The Insurance Process. Filing a claim for hail damage


Dealing with Storm Damage and Insurance Claims

Most homeowners here in Texas have had storm damage in the past and are all too familiar with the Insurance Process and how to find a good Local Roofing Contractor. For many others, this will be a new experience … and probably a confusing one at that. This article is to help educate homeowners with the Insurance process and to give tips and pointers on making the process as painless and easy as possible.

One: Have a roofing company which specializes in storm damage inspect your roof. There are many roofing companies in Austin and Dallas with years of experience in replacing roofs, but which have little knowledge in identifying hail damage, and certainly clueless when it comes to working with the insurance company. You want a company that specializes in Insurance claim Storm Damage. They will work with the insurance company on your behalf to make sure you get the money needed to do a quality job.

Here are a few reputable and experienced roofing contractors in Austin And Dallas Areas:

Two: You must feel comfortable with the sales consultant that represents this company. If you feel uneasy about this person, keep looking. A company is only as good as the people who represent them. Remember, the Insurance adjustor works for and is paid by the insurance company. Regardless of “like a good neighbor” and “you’re in good hands”, it comes down to money, and despite what you may believe and feel about your agent and insurance company, they will try to settle a claim for an amount less than what they can and will actually pay. You need someone on your side working with your insurance.
Additionally, during times when their claim volume is high due to storms, many insurance companies are overwhelmed with new hires and trainees. It is very easy, and common, for the adjustor to miss items that should be paid for, or make a mistake in measurements or pricing. Most homeowners don’t have the knowledge to know how much the insurance company should be paying for replacement of their roof, gutters, or windows. Storms, tornadoes and hurricanes around the country effect prices here in Austin. What was a profitable price last month may not be so today and the insurance companies need to make adjustments to their price structure to accommodate these increases. For most homeowners, this is completely foreign to them and they are relying on the insurance company to take care of them. It just simply doesn’t work that way, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. This is a reality check

Three: Get the work done as soon as possible. We know the insurance companies say that you have one year from the date of the claim to get the work done. But you must understand that delaying is risky. Many people have done just that. There was no urgency. They had no leaks, so there was no rush to get the repairs done. The price of roofing materials, however, can increase. Asphalt shingles are petroleum based, and their price can increase with the price of oil. Storms that occur on the east coast will drive up the price of material in Texas. Even though the insurance companies are required to adjust their pricing for mistakes or oversights they had made, they will not make adjustments because the homeowner simply waited to do the work. Most times, if you delay any period of time more than just a few months, you will most likely be looking at an out-of-pocket expense of much more than your anticipated deductible.

What not to do: Don’t look for the lowest price and try to reduce your deductible. It no longer works that way. The law changed in 1991 concerning replacement cost coverage.

Here is how storm claims are handled:

  1. The insurance adjuster examines and totals the roof for replacement.
  2. The insurance company figures settlement based on size of roof and the geograhical area’s current price index.
  3. You will receive a written adjuster’s report and a first insurance check. This check is for Actual Cash Value of roof (ACV). (Total replacement cost minus depreciation and deductible.)
  4. Roof is installed and we invoice the insurance company.
  5. You receive 2nd check. Depreciation. (First and second checks equal invoice amount minus deductible. Depreciation is a misleading term. The depreciation amount will be paid to you after work is completed and we invoice the insurance company. The insurance companies do this so that they are assured all monies have gone towards replacing the roof.)

An example of why getting the lowest bid actually costs you money:

 

Total amount of claim: $6000
Less depreciation: $2000
Less deductible: $1000
Actual Cash Value (1st check): $3000
Roof is installed.
Invoice to Insurance for $6000.
Depreciation payment (2nd check): $2000
Total amount paid by Insurance: $5000
With deductible equals total claim amount

Example of going with a company which bids a lower amount than what the insurance quoted.In this example the homeowner found a company to do the roof for $5000.00

 

Invoice to Insurance Company: $5000
Depreciation (2nd check): $1000
Total Amount to Customer: $4000

 

You are still out your deductible yet the cost – and quality – of the roof was less. Now you also lose peace of mind. Where did this company cut corners to make a profit?

The insurance company wants to be assured the customer has paid their deductible before they release the depreciation.They are not in business to provide you with a new LCD TV because you sustained hail damage.

SOLUTION: Put on the best roof that your insurance will pay for!

Now I know there are companies out there who will give the customer one invoice and fax the insurance company a different one. That is, simply put, insurance fraud, and the authorities have been hammering down on this here in Texas this past year. Don’t risk it, it’s not worth it.

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