If you’ve recently sustained any kind of roof damage, be it from a major weather event or a smaller storm, it can be highly stressful. If you’re able, you may find yourself wanting to repair the roof storm damage on your own. And while that may be tempting because it gets you and your family back to normal as soon as possible, that’s not the best course of action. It’s always better to wait until after you’ve filed the claim to make any repairs.
Document the Roof Damage
As soon as it is safe to do so, start taking photographs of the roof damage, as well as anything in the surrounding area that may be the cause of the damage.. Take a variety of photos from as many angles as possible. Document the damage before beginning any temporary repairs, like tarping. You may also consider taking video, if you want to document footage of an active leak.
Call Your Homeowner’s Insurance Company
Call your homeowner’s insurance company as soon as possible after the damage occurs to let them know your roof has been damaged. Be prepared to tell them the extent of the damage as best you can, based on what you can see. Let them know what you believe caused the damage, and make sure that it is covered under your current policy. Before ending the call, make sure you know how long your window to file a claim is. If vandalism caused the damage, you’ll need to file a police report before getting in touch with the insurance company.
File the Necessary Paperwork
Your insurer will provide you with any paperwork necessary to complete the claim. Most of the time, these documents can be signed and filed electronically to speed up claim resolution. The process varies depending on which insurance company you use, but your claim is not formally filed until the paperwork has been completed and accepted by the company. You’ll receive a claim or case number for easy tracking.
You can use this claim or case number when following up with the insurance company on the status of the claim. The length of time it takes to process the claim will depend on a number of factors, such as: the nature of the storm that caused the damage, the number of other claims being filed as a result of the storm, the caseload of the insurance company, etc.
Any temporary repairs you make to keep your home and belongings safe and dry, such as covering the area with a tarp, will need to be documented. Keep the receipts for the tarps and any other materials you purchased. The insurance company may request them as support for your claim.
While it may be tempting to hire your own roofer to make the repairs and save the receipts from their repair, it’s best that you wait until the claim is approved. Since many insurance companies work with an approved list of vendors, going outside of this may result in your claim being denied.
If the roof damage renders your home uninhabitable and you have to stay in a hotel, keep the receipts for your hotel stay as the insurance company may reimburse those expenses.
Wait for the Insurance Adjuster to Visit
After the claim has been filed, it’s possible the insurance company may choose to have an adjuster come visit your property to assess the damage. The adjuster will take their own photos of the damage and what may have caused it. The adjuster works with the insurance company to determine the extent of the damage and the cost to repair or replace it.
It’s worth mentioning that just because you file a claim with your insurance company, an adjuster may not visit your home. And if an adjuster does, it doesn’t necessarily mean something will go wrong with that claim. Many times, the photos you provide of the damage do suffice for the company to proceed with the claim.
Get the Check and Hire Your Roofer of Choice
In the event that the insurance company denies your claim or pays less than the repair or replacement costs, you do have the right to appeal. You can hire a public adjuster to assess the damage, then provide a copy of the report to the insurance company to request that they appeal their decision to deny the claim or adjust the payout amount.
After the insurance claim has been resolved, you should have a check in hand that you can use to pay the roofing company that makes the repairs. Be sure to clarify whether you have the choice of vendors or if you have to work from a list they provide you.