Weather Damage? Should I Call a Roofer or an Insurance Company First?
Weather damage, especially to your roof, should not be ignored. In a worst-case scenario, you could face a roof collapse, injuring the people underneath it. At best, minor damage can worsen over time and cause mold and pest problems.
However, do you call in a roofer or your insurance company to assess the damage? Insurance companies may have more affordable roofing repair options, but the state of your roof can affect their coverage.
Here’s everything you need to know before you make that call.
What Happens If You Call the Roofer Before Insurance?
A roofing contractor can give an accurate, objective assessment that isn’t impacted by your current insurance plan. They’ll provide you with a full report of their assessment that you can then provide to the insurance adjuster.
One of the benefits of going to a roofing contractor first is that they may spot damage you hadn’t. Winter roof damage can develop into a more significant problem later on, and you don’t want your insurance company to miss it when providing coverage.
In most cases, a roof inspection is required to qualify for a roof warranty. It’s not uncommon for them to require a yearly inspection, and they’ll need another one after it takes on weather damage.
Depending on your insurance company, calling a roofer before them can save you time and money. However, some insurance plans require using their own adjusters to decide what storm damage gets covered.
What Happens If You Call the Insurance Company Before the Roofer?
Does home insurance cover weather damage to a roof if you’ve fixed it already? Of course not. They can’t cover repairs that they hadn’t approved yet.
Many insurance companies require that they be the first ones you call when there’s an issue. You wouldn’t take a car to a repair shop without reaching out to your car insurance provider first.
Before the visit, it’s essential to document all the storm damage to your roof. Make minor fixes to minimize further damages, but include any necessary changes in your notes. Be as detailed as possible when writing down the damages.
You’ll then have to contact your home insurance company. They should provide at least some compensation for the roof damage, which can help cover the cost of repairs.
Your insurance may also recommend you to a contractor in their network to help save you some money, but you should be able to use your own choice.
Can They Both Inspect the Roof at the Same Time?
One of the problems when dealing with your insurance provider is time. It’s not like the company sends someone out to assess the damage the next day after you call.
It could take a few days within filing a claim to hear back and another few days before someone comes out.
Meanwhile, many roofing contractors have same-day services for emergency calls. If weather damage has opened up a hole in your roof, they can cover it up to keep the rain out while they secure supplies for repairs.
The best thing you can do in certain situations is to call both your insurance company and a local contractor. Your contractor can assess the damage and begin repairs while you negotiate with your insurance for coverage.
What Does Will Insurance Consider When Looking At Your Roof?
Not all home insurance options cover the same types of damage. Standard policies cover wind damage but may exclude flooding and fire damage. Coverage can also include damage from hail and snow, depending on the area you live in.
Here are some of the factors your insurance considers when deciding how much compensation you’ll receive.
Age of the Roof
Some insurers refuse to cover houses with roofs older than 20 years of age. In some cases, they may decide not to cover weather damage if it has been primarily caused due to old age.
Routine roof inspections can help avoid that problem since a licensed roof contractor will have it in writing that your roof was sound and stable beforehand.
Maintenance and Installation of the Roof
Annual maintenance helps to keep your roof in good condition and spot any problem areas before they become major issues. The insurance company may decide that the weather damage could have been avoided if it had been properly maintained. They could make the same excuse if they see some flaws in the roof’s installation.
Visible Signs of Damage
Most importantly for you, the insurance adjuster will look for visible signs of damage, such as damaged shingles, mold, and hail marks. They’ll only cover repairs for damage caused by recent weather conditions, so make sure to get any other problems dealt with through routine maintenance.
Hiring a Contractor for Your Roof Damage
Regardless of whether or not your insurance policy covers the damages, you’ll still need to hire a contractor for repairs. However, you don’t want to hire just any random person for the job. As affordable as a home repair service may be, they won’t have the same kind of experience as a licensed contractor.
Experience With Insurance Claims
One of the main benefits of a good contractor is their experience dealing with insurance claims. They should be able to help you document any damage you’ve sustained and guide you in getting the best outcome from your insurance adjuster.
It’s always good to hire locally for several reasons.
First, local contractors know what to expect in your area and how best to prepare your roof against future damage. They’re also more readily available than larger companies that may keep you waiting. That doesn’t mean you want to hire the closest company if that means getting worse service.
Properly Insured and Licensed
Experience matters, but so do qualifications. Make sure they’re licensed and insured.
A contractor’s license requires two years of experience in home improvement work or construction. They also need proof of current $50,000 liability insurance filed with their application in the state of Maryland.
Handling With Weather Damage on Your Roof
Weather damage should be dealt with immediately, especially in the middle of a stormy season. You never know when another hurricane or blizzard is going to roll through town again.
Landmark Roofing provides roofing services in the Severna Park area. We can help assess your leaky roof or prepare it for winter. Our team also works constantly to improve our services through classes and training.