My neighbor had their roof replaced through their insurance company. What’s their secret? I have storm damage on my roof too.
Q&A with Entrepreneur, Master Elite Certified Roofer and HAAG Certified Roof Inspector, Ray Milano
Q: How have you been able to help 1000’s of homeowners with their roof replacement and get it covered by their insurance company?
A: The short version answer; I encourage the acknowledgement, by the insurance company (adjuster), of storm damage on the homeowner’s roof and necessary insurance claim coverage. The best-case scenario is when the insurance company’s adjuster identifies the damage and coverage on their own, but far too often this is not the case.
Q: Why would an insurance adjuster not identify damage covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy.
A: Ok, so there are countless variables in every aspect of damage and coverage, including the uniqueness of each insurance company, furthermore, each individual adjuster. Let me give you an example.
This is how I turned a $1900 repair into a $13k roof replacement.
A client of mine called me after cap shingles blew off the front slope of the roof. I inspected the roof and identified a couple shingles missing on the front slope and some cap shingles on a hip, also on the front slope. I tarped the area then suggested they open a claim with their insurance company.
A few days later, an adjuster came out for inspecting and wrote up an itemized loss statement. My client forwarded the loss statement to me. It included itemized repair on the front slope. I contacted the insurance adjuster and as a result of our discussion, another inspection was scheduled where we were all present, including my client. The adjuster’s said damage only on existed on the front slope, which I agreed. He then said coverage would only be on the front slope and for individual shingle repair. This is where I strongly disagreed, and things got interesting. I suggested the shingles were to brittle to repair and asked if he had performed a brittle test. His response was that he considered them repairable and in the event I couldn’t finish the repair, he would reinspect to consider replacement of the slope. Since I couldn’t get the adjuster to budge on brittleness, I moved on to age. I informed the adjuster the 3-tab shingles were 22 years old, but rated in his loss statement as 20yr shingles. I suggested if brittleness didn’t meet threshold for replacement, surely the manufacture life span being expired would. He conceded and agreed to replace the front slope. I then suggested, since he was covering the front slope, he would need to cover all slopes for replacement. Given the confused look on his face, I explained the roof had hips connecting the front slope to the left and another hip connecting the left slope to the rear. I informed him that the installation requirement by the manufacture included overlapping underlayment on slopes connected by a hip. This would require the shingles on the other side of the hip to be removed to run the overlapped underlayment and since the shingles were non-repairable, well, all the slopes connected by hips (the entire house) must be replaced. He conceded.
Q: I’m fascinated by your example. Do they all turn out this way?
A: Many unique circumstances and adjusters. In my experience, few result in unfair outcomes, while most reach fair compensation for roof damage. Not every roof will be replaced, some repaired. One of my customers called about a window leak, not knowing they had damage on their roof. It turned into a $36,000 insurance company claim to include a full roof replacement. We also replaced a roof in spring, a couple months before the wind and hail storm on July 29 damage the new shingles. The insurance company covered the roof for replacement, so we reroofed it again in August.
Q: Is there anything you would to share with homeowners, maybe something that discourages them from filing or moving forward with a claim.
Absolutely! First, lets understand the basics. Insurance policies are executed agreements with the homeowner to cover specific types of damage caused under specific circumstances. When the insurance company identifies, or acknowledges, the threshold for coverage has been met, they will write an itemized statement of loss. We call this a “loss statement.” This statement will include today’s value of the items (Actual Cash Value) and the value once replaced (Replacement Cost Value). The difference between the two is called “depreciation.” To the general consumer, depreciation is considered a loss, but that is almost always NOT the case with homes. Once the damage is fixed, the Actual Cost Value increases to a Replacement Cost Value and the policy holder will receive the full value of the claim. This describes all roof repair or replacement claims though insurance companies.
Besides the misunderstanding about the recoverable depreciation, the other common concern is that the policy premium will increase after a claim for storm damage roof repair or replacement has been paid. I’ll say this, every adjuster and insurance agent I’ve spoken with or listed as they spoke with their policy holders, all stated storm damage will increase a geographical location and not an individual policy.