Office: 269-244-4379

Serving Southwest Michigan

Dealing with Storm Damage to your Roof and Insurance Claims for Michigan Homeowners

Thompson Home Improvement has been in the business of replacing and installing new roof systems for 35+ years. Historically we have not had as many insurance related jobs as we have over the last 3 years. In Southwest MI storm damage and storm claims have been more prevalent than ever before. During COVID and Post COVID with added claims we are continually experiencing changes in the way that insurance manages what they require in the way of approvals on claims, what they pay for and how they pay for it. No one insurance company works the same, some make the process easier than others, but one thing that seems to be clear is the goal post is always moving for not only the client but also for the contractor hired to do the work. In this blog we want to attempt to provide insight and helpful information in the event you have found yourself in a position to be making a claim that requires roofing repair and or replacement.

When we get calls for storm damage issues, one of the very first things we ask is: Have you filed a claim with your insurance company? The second questions is; has your adjuster been out to review the damage yet? In most cases clients have called to file their claim, but an adjuster has not been out to evaluate damage yet. In some cases, the damage does require emergent attention for patching or covering to ensure the contents and interior of your home is not exposed to the elements. But in most cases it is best to have the damage reviewed by an adjuster prior to having a contractor come. This is contrary to what your insurance agent will likely tell you. In the heat of COVID while everyone was working remotely and field agents were not or were less available than they had been previously, Insurance agencies began to delegate or tried to delegate the job of field assessment out to the contractors, by telling clients to contact their preferred contractors to evaluate & document damage and to provide findings as well as a proposal back to the client to provide to their agent. Why is this a problem? The best way to say it is; it’s a bit like “getting the cart before the horse.” Insurance in most cases only extends approvable coverage based on an adjuster assessment. So there is nothing binding with a contractors assessment, claims are not approved based on the contractors evaluation. If we come to make an assessment and determine what we feel is “storm damage”, insurance companys still require a representative from their agency evaluate. They may or may not agree with our evaluation, and they do not pay us to do those assessments. This can cause many frustrations for both you and your contractor. The best way to manage a claim is to always insist with your agency that the field adjuster come prior to the contractor, or schedule the adjuster to meet jointly with the contractor to review the damage.

It is also important that contractors have the ability to assess what your agency approves as “coverable” damage. Why is this important? In many cases with storm damage, there can be additional or unforeseen requirements to repair the damage. Things that an adjuster may not have the foresight or ability to recognize. Insurance companys work with software and programs that help them generate their measurement’s and figures. When there is or may be structural damage to trusses, roof decking, fascia boards or pre-existing damage; often times the repair or replacement required can require additional funds, evidence of extenuating damage, materials, labor etc. It is beneficial to be able to address missed or miscalculated items prior to the project starting, verses in the middle of the project. When we have these conversations with clients, we understand that advising to push back against your insurance company can feel unhelpful and even frustrating when they have asked you to deal with the contractor first. We work hard to be as helpful as possible by offering to mediate and or contribute to conversations with your agency or agent in the event there is some push back. But the overall goal is to help educate potential clients so that they can get what they need from their claim to repair their home. Beyond dealing with the initial part of the claim, there are many things to consider when selecting a contractor as well. Make sure to look out for storm chasing contractors – and give us a call if you are experiencing roof damage.