Roofing Companies and Insurance Claims

October 16, 2013

Roofs and insurance provide great protection for our homes as well as our savings.  A recent thunderstorm in my area was accompanied by 15 minutes of quarter-sized hail.  The next day, the neighborhood was crawling with roofing companies offering free estimates for roof repairs.  On the one hand, you have to love the profit motive served up by a storm. On the other hand, it was an annoying to have five roofing companies ringing the doorbell.

Fortunately, my roof was not leaking and another round of hail wasn’t eminent.  So, I had a little time to figure out my next move.  My neighbor across the street was told by a roofing company representative riding from house to house on a Segway that his roof was totaled.  Another neighbor two-doors down said he had no roof damage.  When I had my insurance company check my roof, there was only damage to north facing slopes.  All three homes are within 125 feet of each other and use the same insurance company!

I learned that hail damage can vary dramatically even over short distances and that roof pitches (steepness) can be a factor.

Still worried about horror stories of unscrupulous companies feeding on victims of storms and disasters, I wasn’t comfortable just letting anyone crawl around my roof with clipboard and chalk to mark damage.  Looking to bolster my trust in a company to make repairs, I called my builder for a roofing referral.  He gave me the name of a roofing company he uses to roof the homes he builds.  I provided the roofing referral with the list of damage assessed by my insurance company and I am waiting for an estimate to make the repairs.

I also looked for do’s and don’ts for locating roofing contractors.  The Abilene Texas Better Business Bureau  - in the heart of tornado alley - offers the following tips:

Obtain bids from several firms.

Keep specifications identical.

Find out if the contractor is locally-based.

Check the company out with the local Better Business Bureau.

Check with you local city, town, or county government for licensing and permit requirements.

Get the deal in writing, including information about warranties, completion dates, debris removal, and insurance and bonding.

Pay when the job is done.  Period.

Only agree to have the job done when you are ready.

Be sure the company is real – unmarked pick-up trucks with a ladder.

Let me know if you have additional tips for when disaster strikes.  I’ll follow up with highlights of the best tips and let you know how my repairs are coming along.