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Is your roof really totaled?

by: Kirsten Land on August 16th, 2016 about Insurance

Roof DamageThis may seem obvious, but it’s hard to tell from an individual homeowner’s perspective: if a roofer’s just totaling every roof they see, that shows they don’t know what to look for. You may not know what a roofer’s success rate is, but it’s worth asking.

When a roofer determines that your roof is totaled, but your insurance agency disagrees, that burden falls on you as a homeowner.

This isn’t necessarily a dishonest or predatory thing. Some roofers may be trying to up their odds of replacing a total roof. Other roofers may legitimately not know whether or not a roof is totaled because they haven’t had enough training.

You want to make sure you’re using a trusted, knowledgeable roofer before making a call to your insurance carrier about a totaled roof. Brian spoke to an adjuster the other day who told him that one roofing company she works with often has a success rate of 50%. That means that half of the roofs this company says are totaled are determined by the insurance agencies as not totaled.

We don’t like to brag, but it’s worth mentioning that Brian’s rate of success is approximately 98%. He’s pursued the Haag Engineering Certificate and attends continuing education classes so that when he tells a client that their roof is totaled it really is totaled.

Why does this matter? In a word, insurance.

I recently spoke with Joan Curtis at Michelle Schaefer’s insurance agency about this issue. She told me that they always recommend clients have a roofer out before filing an insurance claim on their roof. If a client calls their insurance agency to send someone out, even just to look at the damage, that counts as filing a claim.

If there’s no roof damage, that is called a “zero pay claim,” which can still cost the client a surcharge of up to 20% at renewal time. Filing a high number of claims (even zero pay claims) may even make it more challenging for you to renew with your insurance agency at all.

If you do end up needing a new roof, you may be able to receive a large discount on your premiums when you supply your agent with a receipt paid in full. Depending on your insurance agency, re-roofing your house with an impact-resistant roof can yield an even bigger discount over the life of the roof.

The bottom line is to choose a roofer you trust. Talk to them before calling out an insurance adjuster, because you might save yourself the penalty of a zero pay claim. That way, even if you do need to file a claim, you’ll be more knowledgeable about what repairs or replacement you need.

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