In the wake of the Spring 2012 storms, we are getting lots of phone calls from homeowners concerned about storm chasers and hail damage to their roofs & siding. We’ve developed the following guide for homeowners looking to understand the proper procedures when hail damage is suspected.
Proper Steps for Roof Repairs Following Hail Damage
- If the homeowner thinks they have damage, they should first call their insurance company or agent and ask to file a claim.
- The insurance company sends an adjuster to access the damage.
- If the adjuster determines damage has occurred, he will issue a report listing the damage and the expected cost of recovery.
- The adjuster will then cut a check for the damage minus the depreciation of the home.
- The homeowner can choose 2 different ways to hire a contractor. He may bid the work to one or more contractors and accept a bid. If that bid is less than the insurance company estimate, the insurance company will pay only that amount, less deductible. If the bid is more than the insurance estimate, the homeowner can submit the higher bid to the insurance company and attempt to work out the difference. The homeowner can also opt to hire a trusted contractor of their choice. The contractor can then work out their rates with the insurance company.
- Under NO circumstances can a homeowner avoid paying their deductible. Any contractor that suggests otherwise to a homeowner is committing insurance fraud.
- After the project has been completed, the contractor or homeowner sends an invoice and certificate of completion to the insurance company. Insurance then cuts a check to the homeowner for the depreciated portion of the loss (providing the homeowner has replacement cost insurance, which most do). In some instances, a mortgage company and/or contractor may be listed on the check as co-payees.
Key Points Regarding the Insurance Claim Process
- The homeowner does not need a contractor to submit damage information to the insurance company. It is not necessary to hire a company “specializing” in getting insurance claims settled.
- Never let a contractor you do not know or trust climb on your roof to “inspect for hail damage.” To make it appear as if caused by hail, some storm chasers intentionally damage the roof when they think no one is looking.
- You cannot hide or avoid paying the deductible. This is insurance fraud.
- You can choose to work with any contractor you like.