How to Get the Most from Your Insurance Claim for Storm-Related Roof Damage

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Of the many tens of billions of dollars caused by natural disaster losses each year, wind- and hail-storm damages are among the most common occurrences. While catastrophic storms like tornadoes and hurricanes are usually limited to specific seasons and geographical areas, thunderstorms bring strong winds and hail to every single state, almost every month of the year (though surely there are storm seasons, when hail is more likely). 

Storm-related damage is a covered peril under most homeowners insurance policies, and most insurance companies will pay out for the restoration of storm-damaged homes. However, the problem is that insurance companies have an obvious profit motive (and a fiduciary duty to their stockholders) to minimize claims by paying for bare-minimum, band-aid style repairs, even when full replacements are warranted. They are able to get away with this because most insured homeowners simply don’t know any better, or aren’t equipped with the insurance knowledge and construction experience necessary to hold the insurer accountable. There is one type of insurance professional that can even the playing field and help homeowners get what they are entitled to.

Public Insurance Adjusters Fight for the Insured

Tested and licensed by the state, a public insurance adjuster works an insurance claim on behalf of the insured the way that regular insurance adjusters work on behalf of the insurance company. They are hired by the policyholder, and they represent the policyholder during the claims process the way a lawyer represents a defendant in a court of law. This can be a huge benefit to a homeowner in need of help with the claims filing process – and most homeowners are in need of such help, even if they don’t know it. Insurance companies put a lot of effort and resources into making the claims filing process as simple as possible, but this just makes it easier for them to pay out as little as possible. This isn’t a cynical outlook – it’s basic economics. Insurance companies have to find ways to cut costs in order to provide insurance for as cheap as possible so that they remain competitive. A public insurance adjuster makes sure this doesn’t happen.

The only problem is that a public adjuster must be paid for their work, and their fee can often be as high as 20% of the insurance claim. If they fail to get the policyholder a settlement that is 20% higher than it would have been otherwise, then their service is not worth it and they aren’t providing homeowners anything of value.

Free Public Adjuster Services Offered by Roofing and Restoration Contractors

A solution to the problem of finding an affordable public insurance adjuster is to find a storm damage restorations contractor who specializes in insurance work and has an affiliated public adjuster on staff. They handle a large enough volume of claims that they are able to offer the adjusting service as part of their restoration work, and they pay the P.A. ‘s fee out of the insurance money they get for executing the restorations. It therefore never costs the homeowner anything more than their deductible. 

These contractors will usually come to you, so you won’t have to look too hard. After a storm they often canvas neighborhoods. Most are reputable and honest contractors, but a couple of storm-chasing scammers give them all a bad name. However, a simple Google search is often enough to uncover fraud or scam. The “good ones” will ask you to sign a contract with the public adjuster to handle your insurance claim, and he/she will do everything from the inspection to the documentation of damage to the preparation of an estimate and the negotiation of a final settlement. Once a fair and proper settlement is reached and money is released, the contractor with whom they are affiliated will perform the restoration work: roofing and siding installations, gutters, windows and doors, etc. They often get significantly more work approved than a policyholder would have on their own. Ultimately, this entire service costs the homeowner not a penny more than the deductible, unless they opt for upgrades and supplemental work not approved by insurance. 

Win-Win Situation for Storm-Damaged Homes, Policyholders & Contractors

This deal is a win-win for the homeowner, the public adjuster, and the contractor, because the more work that gets approved then the more money the contractor makes, the higher the fee for the public adjuster, and the more brand new construction the homeowner gets. Ultimately, this means increased value in the home and more money when it comes time to sell, refinance, or take out a home equity loan. What’s more, it’s illegal for insurance companies to raise rates for increased claims, and they can’t drop a policyholder for using a public adjuster. Homeowners are advised to not file more than 2 claims in any one year, which most homeowners never get close to doing, but other than that there is no risk in hiring a public insurance adjuster and restoration contractor combo. And, remember, if they don’t get your storm damage approved – you won’t owe them anything at all.

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