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Storm Season Is Coming

Feathers and Fins

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Storm season is upon us and sooner or later we will all have a storm hit our homes or business and I wanted to share some of my knowledge with everyone as it comes to “Storm created damages”!

By storm damages I am talking about Wind/Hail not Tornado damages. First I want to address the Hail damages. For the most part hail needs to be at least 1inch to do damage to shingles smaller hail will damage soft metal of homes such as Gutters, Downspouts, Metal roof vents and Ac fins. Unless you are in the Business and have been trained as to what to look for detecting Hail Damage to Shingles is difficult for the average Home Owner and there are many “contractors” who don’t know hail damage either. It really takes a professional roofing contractor to identify true hail or wind from a host of other damages to a roof.

But as a Home Owner you can cut down on the number of claims you file by doing several things. If you are home when a storm rolls through and the hail is less than 1’’ it isn’t worth calling. Now if it is call a “LICENSED” Roofing Contractor. I don’t care if your state requires a license or not or if your buddy is a handyman or not Call the Professional. By that find one that is licensed and or is certified by shingle manufacturing companies. These are the people that can tell you the truth. I get on roofs all the time that a “contractor” told the client they had damage from hail and I get up there to find defects caused by a host of other issues, the other contractor had no clue the difference between hail and blister or organic decomposition even wind damage is difficult to tell for some of them from manufacturing or improper installation.

Call your Agent as well to see who they suggest, many insurance companies have preferred contractor programs and trust those contractors. In fact several companies have started allowing for those contractors to do the “Damage assessment” and approve the repairs off their scope without the need for an adjuster to come out.

After true hail/wind damage is detected a honest contractor will advise you that “In their Opinion” there is hail/wind damage to your house. You will then need to file a claim with your insurance. It is the job of your adjuster to make the determination to damages, if you and the contractor do not agree with the adjuster you can request a reinspection and if still not satisfied you can request an engineer to give his opinion. Do not be afraid to push the issue. Do not argue with the adjuster, they have guidelines they must follow and as a rule they want to pay for damages if they are legitimate. But in the event your contractor disagrees with them request the reinspection and the engineer if need be.

If a storm hits we will see an influx of contractors from around the country “storm chasers” DO NOT HIRE THEM! These guys do the job and then are gone and you will be SOL if anything leaks. How to avoid them is simple!

  1. Check your state Licensing Board
  2. Talk to your insurance Agent
  3. Ask your Insurance adjuster
  4. Check the BBB
  5. Call the city to see when they were licensed
  6. Call the local supply houses and ask about them ( not home depot or lowes ) For our area Call ABC Supply or Arrowhead or CBM.

I really preface calling those supply houses and one trick many chasers like to do is keep an add in the phone book and never return calls unless a storm hits as their office is really out of state, another trick is keeping a store front there to say they are local when in reality they only open it in a storm.

All those can help you avoid major problems down the road; no warranty because they are gone is costly. As an example to replace a pipe boot someone else improperly installed is running about 350.00 and that is a easy fast fix, now imagine something far worse.

In the event you do have damage and the adjuster tells you do he/she will right up a “scope of work” for you. This will tell you what it will cost to remove and replace / detach and reset items. It will tell you what they will be paying and what you owe (deductible). Most policies today are RCV (replacement cash value ) though some ACV ( Actual cash value) policies are still around ( check with your agent to see which you have. In my opinion if you have an ACV Policy change to an RCV Policy as it will cost you less in the long run your agent can explain them in more detail than I want to get in right now!

A good Contractor can issue you a contract as soon as he knows the adjusters amount. Often there are “required” code upgrades! Adjusters do not as a rule put those on their scope of work. The contractor will need to submit those to the insurance with proper documentation to be paid for them. Most policies have “code upgrades” allowed in them, not all but most. You do not pay for those unless you have a policy that does not pay for code upgrades. All you should be out of pocket is your deductable and FYI (Saving your deductable) is a Felony don’t get caught up in that game, the only other normal thing you would be out of pocket for is (decking) damages not related to the storm.

When you sign a contract the contractor normally will collect your deductible at that time ( and preferred contractor is required to ) as proof they did collect it, they get the check, scan it and send to the insurance company as verification of it being collected. Next they will get a “Material Draw” when the material is dropped off on location. The final payment should be collected when the job is complete, this could be done several ways either paid by the insurance to them or the recoverable depreciation check is mailed to you then you pay them etc etc and so on.

This is just a fast brief, I will be happy to answer any questions I can if anyone has questions.

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Back in '08, I think it was, we had $20K worth of damage to the house and vehicles. Lucky for the insurance company we were gone and had 2 vehicles with us.

Today's release is tomorrows gift to another fisherman.

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