Working with insurance claims due to storm damage

February 21, 2019

The bad news:

When the insurance company gets involved, things get more complicated.

The good news:

Your contractor can (should be able to) handle all the insurance paperwork for you. That’s part of the value they offer.

A little history

Back in the day, things were simpler. (wasn’t everything?) If hail or wind damaged your roof, you filed a claim, got approved (hopefully), got three roofing bids, picked the cheapest one and pocketed the difference.
Not so today.
Contractors and homeowners got greedy and milked the system, so the laws have changed.
Now, a homeowner is not legally allowed to profit from an insurance loss. That means you (the homeowner) can no longer pick the cheapest estimate and keep whatever is left over. That's called insurance fraud, and it’s a crime! Believe me, they’ve got this system locked down tight.

Nowadays you (the homeowner) just pick the contractor, and he figures out the price with the insurance company. All you pay is your deductible. Many years ago roofing companies wrote the deductible off by putting up their sign in the customer’s yard and letting them keep their deductible as an ‘advertising expense’. That technique is as dead as Vanilla Ice’s career!

"He wouldn’t even give me an estimate!"

The thing to remember about an insurance claim is that it’s pointless to dicker with the contractor about price. When they find out the insurance company is involved, they will not give you an estimate. They will ask you to choose them to do their project by signing an agreement that allows them to communicate with your insurance company.

It sounds fishy, but it isn’t. It’s standard procedure.

You have nothing to gain and everything to lose by insisting to do it as a cash job, while you work out the details with the insurance company. For example, if you work out the price with the roofer at $15,000 and the insurance company will only give you $10,000, you still owe the roofer $5,000.

Why would the homeowner want to assume the risk and take on the headache of insurance paperwork when there is nothing to be gained? Remember, you cannot legally profit from a loss.

The insurance company will want to know the date of the damage, because they’ll check to make sure there actually was a storm in your area on that date. Also there is usually a one-year period of time in which to make a claim.

"The insurance company already did an inspection and denied the claim."

The insurance company doesn't usually want to pay out claims. They have to think of their Profit and Loss sheets and their stockholders.

You have options.

Your contractor can do his own inspection to determine whether or not there is enough damage to pursue a claim. If he finds damage, he can document it, meet in person with the insurance adjuster, and point it out to them (at no cost to the homeowner).

Think about it: who is more motivated to get this job approved: the insurance company or the contractor?

Be sure to watch our highly informative and entertaining video on the difference between cash jobs and insurance jobs.

The main thing, then, is to pick a reputable, local contractor. Good luck and happy contractor hunting!

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