Hurricanes, tornadoes, hailstorms…you name it, your insurance company has probably seen it. Damage to your home or property is a big deal, and a storm damage insurance claim can be a headache if this is your first time filing one.
It’s important to take the right steps to ensure your damage is addressed and repaired properly. This article explores a few basics to help you better understand the process.
What to do before you call your insurance company
After your house suffers storm damage and the storm blows away, it may be tempting to pick up the phone and call your homeowners insurance provider.
Review and document the damage yourself.
You likely know what condition your house was in before the storm hit better than the insurance rep. That means, as painful as it may be, now is the time for you to document exactly what was affected and how. Make notes and take pictures from every angle of the damage and surrounding area and store these assets in an area easily accessible to you for future use.
Get tips on identifying storm damage in our article, “Storm Damage: How to Spot It.”
Have a professional roofing contractor inspect the storm damage.
Before you call your insurance company, give your trusted roofing contractor a call. Many roofing companies work with insurance providers and are familiar with the process of filing storm damage claims. In some cases, the damage may be so miniscule that it may not be worth filing a claim at all. Or your contractor can draft a report of the damage and submit the claim for you. Your roofing contractor is more familiar with the ins and outs of your roof than a local insurance adjuster, so your go-to contractor can draft a more detailed report of the storm damage and file a more accurate claim, ensuring that your claim includes all necessary line items.
Cover the damage and avoid permanent repairs.
According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, the only repairs you should make on your property before the damage is assessed by your insurance provider are those that will prevent additional damage. Any permanent repairs prior to an assessment can lead to your claim being denied. Tarps can be useful for keeping additional debris–and the elements–out of exposed areas before you get your house, garage, or shed fixed.
Know your coverage.
This isn’t always discussed during the initial call to your insurance company. With virtually everything available online today, though, you should have easy access to the details of your homeowners insurance. Once you’re fully aware of all damage, consult your insurance documents for what type of damage is covered and your deductible.
What to expect from your storm damage claim inspection
If you can’t get a roofing company to inspect the severity of the storm damage, you may need to rely on an insurance adjuster. Although it’s a stressful time, It’s okay if you can’t be home when the insurance adjuster comes to assess your property damage from the storm. If you or your spouse can’t make it, consider asking someone you trust, like a family member or close friend, to be present during the inspection.
Insurance adjusters typically examine exterior damage. They don’t do deep dives into what could be hiding underneath the surface, so roof decking damage that occurred as a result of mold, for example, will likely not be covered. But when checking roofs for storm damage claims, adjusters often inspect 10’ x 10’ squares of each roof for damage caused by severe winds or hail. Based on the amount of damage, the insurance company may pay for or contribute to a full roof replacement or cover a roof repair.
Handy Homeowner Tip: Want to speed up the claims process? Invite your trusted general contractor or roofing contractor to the storm damage inspection. Your contractor and the adjuster may be able to work together so that nothing is overlooked and the details of your claim are filed as accurately as possible.
After the storm damage insurance claim is filed…
Now comes the approval process. Sit back and take a breather while your homeowners insurance company reviews the claim your professional roofing contractor helped you compile.
Once your claim is approved, review your coverage with the roofing company. Greenawalt Roofing Company has in-house claims specialists who can help answer any questions you have about the repair process and warranty and clarify what your insurance company will cover.
Sometimes, just a few shingles will need to be replaced thanks to a hefty windstorm. Other times, you may need to replace your entire roof. Either way, Greenawalt Roofing Company is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a storm damage inspection and start your insurance claim.
Note: Greenawalt Roofing Company is not certified to provide legal advice. For specifics on how to file a claim due to storm damage or to understand what’s covered, we recommend consulting your homeowners insurance company.