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How to Handle Storm Damage to your Property

June 17, 2022
How to Handle Storm Damage to your Property

When mother nature strikes – it’s the property owner’s responsibility to select a contractor to complete storm damage roof repairs or replacement. It is important to find a reputable contractor who has experience with the insurance claims process. They will make sure your home or business is repaired properly with the highest quality materials. Professional roofing contractors are the most qualified to perform this work safely and effectively.

How to Handle Storm Damage to your Property

First – Finding A Contractor To Assess The Storm Damage

If you’ve had a positive experience with one in the past, call them or stop by their office. Let them know you are filing an insurance claim and also explain what sort of damage you have. They will want to do a comprehensive storm damage inspection. If you wish for your contractor to be available when the adjuster is coming to your property, let the insurance company know who you are working with. This will allow the adjuster and contractor to schedule a time that works for both parties. In the case of multiple storms in the local area, it might save time to have the roofing contractor come by first as they might be more available to get the process started.

If you don’t have a contractor in mind, start by asking your friends, family, or neighbors for good recommendations. You can also look on the internet and the Better Business Bureau for local roofing contractors in your area by doing a search and checking review sites. At this step, it’s important to choose a company that is well established and local to your area.

Be wary of out-of-state contractors or “storm chasers”. Some contractors travel the country looking for work after a large hail storm or natural disaster. Many of these companies are unqualified and will use pushy sales tactics to gain work. People become victims to such contractors who often perform poor installations, fail to complete the work, operate without proper credentials, leave town, or go out of business. It is best to find a local, qualified contractor to work with. Never work with any contractor that cannot provide proof of the following things:

Adequate Insurance

All contractors should have at least a Certificate of Insurance for Workers Compensation and Comprehensive Liability. You should ask to see the insurance certificate so you can verify that it is up to date and gather the information of the insurance company. Insurance premiums can be very expensive and can make up a significant cost of a project. Many contractors are operating without adequate insurance. If you hire a contractor who is not properly insured, you become the “General Contractor” and are then responsible for not only any damage to your home or building but may be liable if anyone gets hurt while working on your property. These forms of insurance also apply to any subcontractors that are working on your property for the prime contractor.

Permanent place of business

Reject any contractor who cannot provide the full name and address of their company. This information shows you they are established with a permanent place of business. You should also verify how long the contractor has been in business. You want a company that has been around for at least five years, and the more experience the better. Given the number of small businesses that fail, checking these two things will provide some confidence that the contractor will complete the work or will still be around if you need service work done in the future. If you want further verification that the contractor is established, you can always visit the company’s place of business to make sure the equipment, manpower, and resources are available to complete your project in a timely and professional manner. Any professional contractor should not have a problem showing you around their facilities.

Licenses and permits

Verify that your contractor has a valid contractor’s license for your city, county, and state and obtains all the necessary permits to work on your property.

Membership with a trade association

Contractors should be actively involved with at least one trade association. This allows them to keep up to date on new products and techniques. The NRCA is the main association that regulates the roofing industry. Any professional contractor who is licensed with the state and participating in continuing education through a trade association will gladly show you their credentials and certificates to provide you with the association’s contact information so you can check for yourself.

References

All professional contractors should be able to provide a customer reference list of satisfied recent and long-term customers. This is important to show satisfaction with the work performed and the quality of the products used in your local area.

Full workmanship and manufacturer warranties

Warranties are important, however, be skeptical of a contractor who tries to use an unbelievable warranty as a sales tool. A warranty is only as good as the contractor’s ability to stand behind it. Workmanship warranties cover services related to the installation of the products. Some contractors offer 10 or 15-year workmanship warranties but may have only been in business under their name for a year or two. Once they start having problems, they can assume a different name and start all over. It will not matter how long the workmanship warranty is for if the contractor does not intend on standing behind it, or if they are not around to perform the warranty work.

Sub-contractors

Will sub-contractors be on the job? It is common to have sub-contractors that do specialty trades like tear-offs, siding, roofing, and gutters for the prime contractor. For this reason, there are a lot of construction owners/operators with sales experience, but who have never installed the products. This puts them at the subcontractor’s mercy to do the installation properly. Are these sub-contractors properly trained and insured? If any of these individuals are not paid by the prime contractors, they may lien your property. Protect yourself by asking for any sub-contractor’s certificate of insurance (verify with the insurance carrier) and by asking for a lien release from them before making the final payment.

Manufacturer certifications

Manufacturer warranties are the long-term material warranties covered by the manufacturer in the case of a product defect. You want to make sure that the products are being installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If they are not installed to the manufacturer’s specifications, then the manufacturer’s warranty will be void. The best way to do this is by checking the contractor’s certificates of certification and training for the roof and other products you want to be installed. Professional contractors may be able to offer extensive warranties through the material manufacturer because, in most cases, they are trained by the manufacturer on how to properly install the products. Some of the major reasons for manufacturer warranties being void are due to:

  • Improper installation
  • Inadequate attic ventilation
  • Condensation of moisture
  • Improper nail placement
  • Natural disasters
  • Too many layers being applied to a roof

As you can see, having an experienced contractor who follows a “proper installation procedure” is vitally important.

Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company

If you don’t need an emergency repair or you’re not sure whether you have storm damage, you can contact a qualified contractor to do an initial storm damage inspection before contacting your insurance company. This will save you from having to file an unnecessary claim. Depending on the size of the storm, damage can often be difficult to notice. It may not look like the roof has been damaged to the untrained eye. However, even small-sized hail has been known to cause roof damage. Hail damage to a roof can weaken the material, which can shorten the life of your roof and cause leaks over time.

Once a claim has been filed, it’s important to take note of the claim number and when the adjuster will be coming to your property. Also document and take pictures of any other damages to personal belongings or interior damage. Make the adjuster aware of these items.

What is the Adjuster’s Role?

The role of the insurance company is to assess damages to your property that are related to the current claim filed and to pay for all repairs outlined in your policy. The adjuster will make these assessments on behalf of the insurance company and work with you during the claim. They will first do an inspection of your property and inform you of the damages found. The adjuster will then send you a copy of the estimate of repairs and the first payment (ACV payment). If applicable, you can contact your mortgage company to release the payment.

Once you have chosen a licensed contractor, they should do a comprehensive storm damage inspection of your property. If you are working with McKinnis Roofing and Sheet Metal in Omaha, Blair, Lincoln, and the surrounding areas we will assign a representative to help you with your insurance claim from beginning to end. Give us a call today at 402-513-6620 or fill out our online appointment form here.

****Currently scheduling appointments for Omaha, Blair, Lincoln, Beatrice, Seward, Woodbine, IA, and any other areas impacted by the recent storms in Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa.

TRUST THE EXPERTS AT MCKINNIS

If you are in need of roofing, windows, siding, or gutter work, give us a call today at 402-426-2644, visit our website at www.mckinnisinc.com or fill out our contact form. Our roofing and exterior experts are highly trained and always ready to help!

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