With any damage or roof claims, it will be important for your insurance claims to mitigate any potential safety hazards or problems. If you need tarp placement, roof inspections, or have other concerns that may cause further damage, click below to call us right now!
Dealing with the aftermath of a Wildfire, Monster hail storm or Tornado strength wind can be one of the most stressful situations that property owners face. After the dust settles and all concerned are safe one of the first questions asked is, “where should I begin the insurance claims process for roof damage?”
Roof Claims: Guide to seamlessly processing your roof insurance claims.
After a catastrophic weather event, or a natural disaster such as a wildfire the first thing we want to do is to make sure that everybody is safe and sound. Then we can consider our properties, are the properties safe, or should they be vacated and left to the professionals.
Concerning your roof, you will want to assess the damage. Our Guide “How to Spot Roof Damage from the Ground Looking Up” is a handy tool to help you get started with DIY roof inspections. You will be looking for the most noticeable signs of damage such as cracked, broken or missing shingles. Hail damage can be easily overlooked during roof inspections. Hail that strikes the roof backed by wind will leave a small dimple that may not look like much to be concerned with. However, the dimple or dent causes tiny cracks that spread out like a spider’s web. These cracks expand and contract while the weather changes, they fill with moisture then dry out, in a few short years these dimples can be a major problem as they expose the roof deck and cause leaks into your attic that may also go unnoticed for years. If the hail is like sharp shards of ice these tiny cracks are even harder to spot if you do not know what you are looking for. If you do notice small dimples, document them as they may aid in future insurance claims.
Strong wind causes roof damage that may be even harder to spot. Look for curling shingles. Wind hitting the roof's downward slope from the roof center will cause the shingle to lift up or in extreme cases, up and off. This uplift may be unnoticeable after the wind quits blowing and the shingle settles down again. But again, there is a huge potential that your roof deck can be easily exposed to moisture especially as the seasons bring blowing snow. Snow melts easily under the shingles and will be a slow but constant offender for most roof decks.
Use our helpful guide to get started with a quick, safe, overview of your roof condition from the roof center down to the eves. Make notes and take pictures that you can used to document the damage to your property. As you continue reading, we will expose some of the common mistakes that both homeowners and insurance adjusters make as we dig into the insurance claims process.
National Association of Certified Roofing Inspectors show what to look during a roof inspection (looking from the eves to the roof center).
Most insurance agents will stress the importance of regular roof inspections, documenting everything and documenting it often. They recommend whenever you purchase something new you should take pictures, make a video of the item and its condition when you purchased it. If applicable, record any warranty info like how long the product should last, are workmanship and material covered under the same warranty, and are there weather exclusions, cosmetic damage exclusions, or any changes to the warranty that are covered in the small print. The same goes for your insurance policy, go over it in detail and make sure to save a copy with your other important documents (insurance companies will go to great lengths to hide exclusions from you, so do not rely on your agent to keep a copy of your policy handy. Oftentimes, once the policy is approved your agent no longer has access to it in its entirety).
We recommend that you make a current assessment of the condition of your roof at least every other year. If possible, have your roof certified by a home inspector or a licensed contractor every 1-5 years. This will streamline the insurance claims process and it may be required if you choose to shop for a new insurance policy, better mortgage terms or would like to sell your property. To learn more about Roof Certs and Roof Inspections check out our Blog below.
Make sure that your pictures or videos are time stamped. Roof damage that is not easily spotted at first and later causes a serious issue can easily be sourced during the insurance claims process by moving backwards through the chronological order of your documentation. If you choose to use pictures with your roof inspections, take plenty of them from as many different angles as possible starting at the roof center and moving down. The more details that you have documented the easier it will be to form your roof claims and to validate your arguments. Don’t forget to document the date of any storms that may or may not have caused damage.
Storm restoration contractors know what to look for during roof inspections, on the surface and below the surface, from the roof center to the eves, and can be of great service when documenting damage after a major storm or natural disaster. A Roof Cert will not only aid in the event of insurance claims, but it will help you to decide if the damage is significant enough to warrant roof claims. It may be that simple repairs are all that are needed to prevent long-term weaknesses.
Putting Roof Insurance Claims together.
Most property owners are not excited about navigating through the insurance claims process. It can easily turn into a time consuming, frustrating process. Follow-ups with your insurance adjuster, desk adjuster, claims agent, and local agent can be an undaunting task, especially if you have a work schedule to keep or other family obligations. An experienced roofing contractor that you know, and trust will be worth their weight in gold at this time, especially if they specialize in your type of insurance claims. Experiencing a major loss and getting your roofing and insurance questions answered by someone with your best interest in mind can be stressful on your entire family. Billings Metal Roofing – abc Seamless is there for you and has the experience necessary to be your best advocate in these trying times.
How to make sure that your insurance company is treating you fairly.
Most insurance policies will have some type of time limit to opening an insurance claim after a weather event. To be sure that you receive all that you have coming to you it is a good idea to be proactive when it comes to your home and your roof. The thing to keep in mind is that insurance companies negotiate with their best interest in mind. Their first adjustment is usually just an overview and a low-ball statement that they are aware of the problem and are suggesting a total roof replacement, a repair, or a comparable product. The money they offer is not the concern yet, the first concern is that they realize the total course and scope for your restoration project. If a friendly contractor stops by and suggests that they can finish your project for the money allotted at this point, please be aware that, chances are, that is not possible. Insurance will settle your claim, and the contractor will bombard you with change orders and added expenses that will have to come from out of your pocket. Or, they have no plans of ever finishing your project in the first place. They only want your initial investment. Please beware of unscrupulous contractors and business practices.
On the first adjustment, adjusters will make mistakes on most claims. The truth is that mistakes can be made, usually due to the adjuster not seeing the total scope of your project, or that they are not aware of pricing comparable building products, or products that have been discontinued.
Usually, it is a good idea to let the adjuster look at your property as soon as they can. Chances are that the same adjuster will be adjusting several properties. In most cases their primary concern will be to document an overview of the damage. From there a desk adjuster will take over unless you accept the adjustment as is.
ATTN: Please leave your ladder where it is at. Do not put your personal safety in jeopardy...
This guide we help you search for the most common warning signs of roof damage; from the ground looking up to the roof center (binoculars help if possible).
With quick, DIY roof inspections, shingles will start to show signs that that they have reached the end of their service life. These signs are noticeable even to an untrained eye and usually mean that your roof will need to be replaced and insurance claims processed. Shingle blistering may look like hail damage, but is is usually caused by excessive moisture and heat. Excessive moisture is due to extreme humidity and is the result of a poor or improperly vented attic space.
Usually, missing shingles are a sure sign that your roof is past its prime. More often than not, missing shingles are the result of storm damage. Missing shingles are the leading cause of water damage to personal items inside the home and will need to be documented during roof inspections and the insurance claims process.
If your roof looks to be sagging it may be the result of improper installation methods, or it could mean that your roof is supporting too much weight. Either way, your roof is weak and deteriorating, and sagging is a definite sign that roof replacement is a priority before total collapse. During professional roof inspections or roof claims, construction engineers may be called in to professionally evaluate your home's structure.
After aging for at least 4 seasons, if you notice these granules, it means that your roof has reached to end of its service life and should be replaced. For more information on accelerated deterioration of asphalt shingles and insurance claims please read the Roofing Blog dated 3/10/19.
Overtime, the biggest offender of roofing systems is the change in weather. All roofing materials will expand or contract due to the roof's environment and, with most roofing systems this will lead to larger holes around roofing nails, popped grommets and screws, or entire roof panels that can lift above the roof decking. If you notice nails, screws or fasteners that are popping out of place your entire roof may be in danger of water penetration, slippage, or uplift that can completely remove the existing roof. It your home is in a Wildfire Zone this event is the leading cause of total destruction to property and personal items.
A Dark area on your roof usually means that your roof has aged, and granule lose has become apparent. Be careful here, you do not want to dismiss a more serious problem by thinking that you will be replacing the roof soon anyway. Dark areas can mean that algae, moss, or mold have taken hold on your roof. It may be, if your roof is layered, that this issue was simply covered up when the second layer of roofing was installed. Mold can easily turn into a health issue that should be remediated as soon as possible.
Roof flashings are trim pieces or accessories that are placed anywhere that the roof intersects with a different projection. They can be different roof elevations, pipe jacks or vents, chimneys, or HVAC systems and they are meant to aid in sealing the structure. If they are improperly installed or failed for any reason water will easily leak into your home.
Water leaking into your home is a common issue that can easily go unnoticed until it is too late. It starts in the roof decking, goes thru ceilings and continues to leak down walls until it ponds up on your basement floor. No matter what material is on your roof, routine roof inspections by professionals will expose this issue, hopefully before the big screens in your basement theater room mysteriously short out. Today's metal roofing systems are designed to eliminate this problem for homeowners once and for all.
If you have an asphalt shingle roof, chances are that it has deteriorated long before you may have expected. If your present roof is a second layer to a previous roof (new roofing installed over the top of existing roofing) then you may want to investigate your roof's condition deeper than just with visual roof inspections. Our experts know what to look for on the surface and below the surface, they know how comparable building products stand the test of time, how to process insurance claims and if you have hidden issues with your roofing system they will expose them, and recommend solutions to building your roofing system to last for the lifetime of your home.
As building codes, and homeowners alike demand energy efficiency in building products this has led to over-insulating, insufficient attic ventilation, trapped mold particles, sweating caused by humidity. Increased heating and cooling costs are the first indicator that something is wrong and should be considered along with a professional roof inspections.
Roof management professionals have systems in place to keep homeowners informed while addressing small repairs, upkeep, and other scheduled maintenance (Roof Certifications). Today's homeowners are starting to consider that their roof can either be a source of continued expense, or it can be solution that will protect the future of your home for a lifetime.
With our professional roof inspections, we will look out for you and your roof with scheduled inspections, or if you are a business owner, our roof management plans will exceed your expectations and save your business thousands of dollars both in tax incentives, and permanent solutions to roof maintenance and management.
The Truth is, mistakes can be made, mostly due to insurance adjusters not looking at the total scope of the project, or they are not aware of comparable building products. Restoration Contractors know what to look for, on the surface and below the surface. To make sure that your insurance company is treating you fairly you will need someone that you trust in your corner. The little mistakes made by adjusters can add up to thousands of dollars over the course of your project and your roof claims. If you accept their work as being competent you may be in a position to lose the money needed to restore your home.
You may want to interview several different contractors along with your roof inspections, it seems that it is wise to get second opinions. Now, sometimes other contractors will want to save time and energy by working off of the adjuster's paperwork, but are the measurements correct? Are the calculations correct? And are the accessories needed to complete your project included.
If you find yourself thinking…
I did not check to make sure the calculations were correct, I am not sure what my roof measurements are, and I do not have a complete list of accessories. Then give us a call, at least we can help you get started with everything you will need to complete the insurance claims process correctly the first time, and ensure that your insurance company is treating you fairly.
Will your contractor be able to communicate directly with the desk adjuster or underwriter? Insurance companies have and use their own language. If your contractor isn’t able to understand or communicate in this language there are several little things that happen that add up to big things.
Always ask for references and follow up with them. In the day of social media word travels fast, however it isn’t always the truth. Some review sites are paid sites like Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor and their reviews favor the contractor that is a paid subscriber. Your best bet is to call your local Better Business Bureau or to visit their site. Also, trade associations like your local builders association, NARI (National Association of Remodelers Inc), or Qualified Remodeler are some other reputable sites. Don’t always trust your insurance agent to provide a reputable contractor. Insurance agents tend to refer contractors that they have partnerships with and they are not always the best contractors, however they are the cheapest. Shop for the best value - the best quality - and a contractor that is accessible and has stood the test of time.
The insurance process is long and drawn out in most cases. There will be a need for documentation, research, and correspondence back and forth between you and the adjuster, you and the desk adjuster, you and your agent, and your and the underwriter of your property insurance claim. If you prefer that your contractor not be involved in this process or that you want a 3rd party to negotiate settlement of the claim a public adjust can be your best advocate to help you through the process. Whether you choose your contractor or a public adjuster it is a good idea to hire someone that has the expertise, time and willingness to make sure that you are treated fairly. Don’t forget that timing is of the essence.
We love our customers, and we love to visit about our environmentally friendly, permanent, low maintenance, exterior building products, so feel free to visit the store, or call and text us at our Billings, Bozeman, Miles City, Cody, Sheridan, Gillette and Casper locations.
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While it is important that you have the right coverage for you roof, it is equally important that you negotiate the right amount for your roof replacement, and that your insurance company treats for fairly.
Home Advisor reports that homeowners spend an average of $12,000 to replace their storm damaged composite roofing systems. With that in mind roof replacement can be one of the most expensive home improvement projects that homeowners face.
Montana and Wyoming homeowners don’t always have the luxury of saving up over the years to invest in a roof system that will stand the test of time and help them avoid costly repairs and frequent maintenance issues. Damage due to a strong, sudden wind storm or wind and hail storm can remove that option and force you to take immediate action. When is comes to your home and your home owner’s insurance it is a good idea to be proactive and get to know what your policy can, and cannot pay to replace?
There different insurance policies, and some offer more coverage than others… in the beginning insurance is about covering your exposure to risk and you personal comfort level concerning that risk. Sometimes homeowners look at the situation as I pay less now, but in the event of a catastrophic weather event I will pay more to file a roof damage claim on my house. Also, with homeowners insurance, there are different ways for you to be compensated when you do file a roof claim.
These are known as loss settlement options and it is about how your insurance company assesses the cost to repair, replace or rebuild your property or to replace items lost to the event. Typically, with homeowners insurance policies the coverage for your roof, for example, is factored into the total cost to insure your property and settlement options are regulated by Montana or Wyoming. These different settlement options for your roof are ACV or Actual Cash Value or RCV, Replacement Cost Value.
Actual cash value policies factor in the roof’s age and condition to put a value on its worth as it is when you file a roof claim. This is considered or known as the depreciation amount and with ACV policies you are paid by your insurance company up to this amount. Let’s say that your composite shingle roof is 10 years old and only worth half its value now, it has depreciated by 50%, so the insurance companies only pay up to half of what your new roof will cost.
Replacement Cost Value insurance policies pay to repair or replace your roof without factoring in the depreciation. A sneaky little trick that insurance companies like to pull is a policy addendum called the functional cost addendum. The addendum or exclusion states that the insurance will only pay for the cost of common construction materials. So if you have custom or antique products on your home, look out for this.
Some other settlement options include Extended Replacement Cost and Guaranteed Replacement Cost Value Policies. These can be worth every cent of extra money that your obligated to pay on your policy and basically what you get for that extra money is a “cushion” if you do experience a total loss. Usually the insurance underwriter will look at the roof claim and anything else lost in the event. So if you do elect to include this option just make sure your roof claim isn’t only your roof, include the rain gutter, chimney and any other property that was damaged or lost. As always, you can find these addendums and exclusions on your policies declaration page.
Other loss settlement options, such as extended replacement cost and guaranteed replacement cost, are also available (and good to have) with your homeowners policy. These are designed to give you an extra cushion if you experience a total loss of your home. They’re less likely to kick in if you experience a covered loss of only roof damage.
The main thing is all of this is that when it comes to insuring an investment such as your home the loss settlement options can make a huge difference in how your insurance company treats you and reimburses you after a loss.
Homeowner’s Insurance is designed to cover the cost of a sudden, unexpected, catastrophic loss. Your policy is not designed to cover damage as the result of neglect, delayed maintenance, or wear and tear on your roof.
If your roof is getting older using as ACV policy to cover it can turn into a large financial burden when you file a claim. Sometimes adjusters will classify your existing roof as functionally obsolete or at the end of its expected life span. If this is the case the adjuster is considering your roof to be depreciated out, meaning that after they deduct the cost of the depreciation there is not much value left to insure so you will most likely be left with the entire burden of replacing your roof.
With a Replacement Cost Value Policy, you will be paying a little more at policy renewal, but you will not be hit with out-of-pocket expenses. One way to make up for these added expenses is to increase your deductible. It pays to understand how your policy works, and to eliminate any surprises.
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