Over the past 8 years, our firm has handled hail storm cases throughout the state where the insurance company denies or underpays the claim. After last night’s storm, I offer these tips:
1. Make your claim as soon as possible. If you wait, insurance companies sometimes argue that non-covered events after the storm caused the damage.
2. Make the claim in writing. In two of our pending cases, State Farm has taken the position that a verbal call to their claim center was not sufficient even when State Farm subsequently assigned a claim number, sent out an adjuster and paid part of the claim. I wish I was making this up. … An on line claim is how I will do my claim.
3. Know that roofers cannot negotiate your claim with your insurance companies. A new law in 2015 makes it illegal for a roofer to contact or discuss the claim with your insurance company. If they say they can or will, watch out.
4. Watch out for “free” inspections. Some of these inspectors may be from out of area groups that just gather cases for lawyers and do not provide any extra added value.
5. Do not trust that the insurance company’s estimate of the damage to your roof is accurate. We have many cases where the insurance company substantially undervalued the cost of repairs. Get a second opinion from a local reputable roofer.
6. Insist on a full replacement of your roof and not just replacement of part of your roof. Insurance companies often tell you only part of your roof is damaged and can be repaired. But aesthetically it will look terrible and in certain circumstances, you have a right to insist that the full roof be replaced if it looks like a patchwork roof.
7. It is OK to disagree with the value the insurance company offers. The insurance company will pay you the amount they think the claim is worth even if you take a position that they are underpaying the claim.