Insurance Claims FAQ
There is many discrepancies between opinions when dealing with storm damaged property. The discrepancies are often related to size and scope of damage, whether the damage found should be covered by your insurance carrier, and finally, what damage warants repair, replacement, or nothing at all. These differences of opinion exist between roofing contractor-to-roofing contractor, insurance adjuster-to-insurance adjuster, roofing contractor-to-insurance adjuster, and everywhere in between. With that being said, the insurance company has a clear motive of protecting their own interests. Furthermore, having a roofing professional there by your side, protecting your interests is the single most important "MUST" when faced with a homeowners claim. It will be the difference between getting a fair settlement, and not getting a settlement at all.
Determining what is, and what is not substancial hail and/or wind damage on a roof is a difficult matter that must take into consideration a number of factors. These factors add complexity to defining a clear definition, creating a subjective grey area between them. What could have been a dropped hammer during installation could very well look like hail damage, and vice versa. Is that hail damage, or blisters caused by poor attic ventilation? Is that dark spot bruised, or just missing granules? If you would like to schedule a free inspection (it couldn't hurt), please fill out the form located to the right of this page.
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You should only consider filing a claim for Wind damage or Hail damage after you've had a roofing professional with experience in storm damage assess and evaluate your home or building for damage. If you call the Insurance company to file a claim without having your home or building properly assessed, you risk filing a bogus claim. One example is when your propery is damaged but there is not "enough" damage to warrant filing a claim. In those cases the cost to fix the damages does not exceed the deductible. So filing a claim in this scenario would be an unnecessary claim. Furthmore, you should always consult with a professional, as like us, most roofing companies offer free inspections. If you would like to schedule a free inspection, fill out the form located on the right side of this page.
The simple answer is no. Insurance rates are based purely on your areas annual risk assessment and evaluation. More storms means more risk for the insurance companies, and higher rates. No storms means less risk for the insurance companies, and lower rates. Simple right? These rules and guidelines are strictly enforced by state and federal regulation. So why have you heard that your insurance will go up if you file a claim? The same reason why you heard that if you eat gum it will stay in your body for seven years. People assume and myths are born. People assume that your insurance goes up because most of the time sooner or later after filing a claim your insurance does go up, but it's not from the claim. It's from the storm that caused the damage. The storm caused there to be more risk in your area. Risk is evaluated annually. So everyone's insurance went up, not just yours. Insurance rates climb despite whether you file claims or not. Don't take it from us, reference the following article written by an insurance adjuster. http://www.moneycrashers.com/filing-a-claim-on-your-homeowners-insurance-will-not-increase-your-premium/
Without going down the rabbit hole of what is and what isn’t, let’s focus on the basics of what IS considered hail damage in an insurance claim. There are four primary indications an insurance adjuster will take into consideration when determining if a roof has been damaged due to hail.
Depending on the insurance company and the insurance adjuster’s standards, they may require one, some or all of the primary factors in order to consider a roof damaged by hail. For a list of primary factors, see below, "What do insurance adjusters look for?".
When inspecting a roof, insurance adjusters will look for hail damage in the following order:
Missing Granules: Missing granules are typically the first thing that an insurance adjuster will look for when inspecting a roof. Reason being, these areas are usually the easiest to spot. When a hailstone (or whatever) strikes a shingle it can either knock loose the small granules that give a roof its color or push them into the shingle itself. Either way, this exposes the black substrate layer below the granules and will show up as a dark circle or scuff.
Bruising: When more closely examining the missing granule spots described above, an insurance adjuster will then check for bruising. Does the spot in question feel soft and spongy? Much like a tomato will bruise when bumped or struck, asphalt shingles will do the same. If the missing granule spot feels bruised, it is further indication that it was the result of hail.
Mat Breakage: When struck hard enough, the fiberglass matting that an asphalt shingle is built around will break and create cracks clear through the shingle making it open to water intrusion. If the spots in question are missing granules, show bruising, and have a broken fiberglass mat, chances are good that it will be considered hail.
Damage Pattern: If the above three criteria are met, and a random pattern of similar damage emerges throughout the roof surface, an adjuster will most likely determine that it is due to hail damage and recommend full replacement to the insurance company.
The Wild Card: Collateral Hail Damage
One major wild card that can weigh into an adjuster determining whether or not a roof has been damaged due to hail is collateral damage. Collateral damage is indication of hail hits to other areas of the house including dents to fascia, gutters, vents, valleys, windows, siding, etc.
Taking collateral hail damage into consideration is a big picture approach that many fair adjusters will take when not all of the primary factors may be present. If obvious sizable damage has been inflicted to other areas around the home, but the shingle mat isn’t completely broken, the existence and extent of any collateral damage can sway the approval or denial of the roof insurance claim either way.
Wind Damage can happen from many different types of Weather events such as Hail storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms, blizzards and the list goes on....The Fact is, wind can seriously affect the lifespan and integrity of your Roofing system and will inevitably cause many leaks in the future. Hail and wind damage is almost always overlooked. Most people that think their roof is probably fine and didn't suffer wind or hail damage have MAJOR DAMAGE. We know this truth all to well as this is what keeps us in business. Did we tell you? MOST DAMAGE IS NOT VISIBLE? Especially from the ground!! A roofing contractor is trained to find underlying issues such as hail and wind damage, our job and livelihood depends on it. We are on your side!
If you fear filing a claim because you think your insurance will go up, or are unsure as to what you should do, reference the following article. http://www.moneycrashers.com/filing-a-claim-on-your-homeowners-insurance-will-not-increase-your-premium/
After high winds have hit your area you will usually see tell-tale signs of Wind damage to your Roofing system such as: pieces of shingles in yard or bushes, missing shingles on the roof, tree limbs and branches on the roof and in the yard and lifted shingles. Sometimes the damage is not as visible from the ground so calling a professional to perform an inspection is the best and safest option for you. We will get up on the roof and inspect for creased shingles and broken seals which are sometimes not visible from the ground. DO NOT WAIT until your roof springs a leak because at that point you will have far more damage to your home such as mold, wet insulation & drywall and wood damage to floors, framing paneling and trim.