UNDERSTANDING THE CLAIMS PROCESS
Anyone who has lived in Oklahoma for at least one spring can tell you how serious and sometimes frightening a severe thunderstorm can be. We all know how devastating large long track tornadoes can be, but tornado damage usually only accounts for a fraction of the home damages. The storm conditions that produce these large tornadoes also typically produce a much larger path of damage in the form of hail and high winds. These damages can be quite extensive and will need to be repaired quickly as to not create more damage in the form of leaks, etc. Every claim is unique, and policies vary from carrier to carrier. This section is a general guide to the typical claims process.
- Never sign a contract with someone until you have consulted with a trusted source. After the storm, you will be bombarded with door-knockers and telemarketers. Tell them that you would like a written estimate, and do not sign anything until after the insurance company has given you their estimate. If they cannot give you an estimate without a contract, then you don’t want to work with them. Call people that you trust, insurance agents, friends, family, etc. Interview several contractors and make an informed decision.
- Have your roof inspected by a trusted professional before you file a claim. Depending on your carrier, sometimes filing a claim can count against you even if there is no damage.
- If you have a leak, call a trusted contractor to perform an emergency dry-in. This is to help prevent further water damage to the interior and most insurance carriers are happy to reimburse you for this.
So now that you have established that you have significant storm damage, call your agent/carrier and file the claim. They will then assign it to a field adjuster that will call and schedule a time to come to your home and perform their inspection. If you have already chosen a trusted contactor, it is typically a good idea to have him/her present during this inspection.
Once the adjuster has completed the inspection, they will work up the estimate and issue the first check. Some adjusters have the capability to do all of this on site at the time of the inspection. Others will have to submit it and have the check issued which could take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
If you have a mortgage on the house, expect the check to be made out to you, and the mortgage company. At this point you will need to call the mortgage company and begin the process of getting the check signed. Some will have local branches that can do this, others will require you to send it off. There are also a few that will require both you and your contractor to jump through some hoops. Unfortunately, this is all normal.
This first check will also most likely be depreciated. They do this to make sure that you make the repairs. If you have a full replacement policy, the depreciation will be paid upon completion.
RCV – Replacement Cost Value; You will receive the depreciation upon completion.
ACV – Actual Cash Value; This is the depreciated value.
Now you are ready to make the repairs.
Most contractors will not require a down payment. Its good practice to avoid money down for a roofing project. This will protect you from blatant scams. Payment schedules vary from contractor to contractor. Be sure to determine this before you begin the repairs. Roof Pro Local requires a first check upon the delivery of materials and beginning the tear-off. Once the repairs are completed, and you have received the final payment, make your final payment to your contractor and be sure to get a final invoice with the words “paid in full”. It is also a good idea to have the contractor provide warranty documents at that time as well.
10 Questions to Help Choose the Right Contractor for Your Project:
- Ask about the type of shingles being applied. Are they class 4 impact resistant? If not, what is the cost to upgrade? Many insurance carriers give as much as a 30% discount on premiums for this. The additional cost should not exceed $30 per square (100 square feet) in most cases.
- How will the shingles be installed? Ask about local building code requirements as well.
- Is your contractor a preferred contractor with any shingle manufacturers? If so, will that qualify you for any upgraded manufacturer warranties.
- Will the shingles be installed using a high-wind installation? (this should have no additional cost)
- Will ice barrier be installed in the valleys per code?
- What is the additional cost for ice barrier to be installed on the eaves to help prevent ice damming?
- What is the contractor workmanship warranty against leaks?
- Make sure that the contractor provides certificates showing valid general liability and worker’s comp insurance.
- Ask for references including suppliers and manufacturers.
- Ask for a lien release statement.