Most homeowners assume that their insurance will cover their roof in the event of storm damage. However, every policy has exclusions so it is a good idea to review your policy to make sure you are adequately covered in the event of damage to your roof from a weather-related event.
Damage to your roof can be caused by hail, sleet, ice dams in the winter, heavy snow, high winds, thunderstorms, hurricanes, lightning, smoke, and fire. Most major insurers provide replacement or repair coverage in the event of these destructive forces.
However, losing a few shingles after a storm may be considered cosmetic, or minimal damage by your adjustor as compared to having a section of the roof blown off, or gutter, drip edge, facia, and other wood damage. The insurance company may provide for a total roof replacement for covered hazards, but sometimes the damage may only warrant repairs. This is why you want a professional and reputable roofing contractor (not a storm chaser contractor) to inspect your roof after a weather event if you suspect damage. They can find things that a layperson may not be aware of following a storm or wind event. After the storm clears contact your insurance carrier to begin filing a claim. You will have to pay your deductible.
Regular roof inspections and maintenance once documented can also save you trouble down the road in the event of future damage. If the insurance company sees that your roof is old and has been in disrepair prior to a storm or weather event it could jeopardize your coverage. Things like loose shingles, torn drip edged, rotted facia and any leaks prior to a storm can be penalizing. There is an expectation by most insurance carriers that the homeowner is going to maintain the home within reason. You don’t want to get penalized for maintenance failure on a big claim.
Some insurance carriers might try and steer you in the direction of their list of contractors, but you have the right to consult the roofing contractor of your choice. Reputable contractors are usually accepted by most national insurance companies and have built up a life time of credibility because of their estimates and the quality of their repairs. It never hurts to get multiple quotes but just make sure they are quoting for the same scope of work, supplies and materials. For example one quote may be much lower because the contractor is using cheaper shingles. Ask about warranties on shingles and labor. If two contractors are in dispute get a third quote.
When seeking a roofing contractor you should check out several things. Read Google reviews and consult the Better Business Bureau listings to see if they have any red flags from previous jobs. Don’t gamble with a lower rated contractor. Ask to see their liability coverages, workman’s compensation and any other insurance they carry. Professional roofing companies are used to this and will make them readily available to you so as to alleviate any concerns about protection coverages while the work is being done to your home. Ask how long they have been in business. Many local and family-owned contractors have spent years providing quality roofing in materials and service. They value their reputation for quality workmanship and don’t want to jeopardize it.
Be leery of storm chaser contractors that blow into a community after a storm from out of town or out of state and try do a sweep of the entire damaged area. Some of these companies ask for money up front. Reputable companies will not do this and will work with your insurance company. Unfortunately, many homeowners have had bad experiences with these companies that here today and gone tomorrow. One advantage of a local roofing contractor is accessibility after the job is completed. They live, work, worship, breathe and play where you do! They have a vested interest in the local community too.
Do an annual review of your coverage with your insurance agent. Ask about coverage exclusions and have them advise you of the best level of protection coverages they can offer. Don’t be afraid to shop around and get other quotes on coverage, but use due diligence in your research of prospective companies and agents just like you would for a roofing contractor.
Gilstrap Roofing has been a family-owned and operated business serving the Upstate and the Midlands of South Carolina since 1935. We welcome your questions, and scrutiny in searching for a roofing contractor. We are a full-service roofing contractor with an A+ BBB rating.
Brian Gilstrap, President
Greenville, SC 29611