The recent hailstorm that swept through the Twin Cities left many homes with hail damage (primarily roofing, siding, gutters and window capping). For many homeowners this will be their first time dealing with insurance damage to their home. Here is a quick HOW TO GUIDE.
The first step to getting a claim approved for storm/hail damage is to call your insurance agent and have them assess the damage first-hand. When the storm is extensive, like the one we just had, larger companies fly agents from around the country to assist with the demand. However, it still may take 2-3 weeks to get them to your humble abode. The adjuster will take pictures to send to headquarters for official assessment. Within a couple of weeks, you will know if and what you are approved you are approved to get replaced.
WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT A CONTRACTOR?
If, you have extensive damage to your home (leaking roof, holes in your window-panes, etc.) you should contact a contractor that you are going to have do the project to help aid in temporally protecting your home (put a tarp on leaking roof, covering a broken window-pane with plywood, etc). If, you are new to the process, once you have your appointment set with your insurance company, a reliable contractor would love to meet with you and the adjuster and help with the process. Answering any questions either may have along the way. If, you have been through the process a time or two, you can contact a contractor after you receive your approved paperwork from the insurance company.
WHO SHOULD I HAVE DO THE WORK?
After an extensive storm/hail companies will travel from all over the country in an attempt to earn your business. It is important that you select a local company. A non-local company will be gone as soon as the ‘well’ dries up. If, there are any discrepancies or service issues, you will most likely be on your own. DON’T NOT DO BUSINESS WITH A COMPANY THAT DOES ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
1) Asks for a down payment. With regards to storm/hail damage your only financial obligation is to the insurance company in the form of your deductible. Anyone asking for a down payment is trying to scam you.
2) Says they will cover your deductible. This is illegal. Any company that is doing a practice of this nature is unethical, unlawful and if they are being shady in this regard, I would not trust them to do work on your home. Plus, you will be breaking the law.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
If, I have damage to one-side of my home, can or will I get my whole home replaced (most commonly siding and/or roofing)?
There are a few factors that will determine whether you will get to capitalize on your ‘right to make whole’. It depends on your coverage and policy with your insurance company. If, the existing product is still in production or if it has been discontinued. If, it has been discontinued, is there an acceptable close match to both color and texture. After, receiving your paperwork a good contactor will fight on your behalf to get you what you are owed (if, applicable), even if the insurance company denies you on your first go-round.
I had my insurance company out and they denied my claim, what can I do?
Unless you have extreme physical damage (i.e. Holes in your siding) you most likely did not have enough damage to your home to warrant replacement. Any and all next actions or rebuttals should be taken through the insurance company. A contactor will not be able to assist you in receiving a claim; the insurance company must approve the claim.
If, I am approved do I have to complete the work?
Upon approval, you will receive paperwork from your insurance company. There will be a few options they give you. They will give you a cash value, or a work completed value. It is highly recommend that you explore your options. Not completely the work can have recourse. For example, lower resale value of your home because work needs to be completed. If, there is another storm and further damage happens you will not be able to collect or replace through insurance, it will be out-of-pocket. Technically, you can take the cash and run. But, for the aforementioned reasons it is highly recommended that you replace your damaged product. After all it is the protective shell to your most valuable asset; YOUR HOME.