This past week we began installing a new GAF TPO roofing system that we performed maintenance on and performed a periodical roof inspection. We documented the photos and reports in 2015 for our clients. On July 7th 2017 hail damage occurred, but no member walked onto the roof until the following fall (Face it, how many people walk their roofs?). Insurance claim gets filed. The insurance provider denies the claim and affixed the damage to a 2013 date of loss (Passed their filing statute of limitations). Everyone’s confused.
The next week we dive into our archives to retrieve our report. We contacted the insurance company and provided our photos and reports that contradicted this “2013 date of loss” finding. Alongside our reports, the clients also had a licensed home inspector review the property. Both reports and NO MENTION OF HAIL nor visual damage noted in the roofing membranes. Upon further review and months of back/forth the insurance organizations eventually agreed to an $88,000 insurance claim settlement.
Something so simple
These inspections often are free estimates and allow you to have a 1st hand account on present issues, concerns, or longevity of the existing products. In addition, to providing you with an honest record, it does the same for your insurance provider. We understand they’ll use their own insurance “reporting” system, but we never recommend relying on the insurance providers to make that decision!
The true costs for our clients homeowners:
1 service repair call – Illinois unlimited licensed roofing contractor (Free Estimate)
1 property inspection – Illinois licensed home inspection ($350.00)
So what’s necessary?
Perform: ANNUAL and SEMI-ANNUAL PROPERTY INSPECTIONS
A lot of times insurance companies will review your property 2 times during your relationship. The 1st inspection occurs during your initial insurance premium review. The 2nd time often during an insurance claim. It’s common for these inspections to occur 5 to 15 years apart if damage never strikes your property.
What you can do?
Call licensed contractor to perform a property report (Annually) -$350.00
Get a home inspection (Every 5 years) – $350 to $750
Become familiar with storm damage such as hail, wind, & etc. and perform the inspections in-house. Free – Cost of the ladder.
Notify your insurance provider anytime you make significant upgrades to your exterior products (Roof, siding, windows, & anything else) and keep receipts of the MANUFACTURER <- In case they get damaged.
After 30+ years we want to share a few storm restoration industry facts and the top 3 insurance companies we’ve enjoyed working with throughout Illinois, Indiana, and the midwest. Why does our opinion matter? We’d be doing you a disservice by not disclosing the GOOD INSURANCE COMPANIES we’ve dealt with. Keep in mind our experience is with Homeowners Policies and Commercial Property Polices, and we cannot provide insight for vehicles, etc.
If you don’t see your insurer on this list, please don’t cancel your current provider and change your policyholder. However, you should annually request quotes to make sure you’re not getting fleeced in premiums! It’s also, important to understand your policy terms and the endorsements, because without the appropriate endorsements you might be in a compromising situation.
Top 3 Insurance companies
CHUBB Insurance: $$$
This company is based out Warren Township, New Jersey and one of the largest publicly traded casualty insurance companies in the North America. So there publicly traded and fair? From our experience they’ve been very transparent and great communicators with the homeowner
CHUBB is not the cheapest homeowners policies but they offer a tremendous Homeowners Masterpiece package that provides the following and more:
Extended replacement cost: After damage that’s covered by your policy, Chubb pays to have your home repaired or rebuilt to original specs and up to modern building codes, even if the cost exceeds your policy limit. This coverage is capped in some states.
Cash settlement: If you opt not to rebuild after total loss damage, or to rebuild elsewhere, Chubb will provide cash up to the amount of your policy.
Home appraisal: Chubb’s appraisers visit your home, estimate replacement costs, recommend the amount of coverage you need and offer security and safety advice.
AMICA MUTUAL INSURANCE: $$
Amica is based out of Lincoln, Rhode Island and was voted the #1 auto insurance provider by NerdWallet.com (Money Blog).
We’ve dealt with AMICA throughout many south suburb communities in Illinois such as South Holland, Lansing, Crete, and Beecher.
In 2017 we worked 3 homeowner policies with AMICA and all 3 jobs were paid in full and the adjusters were easy to contact, timely in their adjustment, and most importantly were willing to discuss supplements/appropriate install.
STATE FARM: $$
State Farm is probably the largest/most popular insurance provider that we have on our recommended list. We’ve dealt with a lot of State Farm insurance claims and have experienced the good/bad/ugly. We’ve noticed if the damage is evident and is covered within your policy they are a very easy organization to work with.
We’ve worked on many claims with State Farm, when the homeowners had no covered damage (wear and tear), but believed the insurance company owes them a new roofing system. These appointments are often unknown to us when we arrive and we look like a deer in the headlights with the adjuster.
Companies we don’t recommend:
All State, Church Mutual, Travelers Insurance
TIPS: Regardless of your Insurance Provider:
Review your deductible YEARLY! We’ve encountered claims where the homeowner’s belief was not his reality. Due to the influx of recent storms, many providers are shifting to a % of your house value for an insurance claim.
% of your house value deductible: Very much like the tax assessor or county government, insurance companies often OVERVALUE properties, which result in a larger deductible for you. Make sure your home is appropriately insured. There is nothing wrong with being over insured BY CHOICE or within liability.
See if you have the Ordinance & Law Endorsementon your insurance policy. There is absolute NO REASON to avoid this endorsement. If it raises your premiums $5 to $15 a month it’s by worth it. This endorsement covers everything that must be brought up to current building code or mandated per your town.
Do you have an ACV policy or Replacement Cost policy? You can find this out by looking at your Insurance Declaration page. ACV policy will pay your the Cost of Replacement – Depreciation (Age of your systems) = ACV policy. Replacement Cost will pay the per date cost of that item. Replacement Cost is superior to ACV. Actual Cost Value Polices are often found on distressed buildings.
If you deal with a claim. Call a trusted contractor or public adjuster. Do not believe that the insurance adjuster is acting in your best interest. Many homeowners don’t understand depreciation. You will need a contractor to assist in the restoration process, so you might as well have them assist in building out estimates and reviewing the scope on your behalf.
The mortgage company might be on the check. Before you get angry or bent out of shape, this makes complete sense. Almost 50% of the homes in the United States are on mortgage loans, which means you DO NOT own your home yet! The mortgage company is an endorser until they’re ensured the work will be completed per scope or by a reputable company. They are vested partners on the property until it’s paid in full.
We consider ourselves the hybrid model of a licensed contractor. Our staff is experienced in both retail construction and storm restoration. It’s common, for many organizations to be one dimensional and there’s nothing wrong with either. Companies have their niches and that’s what makes our economy so great. For instances, if the economy slows (recession) this tends to hinder discretionary spending = slow retail market and when there’s no damaging storms (hail, tornados, hurricanes, etc) = no storm industry.