Step 1 – Look for damage immediately after a storm
After a storm choose a local trusted roofing contractor to inspect your roof, please do not trust storm chasers. Do you research by visiting their website and reading online reviews to ensure that the roofing contractor is local and stands behind their work. Keep in mind, even though your roof may look fine from the outside street level view, only a trained roofing specialist can identify storm damage. Some insurance policies have terms that detail how long you can wait after a storm has occurred and still have the damage covered under your roof insurance policy. Following a storm, as soon as it is safe to do so, have your roof inspected.
Step 2 – Take pictures and document details related to the damage
An experienced roofer will know where to look for storm damage. Most roofing contractors are very thorough in documenting the damage. They take pictures of the damaged areas and submit a written explanation of what needs to be repaired and the estimated cost to repair. In some cases, you may have roof damage that does not warrant an insurance claim, in this case the roofing contractor can work with you to plan how to repair your roof.
Make sure the images are clear and labeled with the correct date and time. Pictures and visual proof of the damage are a way you can make a more compelling argument to accurately show the damage and the state of your roof.
Step 3 – Find out what your policy covers by contacting your insurance company
If your roof has suffered severe damage after a storm contact your insurance company immediately, if you wait too long you may be unable to submit a claim. Best practice is to keep your current homeowners insurance policy on hand to refer to it’s guidelines and policies. Some homeowners insurance policies have guidelines detailing the amount of damage that will be covered in the event of a storm. In some cases, if your roof is more than 10 years old your insurance company may only cover a portion of the roof replacement cost.
When you submit your roof insurance claim an insurance adjuster will be sent to inspect the damage. His job is to inspect the damage and determine the cost that the insurance company will pay out to repair or replace your roof.
Step 4 – choose a contractor with insurance experience
Assuming your roof insurance claim is covered under your existing homeowners policy you will be given funds to repair the damage. You can choose any roofing contractor to do the repairs or replace the entire roof. When selecting a contractor be sure to use a licensed and insured contractor. It is best practice to shop around and get multiple estimates to repair or replace your roof. Getting multiple estimates gives you the ability to compare bids and choose the contractor you feel will do the best work. It is recommended that you choose a contractor with insurance expertise to help ease the entire process, some roofing contractors provide insurance claim assistance or have insurance adjusters on staff to help you with your damage claim.
Step 5 – The last step-Contingency contracts
Many roofing contractors provide a free roof inspection and roof replacement estimate, but you must watch out for contingency contracts. Remember when you are gathering estimates you should not have to sign anything. If you do sign, you may be agreeing to give the job to that roofing company. Prior to signing any documents be sure to check the Better Business Bureau website, companies with an A rating means they do trusted quality work.