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Working With Insurance Companies – Best Not To Go It Alone

- Tuesday, March 21, 2017

We work very hard to educate the general public about the difference between being served by an independent insurance agent vice being served by an agent of any of the well-known large insurance companies.

You must understand (and appreciate) the fact that insurance agents that wear a logo on their shirt (or place a logo on their business cards) are agents employed by that insurance company. Does it take a huge leap of faith to accept as fact that they understandably have their employer’s best interest in mind, all the time? We don’t fault them for that as that is normal human behavior to seek to serve your employer the best that you can.

Unfortunately, that creates a direct conflict of interest as you want maximum dollars for your insurance claims and the insurance company wants to settle for minimum dollars.

Independent insurance agents (like us here at TriState Personal and Business Insurance) serve only our Virginia, Maryland, and DC customer interest. It is our job to not only find you the best value for your insurance dollar but to guide you through the various claims processes so that you can settle for the highest insurance payout possible. We chose this topic today because springtime is that period of the year when homeowners discover the damage caused by old man winter, both storm damage and damage caused by the harsh cold of the winter.

7 Tips for Filing a Roof Replacement Insurance Claim

#1. Don’t go it alone. If you are one of the smart homeowners who employ an independent insurance agent as your representative, then call him/her as your first act. He/she will guide you through the home insurance claims process.

#2 – Look for damage immediately after a storm

If you suspect your roof is damaged, call a reputable and licensed roofing contractor to come and inspect your roof. Keep in mind that even if your roof looks intact from the outside, there could be significant internal damage that only a trained roofing specialist can identify. Some insurance policies have stipulations that detail how long you can wait after the damage has occurred to your roof and still have the damage covered under your insurance policy. After a severe storm and as soon as it is safe to do so, have your roof inspected.

#3 – Take pictures and document details related to the damage

An experienced roofer will know where to look for damage and will be thorough in documenting the damage and how extensive it is. They will often take pictures of damaged areas and submit to you a written explanation of what needs to be repaired and the estimated cost to repair. In some cases, you may have roof damage that is not major enough to warrant an insurance claim and in this case, your preferred roofing contractor can work with you to plan how to repair your roof. In other cases, you will need to get your homeowner’s insurance company involved and will need to provide proof of damage, including measurements, the events of that caused the damage, and dates and times the damage occurred.

It is always good practice to take periodic pictures of your roof, especially after maintenance has been completed. Be sure the images are clear and well labeled with the date and time. If possible take several pictures from various angles to accurately show the entirety of your roof and the state of your shingles. This way you can make a more compelling argument and will have visual proof to justify that the damaged areas were not present before the weather event and were a direct result of the weather event.

#4 – Contact your independent insurance agent and find out what your policy covers

When dealing with extensive roof damage, be sure to immediately contact your independent insurance agent for a consult. If you aren’t served by an independent insurance agent, then you need to call the insurance company directly. If you wait too long, you may not be able to submit the claim.

Always have a current policy of your homeowner’s insurance handy to review to see what statute of limitations may be in place for reporting damage and what types of roof damage are and are not covered. Keep in mind that some homeowner’s policies have additional guidance detailing the amount of damage that will be covered. For example, if your roof is more than ten years old, your insurance company may only cover a portion of the roof replacement cost, based on the depreciated value of your roof. If you are ever unsure of the exact roofing insurance coverage you have, contact your insurance provider. When you submit your roof insurance claim, an insurance adjuster will be sent to inspect the damaged areas and determine the cost that the insurance company will pay out to repair or replace your roof.

#5 – Choose a roofing contractor with insurance expertise

Assuming your roof insurance claim is covered under your existing homeowner’s policy, you will be given funds to repair the damage. You can choose the roofing contractor to complete repairs or replace your entire roof. When selecting a reputable contractor, be sure to ask for references and only use licensed and insured roofing professionals. It is okay to shop around and get multiple estimates to replace your roof. This way you can be sure you’re not being overcharged, and you’ll have more information at your disposal to choose a qualified roofing contractor that you feel will complete the job. Not every roofing contractor will provide insurance claim assistance while others may have insurance adjusters on staff to help you with every detail of your roof damage claim. At Best Choice Roofing, we are roof replacement specialists who will work with you to make sure your claim is submitted promptly, and you can get the maximum reimbursement for your roof replacement.

#6 – Keep an eye out for contingency contracts

Most roofing contractors will provide a free roof inspection and a free roof replacement estimate. However, watch out for contingency contracts that may be disguised as inspection reports. By mistakenly signing one of these contracts you are agreeing to give the job to that roofing company, if your insurance claim is approved. Remember, when you are gathering estimates, you should not have to sign anything. If you are pressured into signing something, it is a tell-tale sign that it is time to pursue a more trustworthy roof replacement contractor. Checking the better business bureau website and selecting only those roofing companies that have an A- or better rating is a good way to narrow down your list of options to only those roofing professionals who are capable of doing quality work.

#7 – Refer to #1 and call one of our TriState independent agents serving the personal and business insurance needs of Virginia, Maryland, and DC.