We have the opportunity to see insurance claims every day. Each claim is unique due to every policyholder and circumstance being individual. There is not a simple solution to any situation that involves potentially or definitely making a claim with your insurance. We prioritize educating and explaining to every homeowner the state of their situation and all their potential steps forward. The questions and answers below were designed to hopefully give you direction on how to begin your road to recovery. At a minimum, you should know that your insurance company is a for-profit business that you are able to NEGOTIATE with. They have their own self-interest in mind, and understand how to move forward through every situation. It is up to you to stand your ground and dictate what your premium pays for.
What to do with a damaged roof? How do I know when to replace or repair my roof?
Let’s begin with saying that there are many different types of roofs and all are affected differently by the adverse environment of the outside world but the events that cause damage are nonetheless the same. Roofs are most commonly susceptible to damage by strong wind speeds and puncture/impact from hail and wind-blown debris. In our opinion, no roof should be subject to any form of repair. It is impossible to see or calculate all the damage your roof may have been subjected to. If you have a leak from a wind related event there may be more leaks that haven’t had the proper rain/water flow yet. Any impact related incident can take years of life off of your roof by knocking off the course material that is designed to protect your home from the sun. We can promise a repair/patch will not do the job and be an eye-sore because it is impossible to make it look natural. Your insurance should pay for a new roof. Contact us to get in touch with an insurance expert that can walk you through this journey.
What to be aware of based on your roof type…
- Shingle - Shingled roofs are nailed and bonded together with an adhesive that formulates one unified sheet. This roof is made up of hundreds or thousands of individual sheets. It has a high potential for an opening that may lead to damage. These openings may only be intruded by rain that comes down in a certain direction depending on the wind. This leads to unpredictable water damage.
- Clay/Cement Tile - The clay and cement on a roof are not the only things protecting your structure from the outside elements. The prime material protecting your structure is the underlayment or the base that the roof is built upon. This rubber material is what is applied onto the wood of your roof when your roof is first made. If you have this type of roof and you’re experiencing a leak that means that you have two areas of damage: the tile itself and the underlayment.
- Rubber/Torched down/Flat Roof - This is the most basic form of a roof. It consists of a base that is applied to the wood structure of the roof. Then an asphalt product that is similar to a shingle, but it comes in a roll is then stretched out across the roof surface. It is then torched where the material meets for a water tight seal. This roof is prone to damage from wind blown debris and hail that may puncture the rubber. It is also a victim of high winds. These winds can move the rubber around.
When to make an insurance claim on a roof?
First, you should determine the source of the damage, and what may have caused the damage. Then you should hire someone (i.e. home inspector, contracter, or roofer) to assess the damage and determine a price. In this step you should ask to get a certified document that represents this evaluation. You should read your policy with the insurance company to see the terms that are agreed upon to minimize any risk of improper handling of the claim on your behalf. When ready you should proceed with the official estimate and file a claim with your insurance company. They may try to be slick and improperly judge and categorize the cause of damage on your roof. This can lead to a higher deductible, lower recovery limits, and potentially a denial of coverage all together. Contact us to get in touch with an insurance expert that can walk you through this journey.
What to do if my insurance company denied my roof claim?
The first thing you should do is determine if you are facing a true denial. A true denial is a claim that does not fit the named perils in the insurance policy; in other words, the cause of the damage does not meet the listed possible covered causes in the policy. For example, if a policy excludes weather related damage, and your roof was blown off by a tornado then your insurance policy would not qualify to cover for a new roof. In this situation you should contact a public adjuster or property casualty attorney to review your claim and circumstance. A denial may be the result of human error so it is always recommended that you double check with a professional you hired, not the one your insurance company hired. Contact us to get in touch with an insurance expert that can walk you through this journey.
I have brown spots on my ceiling. What should I do?
If you have brown spots and or mold on your ceiling that means you have a form of a leak from either your roof, your plumbing, or your air conditioning. Your first step should be locating the source of this drip and stopping whatever is causing this damage from getting any worse. Any qualified property inspector could be used to help assist in this situation especially if the leak is hidden.
If it is your roof you should attempt to put a tarp on the area until you can figure out how to fix it. This can be done by a licensed roofer. An issue we commonly see when it comes to insurance company’s is that they say to repair or patch the problem area but then your roof may still have unseen issues in other areas that may not have been discovered and your roof will look off with unmatching materials. You should get a new roof all together from your insurance company.
If your plumbing or AC has failed you should turn it off until properly repaired by a licensed professional. With any claim that you face you should see what your estimated cost of repair should be. Your insurance company is going to low-ball you so you should have an idea of what you want to receive. Contact us to get in touch with an insurance expert that can walk you through this journey.
These last bits of information are something every property owner should be aware of, no matter the type of claim. The adjuster your insurance will send you has no training in construction or estimating. Relying on their opinion is the same as relying on your auto mechanic or barber on what it would cost to fix your damaged property. It’s also never the obligation of an insurance company to make sure that any repair restores the resale values of your property. Your insurance company's only obligation is to pay the claim. You should seek expert advice on how to have a successful insurance claim outcome.