• Jennifer Makely

FAQs: Storm Damage and Insurance Claims

A big storm has just hit your neighborhood, and you think you may have storm damage to the roof. Now what? Here are answers to a few common questions about making an insurance claim:

Q: How do I know my roof is damaged?

A: Sometimes damage is obvious from the ground, but usually it can only be determined by a professional who goes onto the roof, for a close inspection. Schedule an inspection with an insured roofer who has a great reputation and is experienced in evaluating storm damage.

Q: What happens during a storm damage inspection?

A: It’s impossible to conduct a full assessment from the ground. A qualified professional will always get on the roof to examine shingles, flashing, vent covers, and other roofing features for damage evidence. In addition, the inspector should walk your home’s perimeter to evaluate the condition of gutters, downspouts, siding, and more. After the storm inspection, the roofing contractor should walk you through his or her report. They will show you photos of any damage and, if necessary, explain how that damage impacts your property.

Q: The hail damage doesn’t look that bad – Why is the inspector recommending roof replacement?

A: Hail strikes leave “bruises” on the shingle’s surface. These bruises may appear relatively minor, as though a few granules have been scraped off the surface. However, the hail may have damaged the foundation of the shingle, causing it to crack or break underneath. This rarely causes an immediate roof leak but over time, moisture seeps into that crack, compromising the integrity of the shingle. The result? Your roof might seem fine for a year or two, but eventually water will work its way through those cracks and trigger a leak. This is precisely the reason insurance companies are willing to pay hail storm claims even when the damage doesn’t appear that bad; it will cost the insurance company less to replace the roof NOW than it will to replace the roof and mitigate water damage later.

Q: What happens after the inspection?

A: Call the claims number listed for your policy–not your agent. The insurance rep will ask you a few basic questions about your roof and the storm. Then, they’ll give you a claim number and have an adjuster contact you to set up an appointment. Always coordinate the appointment so the adjuster can meet with the roofing contractor who did the damage evaluation. He will do more than simply discuss damage and repair or replacement- He will also work directly with the insurance company to handle paperwork and act as your advocate, eliminating much of the stress that often comes with filing claims.

Q: Should I get several bids or estimates?

A: When insurance is paying for the work, the exact dollar amount of the bid is not important, as long as it is equal to, or less than the insurance company estimate. In all cases, you will only be paying your deductible, so your cost will be the same. Therefore, you should choose your contractor based on the one you feel most comfortable with and whom you feel will perform the best quality job. Shopping for the lowest bid will not allow you to put the extra money in your pocket.

Q: Will my insurance company cancel my policy of I file a claim?

A: If your roof has any damage at all, you have a VALID insurance claim and should file with your insurance company. Insurance companies cannot cancel your policy for an "Act of God" disaster related claim.

Q: If I file a claim will my insurance company raise my rates?

A: After a disaster, insurance companies may raise everyone's rates. By not filing your claim your personal rate increase is paying for everyone else's damage except yours.

Cedar Roofing Company, LLC is here to help. We’re HAAG certified, which means we’ve completed training and testing to professionally evaluate storm damage. Schedule a free roofing inspection at 847-247-4400