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Storm & Hail Damage Insurance Claims FAQs

Q.) My insurance company said my roof just needs to be repaired, but I think (or other roofing companies have told me) that it needs to be replaced. What can I do?

A.) Many times, especially after a major catastrophe such as a tornado or a hail storm, insurance companies will hire independent adjusters to help them with the overload of claims they receive. These independent adjusters are working on a contractual basis for the company and many times do not have a lot of experience in roofing. It is quite possible that your insurance adjuster did not know enough about your specific roof system to make an educated decision on what it will take to bring your roof back to the same condition it was in before the storm. Many times adjusters will simply count the number of broken or missing roofing components, and pay for these specific areas to be repaired but they fail to take into account all the problems that are not obviously visible such as loose tiles or shingles that have become unsealed. It may be worth your while to have an experienced roofer examine your roof to see if your adjuster has overlooked anything. If the roofer does find damage that was missed on your first inspection, you can file for a re-inspection and have the roofer meet your new adjuster to show them exactly what was overlooked the first time.

Q.) My insurance company said that I needed a new roof, but did’nt pay me enough money to have it done. How can I afford to have it replaced?

A.) Insurance companies have all their adjusters write their claims with software developed specifically for storm claims. There are several popular software companies they can choose from but they all have one thing in common: adjusters download price lists for the area they are working in and these prices are what they use to determine how much your repairs are worth. Because insurance companies do not want homeowners to make money on their claims (because this is not the point of insurance), they will err on the side of caution. Once the homeowner finds a contractor they wish to use, they can send in the contract showing the actual cost of the repairs and any items that were missed on the first inspection. If the contractors estimate is within reason and the items they claim need repairs really do, then the insurance company will pay the difference in cost, minus the deductible, of course. This process is called Filing a Supplement. You are not stuck with the amount the insurance company paid you it is just an estimate. You are owed what it costs to put your home back the way it was before the storm.

Q.) My insurance company told me to get 3 different estimates and submit them for my claim. Why?

A.) Just like the rest of us, insurance companies are in the business to make money. When you submit 3 different estimates, guess which one the insurance company will pay? The lowest one, of course. You do not have to submit 3 different estimates if you know which contractor you are going to use. You as a homeowner have the right to choose whichever contractor you want, and they as an insurance company have an obligation to pay what that contractor is charging (within reason). If you do submit 3 different estimates, and the insurance company pays the lowest one, you are now pretty much stuck with using that company, because you would have to pay out of pocket to use any of the other contractors since they were all charging more money. Because you submitted the estimates, you were leaving the decision to the insurance company, and it is now a lot harder, if not impossible, to get them to pay any more money should you decide on a different contractor who is charging more money.

Q.) I got several different estimates to replace my roof and they were all different. Why not just go with the lowest one?

A.) When you get an estimate that is much lower than the rest, be careful! There may be a reason they can afford to charge so little maybe they don’t have all the overhead the other companies do for things like insurance and license fees.

Before you make any decisions, you have to know how to read the estimates you have been given and make sure you are comparing apples for apples. You need to be able to decide if all the estimates are offering you the same quality of materials and workmanship. One estimate might propose re-roofing your house with 25-year shingles, and the other, which is just a little higher, might be for 40-year shingles. So on first glance, you might think the lower estimate is a good deal, when really, the higher estimate is giving you more for your money. Another example: a lower estimate proposes to replace your tile roof – in 6 to 10 months. The higher estimate proposes to replace your tile roof in 6 to 8 days. You cannot just consider the price of the estimates – you have to consider all the variables. Most importantly, you have to consider the company. It is always better to pay more for a contractor with experience, then save a few dollars by hiring somebody with none. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

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