When you’re a homeowner, filing a residential roofing insurance claim can be a lengthy, headache-inducing process. Multiple appointments, phone calls that last forever, filling out papers, blame games, and confusing instructions come at you from every angle. And, by the end, you’re presented with a low estimate from your insurance company that won’t cover even half the expenses. Here are 7 vital tips to help you negotiate an insurance claim and secure a fair payout for your home repairs.
Get an Understanding of Your Claims Process
First of all, knowing what’s involved with an insurance claim will prepare you to handle negotiations and get a fair price. So, here’s a quick step-by-step rundown of home insurance claims from start to finish.
- Prevent further damage to the roof immediately after a storm or event
- Get in touch with the home insurance company to start a claim.
- Get a clear picture of damages with an inspection report from a professional roofer
- File an official claim with your insurance company
- Schedule a visit by the adjuster to further inspect your roof and other damages.
- Wait for the insurance company to process your claim based on your insurance policy and get offered a final estimate.
- Wait for the estimate to be approved and finalized
- Work with your roofer to schedule repair work and order materials
- Invoice the insurer once work is complete
- Pay the roofing company with the funds from the insurance company.
Depending on your area or policy terms, there may be different steps, so verify with an expert on how the process may differ for your home.
2. Review Your Insurance Policy
Before filing a claim, read through your insurance policy to see what type of roof damage is covered. For most policies, things such as storm damage, water damage, fallen debris, etc., are usually covered. But be aware that there are things not covered by insurance. These types of damages typically include:
- Damage caused by neglect
- Certain natural disasters (think wind-driven rain vs high wind or heavy rain)
- General wear and tear
- Mold and mildew damage
If you want to avoid paying out of pocket, find out from your insurance policy if your case is covered.
3. Hire a Trusted Roofing Contractor
Hiring a roofing contractor may be the best option if you want a fair estimate from your insurance company. They’ll be able to assess the damage, give a more accurate estimate, and present it to your insurance company more efficiently. Don’t know who to choose? When searching for a roofer, keep an eye out for company certifications and accreditation by the Better Business Bureau.
4. Keep Records
Keep evidence of any damage to your roof and home and remember to document everything. Take pictures, record videos and audio, and keep track of all print and digital documents regarding your roof. Additionally, note all correspondence with the insurance company, the adjuster, and the roofing contractor for future reference. You may be able to use these documents to help negotiate with your insurance.
5. Submit Your Claim
After getting an inspection and estimate, file a powerful claim with your home insurance company. Fill out all the required forms and be ready to answer any and all of their questions. The roofing company’s claims specialist will help you gather and organize all the required documents and present them to your home insurer on time.
6. Review the Insurance Offer
Here’s where it all comes together. Once you’re done with inspections, all that’s left is to wait for them to process your claim. If accepted, your roofing contractor will review the offer and ensure you receive a fair quote. If the final payout is lower than expected, consider rejecting it and offering a more accurate estimate.
Use your records, inspection reports, professional opinions, and photo evidence to state why you’re entitled to more. Remember that most roofing claim offers often come back incomplete, so don’t hesitate to challenge the quote. And with the right contractor, they’ll help you fight for more.
Get a Second Opinion
Don’t settle for one assessment. Instead, consult with different roofing contractors or find another insurance adjuster who will give their own inspection. Once you have multiple opinions and estimates in front of you, you’ll be able to utilize them when negotiating with your insurance company.
Ask the Right Questions
Finally, be aware that if you don’t ask questions, you’ll eventually fall into the trap of accepting whatever low estimate the insurance company offers. Make notes about your roof depreciation amount, assembly, materials, design, and required codes. This will help you accurately factor in price and repair and replacement costs. Because knowing what replacement costs vs. depreciation means will possibly save you from paying out of pocket since some policies don’t cover replacement cost – only depreciated value. You can read our full breakdown here.
Ask questions on how the offer was put together, how the adjuster arrived at their final number, and what items are considered replaceable vs repairable. The idea is to get an apple-to-apple comparison with your insurance company’s number and your own estimate or roofing company’s estimate.
If you want to secure the highest possible payout from your insurance company, don’t do it all by yourself. Instead, hire a certified roofing company to give you a helping hand. They will help you with the following:
- Providing you with proper documentation
- Helping build supporting evidence of damage
- Adhere to technical specifications for building codes for your roof
- Walk you through the insurance claims process
- Utilizes existing relationships with insurance companies
- Boasts a Preferred Roofing Contractor status
Having a trusted roofing company will speed up the insurance process and offer you an advocate to speak on your behalf to help save you money.
Filing a roofing insurance claim is a complex process that often can result in low payouts. With these tips, you’ll be able to negotiate a solid claim for your home effectively. If you find yourself needing professional help, our highly skilled roofing experts will do all the heavy lifting for you. We’ll guide you through the process, work with your insurance company, and make sure you get a fair and accurate estimate.