Today we want to address one of the most common questions asked in our industry, and that is “Do I really need to get three estimates before I submit an insurance claim?” Based on our experience, and what we’ve seen as a requirement across the board when submitting claims, we’d say typically no you do not need to get three estimates before submitting your claim.
Of course, if you feel you need to, that is totally fine to feel more secure in your insurance claim process. Talk to your insurance agent and find out their requirements for filing a claim, maybe they do want you to collect three or more estimates, but only they could know for sure. It’s always a good idea to be in close contact with them during the entire claims process, but also before you go and get any estimates. Some people want to make sure they aren’t getting ripped off, but you may not see much difference between the estimates if you are dealing with stand-up businesses.
One thing to note is getting these estimates done is very time-consuming. If each inspection takes about 1 to 1.5 hours, and you want three estimates done, that’s already an entire day you need to free up just to get three options. If you have a lot of time to do that, go for it! Chances are you might be too busy for that, between jobs, a family and taking care of a household, on top of getting your roof repaired. It’s stressful, and if you don’t have to do it, we recommend taking it easy.
Something else to keep in mind is that premium you’ve been paying on your home insurance every year. There’s a reason you pay it, and it’s situations like this! You shouldn’t be searching for a cut-rate service to do your roof for cheaper. You need to get premium service to make all of it worthwhile. You are only going to waste time, and possibly money, by looking at multiple options of estimates.
So, what are the steps you should take when you are about to submit an insurance claim?
- Get a Damage Assessment with a Reputable Contractor
After you have determined your roof has sustained damage, find your local, reputable contractor to come and do a free assessment. Northface Construction and other contractors offer free consultations and assessments. If you find a contractor is charging for assessments, don’t believe that they are offering better or more extensive assessments. Choose a reputable contractor with good reviews and experience with damage assessments, over anyone trying to upsell their services.
Note: In the event of a large storm with catastrophic storm damage, watch out for storm chasers and out-of-state insurance adjusters. Storm chasers are contractors that will roll into towns that have sustained massive storm damage and look to make a quick buck. They will knock on doors and offer outrageous deals on siding and roof repair, but they are likely going to skimp on the quality of work and materials to get in and out of town as quickly as they can.
And out-of-state insurance adjusters will be brought in by local adjusters if they have too many claims to deal with at once. These are not scammers like storm chasers but it is important to keep in mind that due to the high volume of inspections and claims, they will give a quick, low-ball estimate to just get the ball rolling. These numbers may not be accurate, so it’s important to collect their info so we can compare it to our estimate when we are able to inspect your property more thoroughly.
- File the Insurance Claim
After the damage assessment, where damage was confirmed and documented, it’s time to call your insurance provider. Make sure you call the claims department to get started, rather than an agent. The claims line knows all the ins and outs of the process and can help you every step of the way. Even if you are waiting for us to contact you back, you can get started on filing your claim. The insurance adjuster’s assessment will be considered and compared to our repair estimates when the time comes.
- Meet with the Insurance Adjuster
After you file your claim with your home owner’s insurance, setup your meeting with the insurance adjuster. You also want to have your contractor who did the damage assessment at this meeting. A good contractor will help with the formalities of this meeting and ensure you get the coverage you need based on their assessment. They won’t overstep, but their knowledge and expertise in terms of the damage will be crucial to getting your repairs covered. However, the adjuster will ultimately make the decision of what can and will be covered by your insurance policy.
- Time for Repairs!
You’ve had all the inspections, done all the paperwork, and now it’s repair time! It is highly recommended you choose the same contractor for repairs, as you had run your damage assessment, and who you’ve been working with this whole time. Which is why it’s important to choose wisely in the beginning and go with a reputable contractor that can do it all. They know the ins and outs of your home, the damage, and already have an estimate in mind. Still, make sure that they properly document everything when they are fixing your home, and leave you with an itemized list at the end that you can compare the work to. If the contractor runs across new issues that were not known when they did the main, visual inspection, these should be documented. You can use that to get additional reimbursement for any further costs accrued from those repairs.
Article Credit: NorthFace Construction