Roofing claims is like learning to ride a bike for the first time.
At first it can be scary sometimes confusing. You could fall down. But once you get the idea. It’s not as bad as it once seemed and can be rather exhilarating.
Now, maybe exhilarating is a word that’s a little far for getting a roof replaced. Nevertheless, when a homeowner saves tens of thousands of dollars and has a sweet roof to show for it, it can be pretty cool for all parties involved.
So often I meet homeowners who have no understanding of the claim process. In fact, today I spoke with a homeowner over the phone who was asking for an estimate after 5x of explaining to her that, ‘lower estimates don’t matter when it comes to insurance.‘ I said to her, ‘it seems like you are just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.’
She didn’t understand what I meant so I elaborated more, I said, “that she is fishing for information because she is the dark about the correct process.”
That is why she has talked to multiple roofers and in her opinion it seemed like everyone was telling her the same thing. I replied, ‘Of course it sounds that way but the devil is in the details and not all roofers have a systemized process in place to handle claims correctly. ”
I’ve already made a 35 minute video laying out our 12 step process. I sent her that video and clearly she didn’t watch it. So perhaps she won’t be a right fit or maybe she just needs it K.i.s.s (keep it stupid simple.)
So here is the simplified version of that video compacted into six steps (For homeowners who want more detail reference the twelve step video here).
1. Assess for damage:
This when roofer checks our roof, gutters, siding, etc. and takes 10-25 photos of the scope of damages at the property. The first step is important because it determines a concept of what the insurance should pay for.
Are there dents to gutters? How many of the slopes of the roof are damaged? Is there enough damage that insurance should pay for entire roof replacement? What else has collateral damage? What’s the pitch of the roof? Should there be 15lb felt or 30.
These are some of the questions that should be going through the mind of the roofer during the initial inspection. In her case the roof was extremely damaged as well of lots of collateral to gutters and other items on the property.
2. File claim and meet with adjuster
The homeowner should immediately file the claim if damage is present. At this point the homeowner should have hired a roofer who agrees to do roof for insurance estimate. Any lower estimate will not matter because then insurance company will just deduct that amount from the final check sent to homeowner.
Roofer then meets with adjuster. A measure report, as well as accessory count should be ready, as well as any other additional documentation that will help adjuster in writing initial estimate, including building code, storm related data, etc.
This is a critical step many roofers miss. Most roofers show up at adjuster meeting empty handed which gives the adjuster opportunity to leave off items of the roof system during initial estimate.
Whether it is the percentage of waste factor needed for material costs or it is accessories like ventilation, if roofer walks in empty handed then adjuster (9x out of 10) will purposely leave those items off which reduces the payout to homeowner to replace roof.
3. Analyze insurance paperwork and supplement if needed.
The goal of step 2 would be to avoid having to supplement in step 3. But no matter what there are always certain insurance companies and adjusters who leave items off no matter how thorough the roofer is.
Think of it this way. If a house burns to the ground and it costs x amount to build back, broken down into each component of the home such as the foundation, the frame, the roof, etc. Then the homeowner would expect the insurance company to cover each portion and not leave items off. If the adjuster left off money for the frame or foundation, the home would be impossible to build.
That is no different with a roof. Each roof has many components like felt paper, flashing, drip edge, etc, so leaving off those items means it is not a complete roofing system.
The purpose of step 2 is to come to the table with the adjuster to show knowledge, expertise, preparedness, and professionalism about roofing so the adjuster comes to the table also with payout on those individual items.
But step 3 is a back up scenario where the roofer goes back to insurance company and submits supplements using the fair market pricing in Xactimate (pricing software insurance company uses) just in case the adjuster still leaves those items off.
4. Build estimate based on insurance company and enter formal construction agreement.
If the supplements have been fulfilled and the estimate is complete, at this point the homeowner and roofer sign a formal construction agreement for total amount insurance company paid for roof.
This is called the RCV value.
Sometimes there are other items on the estimate like gutters or fence that has its own RCV value.
The construction agreement is where homeowner decides things like if they want to replace gutters, what color for the roof, if they want upgrades, etc.
But at the end of day, the estimate should be done for the RCV value since lower estimates just mean insurance companies keep that unused money on backend check for job.
Homeowners have to pay deductible regardless so there’s no point of a lower estimate.
The article do I have to Pay My deductible goes more into how it works.
Step 5. Build roof
At this point homeowner collects deductible and first check from homeowner.
The roof is built. Job should be thoroughly managed for quality control. This includes making sure landscape is protected from debris, and that roof is built to specs.
Step 6. Roofer files for depreciation directly to insurance company for RCV amount.
Once roof is built, certificate of completion is filed to the insurance company for RCV amount.
Then roofer collects 2nd check from homeowner which pays of balance of construction agreement.
This is an over simplified version of how it goes down. Obviously there are many nuances that are not covered here but this is the general outline. Each step is an equally important step to a successful roof replacement.
But what separates the average roofer from the greats are how thorough each step goes. Nearly all roofers in DFW area follow this basic outline, so it may sound the same on the surface level.
But that is why we actually have a 12 step process that goes deeper into each of these steps.
The difference between our process and others is in the details that could save the homeowner thousands of dollars, many hours of time and energy.
Just in our preparation for the adjuster meeting sets us apart from 90% of roofers. Most roofers will not invest time and energy into a job until they know they will ‘get it bought by insurance.’
Now imagine how those same roofers will manage a job once they lock the homeowner into a contract.
This article is supposed to help homeowners out there who are fishing for information make the correct decision for themselves and family. Stop fishing and call the expert: DFW roof claims.