When your home or property gets damaged by a storm or other natural event, you want to be confident that repairs and restorations will be covered by your property insurance. After all, this is why you pay your yearly insurance premiums to avoid hassle when your property sustains damage. For those unfamiliar with the insurance claims process, however, it can pose some challenges and present frustrations. This is why we are here to help you get prepared and make your way through filing a roof damage claim and getting your roof back to its original undamaged state. Here are five tips for dealing with the insurance and claims process that will help to make it quick and easy.
Know your policy
While most people are content simply knowing that they have an insurance policy and leave the details to their insurance agent, it is essential that you are familiar with certain parts of your policy. The first is the policy period. Insurance will only cover damage sustained during the period that the policy is active, which can be found under the heading “policy period” at the front of the policy. Make sure that you renew your policy before any deadlines so that it stays current and you have coverage at all times.
Regarding roofs, it is also important to watch out for policy endorsements that may limit roof coverage. A list of endorsements can be found in the Declarations Page section of each property insurance policy. Some insurance companies are adding an Actual Cash Value roof assessment endorsement. This may not seem like a big deal normally, but when it comes to wind or hail storm coverage for the roof, it results in a depreciated payment for roof repair or replacement. This typically amounts to an insurance payment that is only a percentage of what it will actually cost you to repair or replace the roof (somewhere around fifty percent). While ACV coverage endorsements can lower your premiums, they will bite back with significant out of pocket costs in the event of storm damage.
File your claim in a timely manner
In Florida, you have, by law, two years from the day that damage occurred to file a claim. While this timeline gives you significant leeway, it is always best to file the claim as soon as you notice the damage and as close as possible to the date of loss (the date of the storm). This will get the process started and prevent any further damage from occurring, which may increase your costs in the long run. Additionally, insurance policies typically require the policyholder to take any possible measures to mitigate damages while the claims process is happening. This means that if there is a delay in the filing of a claim, and a leak resulting from a storm damaged roof worsens, then an insurance company may refuse to pay for any interior damages or mold issues resulting from the worsening of that leak. Avoid extensive interior damages and repairs liability by filing the claim as soon as possible.
Maintain open lines of communication with your insurance company
Throughout the claims process you will be in extended communications with your insurance company, from filing the claim, to getting in touch with your adjuster, to scheduling an inspection, to receiving their acknowledgement of the filing, to receiving their estimate and settlement letter, and so on. This process will be much quicker and easier if you have open lines of communication with your insurer. Make sure that your property insurance company always has your updated physical address, an updated phone number, and ideally an updated email address which you check frequently. You may also want to sign up for text/SMS alerts. While your insurer will mail you physical copies of their correspondence letters if necessary, the process will proceed much faster if this can be done electronically.
Keep organized and document the process
Your adjuster will conduct an inspection of your property after you file a claim. It is always good, however, to have your own documentation as well. Make sure to photograph any property damage and note the cost of any damaged or destroyed items. Note also the dates of damage and dates of the photographs. Keep a running list of anyone with whom you speak about the claim (adjusters, inspectors, contractors, etc). On this list, note the date and time of conversation, the name, title, and contact information of the person with whom you spoke, and a summary of what was discussed. While you may not need any of this, it will make your life much easier if any problems do arise.
Consult a professional in case of difficulties
When starting a claims process, it is always good to talk to someone who has been through it before. This may be a friend, family member, or neighbor who can give you an idea of what to expect. In the case that your claim is denied or it seems to you that the insurer’s estimate does not match the damages, you always have the option of contacting a professional. A public adjuster or even a contractor will likely have dealt with dozens or hundreds of claims. They will be familiar with local statutes that govern insurance estimates and will be happy to send their own estimate to your insurance company. Do not be afraid to look for help, and make sure that you contract with a reputable company.
If you suspect that your roof sustained damages covered by your insurance, we will be happy to do an inspection and advise you through the claims process. Just give us a call and we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!