, roofing, and siding.
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 knocking at your door.
You should get at least three estimates and insist the contractor you choose 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 possible. 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 CompanyCam powers the contractor’s job documentation, you can guarantee you will see a customized photo timeline of your repair. 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 ensure the work needed can be fully paid for. Your contractor should have measurement photos of your roof, a list of all materials required, and the price they’re charging.
What if the insurance adjuster’s amounts do not correlate with the improvements that need to be made? In that case, you have the right to hire an independent adjuster to submit their findings to your insurance company and ask for a new payment amount.
If these efforts do not produce results, you can hire an attorney or contact your state’s insurance commissioner’s office to file a dispute. If you 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.
Often, 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.