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Tips for hiring a roofing contractor and filing insurance claims following severe weather

Understanding the insurance claim process is equally as important as selecting the right roofing contractor for your project.

COLORADO, USA — PAID CONTENT BY COLORADO ROOFING ASSOCIATION

With Colorado ranking second in the United States for hail-related insurance claims, it’s no surprise that homeowners are familiar with the damage that can occur with extreme weather. In fact, it is common for homeowners to start receiving phone calls and door-to-door solicitation from roofing contractors after severe weather events, such as golf ball sized hail.

The Colorado Roofing Association, a non-profit organization, aims to educate homeowners on responsibly hiring roofing contractors after severe weather. Understanding the insurance claim process is equally as important as selecting the right roofing contractor for your project.

The following are 7 steps to follow when hiring a roofing contractor and filing an insurance claim after a storm: 

Step 1. Don’t immediately sign anything. 

If you sign a contract in the beginning of a conversation with a roofing contractor, you could be locking yourself into an agreement that prevents you from obtaining other estimates. You may then be forced to work with this contractor regardless of their reputation, price or capabilities.

Step 2. Instead, start by taking the following actions to prepare yourself for making an insurance claim: 

  • Write down the date and time of the storm
  • Take pictures and video of the damage
  • Take a picture of the size of a hail stone next to a tape measure

Step 3. Be patient, take the time to research and find a quality contractor. 

Reputable roofing companies will be busy after a major storm, and that’s okay! If your roof isn’t leaking, it can usually wait until the contractor you feel most comfortable with can schedule your repair or reroof. 

Step 4. Now it is time to contact your insurance agent. 

Call your insurance agent and ask them what your policy covers. Make sure to clarify replacement cost value vs. actual cost value in your policy. Check with your agent to see what your deductible amount is and what mortgage company is listed on your account, if applicable.

Your insurance agent may have you contact a roofing contractor to assess the damage before filing a claim or they may begin the claims process as soon as you call them. Either way, the next step is to obtain an estimate for the damage to your property. Don’t panic about the timeline! Most insurance companies allow the homeowner up to one year to file a claim from the date of loss. 

Step 5. If the roofing contractor or claims adjuster finds evidence of hail damage, you are responsible for hiring the roofing contractor who will repair your roof. 

It is important to contact more than one roofing company for an estimate, and the estimates you receive may not match the estimate provided by the adjuster. 

Ultimately, the roofing company you hire will work with your insurance adjuster to ensure that your estimate includes everything necessary for your project. At this stage, you should know what is being covered by the insurance company and what your out-of-pocket expenses are (deductible, upgrades, etc.) 

Step 6. After you’ve done your research, be sure to choose a contractor you are comfortable with!

The contractor you choose should not ask for a deposit before delivery of the materials. Instead, the initial check you receive from your insurance company is intended to cover the cost of the materials. It is also important to note that there is no statewide roofing license in Colorado. Your chosen contractor should obtain a permit from the local jurisdiction and post it in your front window before beginning the project. Upon project completion, your roofing contractor should provide you with workmanship and material warranty information as well as proof of a passed final inspection.

Step 7. Finally, your contractor will invoice you for the entire amount of the roof project.

 

Remember, you are responsible for the deductible portion of your project and it is illegal under Colorado law for a roofing contractor to pay, waive or rebate your deductible. 

In most cases, if you have a mortgage on your home, you will receive several checks from your insurance company made out to both you and your mortgage company. You should start the process to obtain your mortgage company’s endorsement on these checks as soon as possible after you receive your first check. Call your mortgage company early in the process to learn their procedures for endorsing insurance checks.

Hiring a roofing contractor can be stressful following a storm, but if you do your homework to hire a reputable roofing contractor, you can save yourself a great deal of trouble in the long run. 

Local contractors who have been in business for many years are typically familiar with the hail storm insurance process and will be able to help you navigate your claim. 

For additional resources, information and tips for selecting a contractor and avoiding roof scams, visit the Colorado Roofing Association at ColoradoRoofing.org

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