What Happens When My Roof is Damaged by Hail?
A freak hail storm can happen fast. And leave you with months of headaches. When you need to repair roof hail damage, you may suddenly be scrambling for your insurance paperwork to see if you’re covered.
Take a deep breath. Then read the helpful tips we’ve gathered from both a qualified roofer and an experienced insurance agent.
First Things First
“About 85% of the roofing work we perform is through an insurance claim,” says Erika Smith, founder and owner of The Roofing Revolution in Denver. “After a rough storm, I always recommend a property owner contact a qualified contractor to assess the roof damage before filing an insurance claim.
“If the assessment shows significant roof damage from hail or another type of storm, that’s when the homeowner should contact their insurance agent.”
Making the Call
The first call to the insurance company to repair roof hail damage can be confusing and emotional. Tell your story clearly, including the exact date and time when the storm hit so the agent can research storms in your area on that day.
While the agent will ask you questions, Smith suggests asking a few questions of your own:
- What is the deductible amount on my policy for a replacement roof?
- Do I have a Replacement Cost Value (RCV), Actual Cost Value (ACV) or Roof Service Payment Schedule (RSPS) policy?
- Does my policy have any pertinent exclusions, such as soft metals or decking (sheathing)?
- Does my policy allow me to select the contractor of my choice?
- What is the loss assessment process with my insurance carrier?
- What are the loss settlement provisions in the policy?
What type of questions might the insurance agent ask you? According to insurance veteran Brian Powers, there are many.
“People usually start by telling us about the most recent wind or hail storm event, which is the primary reason they’re contacting us,” says Powers, a licensed property and casualty adjuster out of Georgia. “I ask how old their roof is, and if it’s been subjected to other severe weather in the past.
“We immediately get into whether or not the roof is leaking; if it’s in a condition where it’s causing damage to the contents of the house. I’m also interested to learn if they’ve had a local roofer come out to inspect the roof, and what they have to say. For example, how many missing shingles or sections are there? What is the initial damage report?”
With preliminary conversations underway, the insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to the project. What Homeowners Need to Know About Working with Insurance Adjusters offers tips for working with the person who visits your home to inspect your damaged roof.
Know Your Role
At this point, the field of players involved to repair your roof hail damage has expanded. Roofing Revolutions’ Smith says it’s important to understand everyone’s role in a roof assessment and claim.
- Policyholders (homeowners) should understanding their insurance policy and which sections apply to the claim. The policyholder is the communication bridge between the contractor and the insurance adjuster.
- Contractors identify roof damage, then provide a written scope of work that follows local building codes and manufacturer’s installation instructions.
- Insurance adjuster assess damage then apply the insurance policy language to the claim while following code and manufacturer guidelines. They do this while indemnifying the policyholder’s property to pre-loss condition(s).
- Insurance agents advocate for the policyholder to ensure they are properly indemnified per their policy.
Upgrade to DaVinci Roofscapes
Once the insurance adjuster’s report comes back, the policyholder’s claim will either be approved or denied. If denied, it may be that there wasn’t “enough” storm damage to warrant a new roof replacement. Or, the roof was seen to only be experiencing normal wear and tear or age-related weathering. And, it’s important to note that a homeowner can always request a second review by the insurance company.
When a claim is approved, homeowners can then work with a contractor on a roof replacement. Ideally this one will hold up better if Mother Nature comes pounding again on the roof! Composite slate and shake roofing tiles, like those from DaVinci Roofscapes, are Class 4 impact resistant. They hold up to even the fiercest hail storms.
“Oftentimes a product like DaVinci is considered an upgrade from what a homeowner previously had on the roof,” says Smith. “It costs a little more. So we offer them financing support for the difference after the insurance money. This way homeowners feel comfortable investing in a roofing upgrade that will help protect their home in the future.”
Investing for the Future
Smith points out that in the Denver marketplace, many insurance carriers offer discounts for Class 4 impact resistant roofing assemblies. This makes the upgrade to composite roofing a smart long-term investment.
“The Roofing Revolution performs an ROI with the property owner,” says Smith. “We show them if the upgrade is worth the investment over ‘x’ amount of years. Or it can be on how long the property owner plans to own the property.
“There’s also the aesthetics to consider. The DaVinci products add tremendous curb appeal to a property. This helps increase both the immediate and long-term value of the home.”
Review Your Insurance Policy
If you live in a potential hail area, take time now to review your insurance policy before severe weather hits. According to Powers, here are some key things that people in the industry generally say to look for:
- Make certain wind/hail are covered and there is no exclusion.
- Determine what your wind/hail deductible Sometimes this is different from your other perils. Your main deductible may be $1,500, but wind/hail may be $2,500 or a percentage (i.e. 2%) of the value of your dwelling.
- Make sure you have the replacement cost for the roof in your policy. This means that if there is damage (not normal wear and tear) that your policy will replace the roof, not only pay the depreciated amount.
Final Tips from an Insurance Pro
If all of this has you thinking it may be time to consider a new insurance agent, industry veteran Powers offers these “what to look for in an insurance agent” tips:
- Find someone relatively nearby. You might get a cheaper price from a solely online or phone carrier insurance agent, but they might not be there when you actually need them.
- Look for an agent in an actual office, who is also available by phone, email and text so they’re always there for you.
- Ask friends who they use, and let the agent know who referred you.
- Interview agents. Trust your instincts, and take time to find one you feel good about.
- The more “lines” an agent can cover for you (i.e. home, boat, life, etc.) the better your rate and “longevity” (desirability as a customer). You’ll also have fewer complications than going between multiple brokers.