The commercial roof insurance claims process can be daunting. Whether you own your own home or a commercial business building, there is one universal truth: roof damage really sucks. When a storm hits your area, high winds or falling debris, like hail, can cause serious damage to the roof of a building.
This is a costly and frustrating process, and there is nothing more frustrating about damage to your roof than having to go through the process of dealing with insurance. Anyone who has ever done it can attest that filing an insurance claim is one of the biggest pains, and it can lead to a lot of stress.
Maybe this is your first time dealing with a damaged roof, and you don’t really know what to expect when dealing with insurance companies. This guide will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect and how to navigate the entire situation best.
- Assess Your Damage
- File Your Claim
- Review Insurance Policy
- Work With an Adjustor
- Work With a Contractor
- Reach a Settlement
How to Work with your Insurance Company on a Damage Claim
Suffering through the storm might feel like more than enough to deal with but buckle up because the insurance claims process is coming. Your roof needs repairs, and unless you have bottomless pockets, you are hoping that insurance will pick up a good chunk of the tab.
Assess The Damage
This is the first step in the process. Ideally, you will have taken preventative maintenance with your roof to mitigate any damage caused by high winds, hail, or heavy storms. This is an important part of the investigation that insurance will run: if they think you didn’t do all that you could to prevent the damage, they might not cover anything.
Figuring out what you need to be covered and paid for is important. It is also important not to undercut yourself while not drastically overvaluing your claim. This can be tricky, but you need to be as accurate as possible when making this assessment.
File Your Claim
When you file your claim, you will get a claim number in response and a representative in charge of investigating the damage. That adjuster will look into whether or not you have acted in good faith and tried to protect your property rather than allowing more liability to be incurred.
If you have taken the aforementioned preventative maintenance and the adjuster determines that the damage has not occurred due to negligence on your part, you will have to go through the adjustment process.
Review Your Insurance Policy
After filing your insurance claim, being informed is one of the most important aspects. Knowing what is covered and what is not under your policy can make the process go much more smoothly and allow you to know your ground and entitlements.
Take the time to review primarily things like incidental clauses, deductibles, coverage, and depreciation. These will be the most important facets covered in the claims process and will do you the most good when it comes time for the adjustment.
Work With Your Adjustor
Once you know exactly what your policy entitles you to and what is covered, next comes filing and dealing with the adjuster. When you file, the key is to take photographs. This will expedite the process, but if you have before and after photos, it will show clear damage and prior condition. This will only aid in your insurance claim.
Make sure that you keep all the necessary receipts and documentation for any temporary or emergency repairs that you may need to be implemented. Never assume you are on the hook for those, and do all you can to prove their necessity to the insurance company.
The key to this entire process is clear, concise information. Don’t give the insurance company any wiggle room to get out of a claim; hit them with information and photographs from every single direction. Insurance companies will question everything; when you have the documentation to back up your claim, you don’t leave them with an out.
Work With Contractors
Once the adjuster has determined that your claim is valid, they will start assessing the overall extent of the damage done to your roof. Generally speaking, insurance companies will work with professional roofing companies to work on insurance claims. This is because they know exactly what adjusters need and will likely have the supporting documents and photos ready to go.
You can contact a reputable company to conduct your own inspection if you have any doubts; they will know what to look for and how to present it to the insurance company. Make sure that you always have as much information as you possibly can.
Reach a Settlement
If you are working with a solid and reputable insurance company, the adjuster should be pretty transparent about how they arrived at the settlement number that they arrived at and why certain claims expenses, if any, were denied.
You are well within your rights to negotiate so long as you do so respectfully and fairly. If you can’t reach any kind of settlement with the insurance adjuster, you can appeal the decision that the insurance examiner came to.
After all, has been settled, the adjuster will then approve work to start. Here, you would want your roofing company’s representative to meet with the adjuster and yourself to make the overall adjustment process as smooth as possible.
The Final Step
Make sure you ask your adjuster as early as possible in the discussions about how the payments will be disbursed; generally, two payments are issued as insurance payments. From here, it is a matter of getting your roofing contractor to work and getting all the repairs made.
This process can be frustrating if you aren’t prepared, but when you arm yourself with all the information you can, you make the entire situation a lot less of a hassle overall.