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Five tips to become roof aware

by: Kirsten Land on July 18th, 2017 about General

Have you been thinking about switching your homeowners insurance policy to save some money? Before you switch, make sure you do a little homework. Otherwise, instead of saving money, you might end up costing yourself-a lot. Be roof aware before you shop around.

Here are five tips to help you be roof aware before switching insurance providers or policies.

1. Have a roofer check your roof for any damage.

One friend and many of her co-workers decided to switch together to a cheaper policy for home and car insurance. Enticed by the low price offered by an agent who visited their office, they switched on the spot.

Her new insurance company sent a roofer to her home to complete an Age and Condition Report on the roof. Unfortunately, she had hail damage, and her roof needed to be replaced. Because of that, she was uninsurable. Had she filed a claim on time with her previous insurance company or asked a roofer to look before she switched, she would have saved a lot of hassle.

2. Familiarize yourself with your current policy or sit down with your agent periodically to review it.

It sounds mundane, but just knowing the basics of your coverage can really help you, both when rate shopping and if you need to make a claim. Some people switch policies trying to save money only to discover the new policy doesn't cover the same things as their previous policy.

3. If your roof is five years old or older, have it inspected.

Find an experienced roofer that you trust (and one that's Haag Certified) to come inspect your roof. Being Haag Certified is an industry-recognized certification that indicates your roofer can effectively and efficiently inspect and assess damage. Also, if you notice that a lot of your neighbors are getting their roofs replaced, it's a good sign that you should have a roofer take a look at yours.

4. Know your time limit on filing an insurance claim for roof damage.

Many homeowners insurance policies have a time limit for filing a roof claim after storm damage occurs. Usually, it's two years. Back to our friend's story above... the hail damage discovered by the new insurance company was more than two years old, which left her on the hook for the cost of replacing the roof.

Many reputable roof companies will do a free or low-cost roof inspection. It's a good idea to have an annual inspection by a qualified roofer.

5. Can't remember the date of the storm that hit you? Ask a roofer.

Many roofers, like us, subscribe to a service that archives the dates and details of storms across the country. If you think you might have damage but can't remember the date, a roofer with this service is your best bet to pinpoint the date for you.

The moral of this story and the reason for these tips? Saving money doesn't always save you money. Remember to practice the principles of roof awareness so you don't get stuck with a big bill.

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This roofing mistake can cost you

by: Kirsten Land on July 4th, 2017 about General

After a hailstorm, the roofers come out looking for business. You'll see many knocking on doors and leaving flyers or offering to check the roof for potential damage. But beware-some roofers, whether they're scammers or simply inexperienced, can cause damage to your roof that your insurance company won't pay to repair.

The Case of the Fake Pictures

After a recent storm, one of our strategic partners allowed a roofer who knocked on his door to inspect his roof. The roofer came back down and said he found damage and had photos of the bad shingles. Then, he pressured the homeowner to call his insurance company immediately and file a claim.

Our partner refused and called us after the roofer left. We came out to inspect his roof and guess what? We didn't find any damage. The roofer had tried to scam the homeowner using fake photos.

The Damage Scam

Another scam that dishonest roofers might try is damaging your roof when they go up there. They'll use hammers or roofing axes to bang and scrape shingles so it looks like it was impacted by hail. Most insurance adjusters, however, can easily spot this. And even though you didn't know what the roofer was doing, you'll still be on the hook for repairs because insurance won't pay.

Inexperienced Feet

Scammers aren't the only roofers you need to be on guard against. Inexperienced roofers, even with good intentions, can cause damage to your roof by not walking on the shingles properly.

The Lesson

Whether accidental or intentional, insurance companies will not pay to repair a roof damaged in the ways outlined above. Even worse, if you file a claim and your adjuster determines that your roof is not covered, it is still filed as an unpaid claim. In other words, it's on your file and your rates may go up.

So, the moral of the story is simple: If you don't know the company that wants to get on your roof, don't let them up there before thoroughly checking them out. If you can't establish a level of trust that you feel comfortable with, just say no. Wait until you can find a roofer that you trust.

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