Insurance Claims – FAQ
Q. How do I know if I hail damage? My roof isn’t leaking.
A. In a hailstorm, most hail that hits your roof and house may be too small to cause any damage. However, a percentage of the hail may be large or irregularly shaped, which can cause severe damage that may not be readily apparent and may not start to leaking for some time. It’s best to have your roof inspected by a state licensed roofing contractor to determine if you need to file an insurance claim and have an insurance adjuster assess the total amount of damage incurred.
Q. The insurance company withheld depreciation on my roof. Will I get that money?
A. Yes. Most all home owners policies cover full replacement value. The first check the insurance company gives you is the Actual Value (AV); what the roof is worth today with it’s useful remaining life. The money that was withheld is call the depreciation, or technically, the Replacement Value (RV) and will be paid to you when the work is completed or most times upon the submission of a signed contract with a licensed contractor for the work specified in the insurance adjusters summary report.
Q. Why did the insurance company withhold depreciation?
A. There are two reasons that the insurance companies hold some money back. The first reason is to make sure that you get the work done. Past experience has shown them that, if they give the customer all the money up front, many people end up spending it on something else. The second reason is that they wish to make sure that you pay your full deductible. The insurance companies reason that, if you are given all the money to begin with, many people would naturally try to find a contractor who would perform the job for the dollar amount in hand. By holding a retainage amount, they can adjust the amount of the final payout based on the roofing contractor’s invoice, thus assuring that the customer does pay the deductible.
Q. How can I avoid paying the deductible?
A. Legally, you can’t. Of course, a roofer in collusion with a homeowner can submit falsified invoices. However, doing so is insurance fraud. Please don’t ask us to do this.
Q. On my paperwork, it looks like my insurance company has already deducted my deductible from the check they sent me?
A. When most people look at their insurance paperwork they are confused, because they think the insurance company deducted their deductible from the money the insurance company has sent them. However, the deductible is the amount that the homeowner is responsible for paying directly to the contractor. The insurance company subtracts the home owners deductible amount on the paperwork from the total amount the insurance company allows for the claim, since the homeowner will pay their deductible directly to the contractor. The balance after subtracting what the homeowner will pay directly to the contractor as a deductible, is the total amount the insurance company will actually pay for the claim.
Q. The insurance is only paying for part of my roof, and my neighbor’s insurance company paid for their entire roof; why is my insurance company only paying for part of my roof?
A. No two houses receive the same amount of damage in a storm. Your neighbor may have sustained extensive damage, and you may have received none. The insurance company will only pay for the actual damages incurred. If the entire roof was not damaged, unfortunately the insurance company cannot pay for the whole roof. However, if is it border line, it always helps to have your roofing contractor inspect the roof with your insurance adjuster to accurately assess all damage to the roof. Sometimes insurance adjusters may not be able to see all the damage if they’re not able to walk on a step roof and photograph certain areas. American Top Roofing ensures a helpful presence to look out for your best interest and assist the insurance adjuster if needed with damage assessment, photographs, and measurements.
Q. Should I get several estimates?
A. It is always prudent to get more than one estimate. However, when insurance is paying for the work, the dollar amount of the estimate is not very important as long as it is equal to or less than the insurance company estimate. In all such cases, with American Top Roofing, you will only be paying your deductible, so your cost with us will be what the insurance company pays, plus your deductible. Therefore, your decision should be based on going with the contractor that you feel most comfortable with and whom you feel will perform the best job.
Q. What if your estimate is greater than the insurance company’s estimate?
A. Usually this is because of something the insurance adjuster missed in the scope of work to be completed. We can almost always work something out with the insurance company. We will submit what is called a “supplement” with documentation in the form of pictures, measurements and paperwork. The insurance company will review the supplement and upon approval, send a check for the additional monies needed to make the repairs.