As I write this, I’ve answered several calls and text message from clients about the latest hail storm that hit Denton and Collin counties Monday evening. The hail started out the size of golf balls and grew to baseball and softball size as it traveled east. Last week, I outlined the first step I recommend most clients take, which is to have a local roofer survey your roof for damage. The next step is to file the home insurance claim by calling the claim number for the carrier.
These calls are usually handled by someone who will enter the claim into their system, assign you a claim number, as well as, an adjuster who will oversee your claim. The claim adjuster will call you to obtain a statement from you as to what happened, when it happened, and the extent of the damage. They will arrange for a field adjuster to inspect the damage which requires them to get on the roof to see the damage for themselves. I also suggest they look at gutters, downspouts, fascia, siding, and windows for hail strikes.
Some field adjusters are empowered to complete the estimate on site and write a check to the homeowner for repairs before leaving. Others are required to complete a report with their estimate to the claim adjuster who is responsible for processing payment to the homeowner. How this is performed varies by each home insurance company.
Payment is usually not made out for the full amount of the repairs or roof replacement. It is usually enough to get the work started and procure materials with the deductible being applied to the amount paid. The reason it’s usually not the total amount to replace the roof is to avoid these funds being used for other things (paying off a credit card, a family vacation, etc.) which is a form of insurance fraud. Once the work is complete, the remaining balance is paid, either to the homeowner(s) or the roofer. The homeowner is responsible for their portion of the repairs represented by the policy’s wind / hail deductible.
If additional damage is discovered after the repairs are underway, it’s important to share these with the claim adjuster so additional funds can be procured for the claim. Instances of this include the need to replace decking that may have been damaged due to the size of the hail, damage to vent pipes and flashing, etc. Document everything and contact the adjuster as soon as you’re aware of them.
In some cases, a homeowner may need to take steps to secure the home prior to the field adjuster’s arrival. In these instances, take pictures of the damage and keep receipts for materials used to protect the home from further damage. This may include plastic tarp to cover a roof or car, plywood to cover broken windows, etc. These items should be included as a part of the claim.
What questions do you have? Share them with me, along with your comments and experiences, on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!