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How To Get Insurance to Pay for Your Roof Replacement

Every year in the aftermath of a storm, homeowners panic as they try to work out how to get insurance to pay for their roof replacement. Let’s set the scene: a storm has just passed through. You saw the hail, you felt the wind. Now, you see the remnants of the chaos in your yard, with broken branches and leaves strewn about your previous well-pruned yard. You venture out to begin damage assessment  and cleanup, and you come across what appears to be roofing debris: blown off shingles, sections of unidentifiable debris, dents in your downspouts, or tears in your window screens. You talk to the neighbors and they’ve discovered similar concerns on their own property. What’s next? How do you get insurance to pay for your roof replacement or repairs? 

Homeowners and contractors alike struggle with insurance agent exchanges, especially the diversity of what insurance companies expect and require to discern approvable damage on a client property. Often, people aren’t sure of the role they play in the process. We’re all still trying to navigate this strange new way of managing most things post COVID. Navigating your relationship with your insurance company likely has new requirements, limitations, and expectations. ‘How to get Insurance to pay for your roof replacement?’ is not the first question you need to ask yourself. The first question you need to ask yourself is, ‘How do I get my insurance company to determine if there is damage to my roof worthy enough to have insurance pay for a roof replacement?’

Start by talking with your local agent

If you have a personal relationship with a local agent, that’s the best place to start. When storm or hail damage occurs, location and impact maps are created and distributed in real-time to all invested parties. Insurance companies, storm chasing contractors, landscapers, building material distributors, and the like. They’re all opportunists looking to either save money or make money.

In this scenario the homeowner or property owner becomes prey to a situation they have never had to manage. In most cases, storm-chasing contractors will be inviting themselves to your front door the day after the damage occurs. They will come from all over the United States. This is what they do, it’s how they make a living. They chase the opportunity to poach business from local companies, and they will promise you the moon and the stars.

Their number one promise, if they have sufficient evidence that there is identifiable damage, is that they will get the insurance company to pay for your roof replacement. This is a big deal right? Roofs are expensive! Your home is your most valuable asset! You’re worried, you lack experience with these circumstances, a stranger has just showed up and offered to make it easy for you!

Is it possible to get insurance to pay for your roof replacement?

When it comes to getting insurance to pay for a roof replacement, the important thing to remember is that unless a tree fell on your home or half of your roof blew off, in most cases storm damage here in Michigan does not constitute an emergency, even if it reveals enough damage to award you an approval to get insurance to pay for your roof replacement.

It’s important to take your time with the process, it is important to gather information from trustworthy sources. It is also always important to double check the information you have received by utilizing other sources as a barometer for making important decisions about your most valuable asset and a costly home repair. Check with friends and family for local contractor referrals, people they counted on when storm damage wasn’t involved. 

Post COVID it seems to be the standard that among services there is an unspoken expectation that someone should be responsible for someone else’s work. In this case, we won’t point fingers but we would like to point out that when it comes to a claim with insurance they are ultimately in charge of determining if there is approvable and replaceable damage, not the contractor.

So, when we reflect on the subject of this blog, “How to get insurance to pay for your roof replacement?” it’s important to understand that they are in control, since you as a client pay them for services and coverage, it is up to you to remind them of this… politely of course. In many cases, pending your insurance company, they may urge you to start calling contractors before filing a claim to let the contractor first determine if there appears to be damage worthy of replacement. This order of operations is an injustice to the homeowner, in most cases, because storm-chasing roofing companies and contractors appear out of thin air after a storm to capitalize on these opportunities.

Storm chasers will (falsely) promise to tell you how to get insurance to pay for your roof replacement

Storm chasers are high-pressure salespeople, often from out of town, using unfamiliar labor never previously employed by their company. They offer a resolve and a promise for all of your problems, known and unknown. They will promise things like ‘we will forgive your deductible,’ which is illegal. Other times, they will offer a deep discount if you let them put a sign in your yard and sign their contract on site. They may even promise to get you the coverage you need by any means. This may involve even going to the extent of creating damage to get a claim approved for you.

Evaluate damage before you worry about how to get insurance to pay for your roof replacement

No matter what, having the contractor evaluate before or on behalf of the insurance company is putting the cart before the horse. Of course, we hate telling potential clients this, as it sounds unhelpful! But, if you end up in this situation and you feel at odds with whom to trust, the very best thing to do is to evaluate what you can from the ground. Do you see dents, pockmarks, or cracks in your siding or your home exterior? Do you see pockmarks or dents in your air conditioner shroud? Do you see dents or damage to your downspouts or the face of your gutters? Do you see any damage to the trim around your windows or the window screens?

If you can identify any damage from the ground before first calling your agent or your insurance company, this helps to eliminate doubt that damage may exist on the roof and it’s worthy of inspection. If your insurance company wants to have a contractor present when they inspect the roof, it’s completely reasonable to ask for a specific time and date, so that you can coordinate a local contractor to be present for that inspection. It is possible that your contractor can help to identify things an adjuster might miss, which can help to avoid conflicting findings or claim denials.

Work within the rules of your agency to ensure your roof is covered

Understanding how to get insurance to pay for your roof replacement really comes down to making sure they do what is required on their end, and making sure that you select a contractor that you feel confident and comfortable working with. Insurance has to look at many things, and where you do pay for coverage, companies do not want to dole out large sums of money without due cause. Investigating claims also costs money, not just for the insurance companies but also for the contractor.

Important things you should consider when selecting a contractor to help get your insurance to pay for your roof are:

  • Have they worked with insurance claims before?
  • Are they local to the area you live?
  • Are they present online and do they possess good reviews?
  • How long have they been in business and how do they manage warranties for their work?
  • Are they licensed and insured? 
  • Do they have long term relationships and familiarity with their labor crews? 

You may ask what any of this has to do with your claim? Or getting your insurance to approve and pay for your roof replacement, but it actually can have a lot to do with it. Some contractors are actually flagged with particular agencies for fraudulent practices and some contractors have no previous experience, not only in roofing but also in working with insurance companies.

For instance, if they uncover damage in your project that was not previously identified, do they know how to navigate providing the appropriate information to request additional coverage approval? Or will they assume that the difference in project costs will be the clients out of pocket expense? Will they be able to advise you on the details of your Proof of Loss (POL)? And will they know how to address missing items not listed on the POL? Will they require a deposit from you? If so, will they come back after they have been paid a deposit? 

Getting insurance to pay for your roof replacement is not a guarantee when there has been a storm. And, where we all love to feel like we pay for services that are going to work for our benefit, it is up to us to understand what tools we have to use to support our needs to ensure each party involved does and is capable of doing their part appropriately. Here at Thompson Home Improvement, we would never guarantee that we could get you an approved claim to get insurance to pay for your roof replacement, nor will we offer to show up first and do the job of an insurance adjuster.

But, we will happily schedule an appointment to be a team player and participate in the inspection to help identify storm damage. We will manage direct group dialogue with both clients and agents. We will take photos and communicate change needs and damage findings. We will submit final invoices and we won’t ask for any deposits. We have been local to the Southwest Michigan community for over 35 years now. We have worked with a majority of the insurance agencies, both local and remote to the area. We work hard to be mindful of the needs of both the agencies and the client to have a successful project. And, at the end of the day, if there was identified damage that warranted insurance coverage, we will have done our part to help you secure the coverage you need to manage your project by assisting to help you understand how to get insurance to pay for your roof replacement either partially or in full. 

Getting insurance to pay for your roof replacement isn’t always easy

It is never one size fits all, it is hard to understand the pattern of a storm and how it impacts things. When hail is present in a storm it may impact 90% of a neighborhood, nine homes out of ten in a row may all sustain damage while the last does not. While it might make sense that if your neighbor sustained damage and was approved by his insurance company to receive full coverage for his roof replacement that you should likely have the same experience. Storm-chasing contractors would have you believe that, and part of what they sell is the charm of promising a reward for something that isn’t there based on environmental conditions.

It’s also important to understand that some insurance companies are easier to work with than others, and in some cases you get what you pay for. If you feel you have sustained storm damage, the first call you make should always be to your insurance company, and no matter what they say if they try to dissuade you from filing a claim or demanding an adjuster do an in personal evaluation, those are the first two things that should be done.

Once the insurance company has determined that there is approvable damage and has issued you a proof of loss, this is when you should call the 2–3 contractors you have selected from your area to come and give you an estimate. At this time, it is helpful to allow them to review the Proof of Loss itemization to ensure that your insurance company has adjusted to cover all of the damage. Oftentimes, replacements and repairs can be miscalculated because where contractors are not capable of doing the agent’s job, the agent is also incapable of doing the contractor’s job. If there are any inconsistencies in what was approved vs. what needs to be done, the contractor should be prepared to provide details to the agent to request coverage adjustments on behalf of the client.

It is most beneficial to mitigate any such findings before the project starts. That is not always possible, sometimes additional work orders and coverage changes have to be submitted in the middle of the project. It will be important that you are working with someone that understands this or it could result in your insurance coverage denying additional coverage. No one wants to be left holding the bag with costly mistakes.

Have questions about how to get insurance to pay for a roof replacement?

Thompson Home Improvement has worked on thousands of claims over the years and we would love the opportunity to extend our experience to you, in the event that you have or do sustain storm damage. We welcome your call and would be happy to schedule a time to review your concerns and provide a free estimate. We are also always happy to spend time answering questions over the phone or through email. So, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today or in the future, should you feel like anything we have discussed here applies to your circumstances or strikes you as helpful.