The 4 Ways Roof Claims Get Underpaid by Insurance Companies

By:
Jairo | www.Roofs.ONE

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Property owners seeking to handle their roof claim alone, unfortunately, will be underpaid.

Today, we cover 4 ways your insurance underpays your roof claim:

  1. Insurance Company Overlooking Damage
  2. Insurance Adjuster/Inspector Measuring Incorrectly
  3. Miscalculating Waste Factor
  4. Unreasonable Repair Expectations

Insurance companies will underpay your roof claim 90% of the time when you, the homeowner or commercial property owner, fail to properly present the complete damage report. 

  1. Overlooking Damage

Owners handling the roof claim themselves are entrusting the fate of the roof claim entirely on the adjuster or estimator that is sent to your property to perform the inspection/damage assessment. The biggest percentage of your underpaid claim comes from this problem because; as Len Bordelon (inspector for Texas windstorm claims) said, “I’m only allowed to document visible damage”. 

TWIA Denies Claims Until Held Responsible

Property owners handling the claim on their own might show the inspector an elevated moisture reading to interior sheetrock and the adjuster/inspector will say they aren’t allowed to document the damage because it isn’t visible, even if the expensive moisture reading equipment is in front of their face.  Len and other inspectors are trained to say that visual confirmation of the damage would require destructive testing to access it, and therefore they will not accept it. 

Another way adjusters overlook water damage could be while you point to locations of your property the adjuster has not inspected (or ignored) and the insurance inspector will say that part of the property isn’t “easily accessible”, so they don’t document the damage located in that area. 

Adjuster Ignored Builder's Gap and Rotten Decking Until Held Accountable

At Roofs ONE, our duty is to present the damage to your insurance company on your behalf. Your risk of being underpaid decreases when we communicate with your carrier using the following outline:

  1. Facts
  2. Jurisdiction/Code
  3. Details 
  4. Remedy
  5. Summary
  6. Expectations  

We devote an entire department of the company to this highly specialized skill set because it requires a unique system of evidence gathering and organization to present in the proper format.

The inspector assessing your property for damage is the first step of your roof claim process. The claim is brought up from an unacceptable payout to a reasonable amount, so you can replace your roof to pre-damage condition, through a Supplement (or a series of supplements). 

The insurance company could initially deny some of your damage until the damage is properly presented proving the insurance company is responsible for the loss the storm caused. 

You could show the adjuster damage on your roof and it can still be overlooked because he might say you have to validate the date of loss. These are problems you can avoid with the right company by your side.


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2. Measuring Incorrectly: Last month, a client with a beach house asked us to give her an estimate to repair her roof. Her roof was damaged by a windstorm caused by Hurricane Nicholas that ravaged the area around her property.

We performed a detailed damage assessment and gave her the price to replace her roof. 

The insurance company had not paid enough to cover what we had estimated to replace her roof.

Repairs to the beach house were not possible due to the nature of the roof being a complete system without the ability to repair an area without causing collateral damage to surrounding roof components.

We heard back from her a month later asking us to do her roof, but she wanted us to lower our price to meet the lower amount paid out by her insurance carrier.  Once she shared the information the insurance company had provided her, we noticed the had underpaid her claim by 30%. The measurements were not correct and we proved it by providing the accurate 3d Aerial Measurements that are accurate to 3/8ths of an inch per pixel.

Auto Calculated Waste % of 3.8% is Unreasonable

3. TWIA - Texas Windstorm Insurance Association related claims are some of the worst to underpay roof claims by calculating unreasonable waste percentage factors. TWIA’s  line item for material waste percentage is labeled Auto Calculated Waste %, and for all of their claims they assign a 3.8%. This calculation is absurd because the least complex of roofs should calculate a minimum of 15%. 

Several factors contribute to the rule of a 15% minimum waste factor:

  1. Shingle bundles don’t always contain shingles that are in perfect condition. They might have been banged up, torn, or scratched during transportation. Reducing the usable number of bundles to install. 
  2.  Roofing projects are a construction site and unintended things happen that can damage material before it is installed. 
  3. Cornice strips, valleys, gable roofs, roofs with many small facets are but a few of the reasons waste percentages should be at least 15% for all jobs. 

Other insurance companies will approve 9%, forcing the homeowner to find shortcuts that will guarantee long term dissatisfaction. 

Insurance companies do not install roofs and they are not financially motivated to do the right thing. It takes a roofing company with experience in dealing with the insurance companies to help recover the money the property owner is entitled to under the policy the homeowner purchased and the insurance company agreed to cover.


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4. The fourth way insurance companies underpay claims is by denying the total roof replacement and expecting the homeowner to be satisfied with roof repairs. While some roof repairs are reasonable, it is unreasonable to expect a repair when the damage is in an area of the roof that will guarantee collateral damage when attempting to perform the repair. 

Wind damage that caused missing shingles throughout the field area of a facet is impossible to fix. There are 13 good shingles for every 1 damaged shingle that are threatened to be potentially damaged while performing a repair to a field shingle. 

1 Damaged Roof Shingle will Damage 13 Good Roof Shingles

Roof nails that have been fastened via nail guns were not intended to be removed and the tools needed to remove the nail-gun driven nails will damage the shingle when attempting to remove it. Even if you were to successfully remove the damaged shingle without causing harm to the surrounding 13 shingles, the good shingles now have holes. The underlayment has been compromised, as well. Reusing previously installed materials is not the proper way to install a roof. Shingle manufacturer standards are strict and any deviation will result in voiding the warranty. 

There is only one way to install a roof, and that is the proper way, according to code as well as manufacturer instructions. Any deviation from this is unacceptable, unreasonable, and the insurance companies are not in the habit of paying correctly unless they are held accountable. 

Trying to handle an insurance roof claim on your own will lead to being underpaid. Find the roofing contractor in your area with the highest quality standards that also has experience to present damage to the insurance company on your behalf.


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Comments

I have black stains on my roof. How can I get rid of them? My neighbors have them, too; now that I think about it

Hi Aristi, thank you for your question. Use oxygen bleach to clean your roof and please read the article we wrote because it explain with great detail how to do it correctly. We even gave tips on ladder placement. Better yet, let us do it. Contact us for exact pricing. (https://www.roofs.one/the-roof-report/how-to-remove-algae-stains-from-your-roof) Our roof cleaning service starts at $200 and goes up from there. Thank you

It's my understanding buying a class 4 shingle will lower my insurance premium, but will it lower my coverage?

Hi Bailey, thank you for the excellent question! The safe answer is "please check your coverage detailed in your policy". For the more thorough and deeper way to answer your question, I asked many colleagues and only one had a unique answer. Robert from Oklahoma City said one of his clients that bought class 4 shingles did receive a lower premium, but he lost the hail coverage. I was shocked to learn about this real world example about how this specific insurance company handled this upgrade. It could strictly be a case of correlation and not causation, but it's still interesting. Thank you for taking the time to ask your question.

One of your employees left a postcard on my door and I figured you could answer my question - What questions should i ask roofing companies before i hire them?

Hi Chad! thank you for your question. Several very important questions you need answered before hiring a roofing company are: - what is the square footage of my roof? - what waste % are you calculating for the complexity of my roof? - what brand/type of shingles are you offering me? - how much are you paying for the shingles from your supplier? - show me your certificate of insurance - show me your certificate of worker's comp insurance - show me where you have added me as an additional insured on your insurance policy - do you have a 3 day cancellation fee? if so, waive it. - how much will deck repairs be per sheet of plywood when decking is exposed and visible? - show me the list of materials necessary to install to keep the asphalt shingle warranty valid - what are the additional steps you are taking to protect my home from debris and nails being left behind? - provide me a full list of materials that are being installed on my roof. - what is warranty for labor? for how long? This list of questions is a great place to start. Most roofing companies don't want you to ask them because they are underinsured, overcharge for materials, cut corners by reusing your old roof parts, etc... I hope this helps!

A company is telling me I can get my roof for free from the insurance and they would cover the deductible if I hire them. Is this true? (I'm in Texas)

Please don't do that. The insurance deductible is a contractual agreement you have with your insurance company. In Texas, Texas Law House Bill 2102: It is illegal for contractors or roofers to offer to waive a deductible or promise a rebate for all or part of a deductible. Under the new law effective September 1, 2019; violators could get up to a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail. If a contractor offers to waive a deductible, report it to the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-621-0508. Do not commit insurance fraud by accepting unethical and illegal practices. Thank you for your question

This article will certainly help me make an informed decision.

Hi KD, glad we could help. We'll have a new feature on the website where you'll be able to get a Date of Loss for your insurance roof claim. Coming soon, FREE!

How long should it take for a company to give an estimate?

Hi Holly, responsiveness is a great way of showing a customer we care. We can do an informal estimate within a few hours and a formal estimate within 24 hours.

The last roofer gave me a two line estimate so I asked for more information. Haven't heard anything yet.

Hi Melinda, a detailed estimates should have detailed line items of the type of products including brand, quantity, color (if possible), with price. If you would like contact us and we can help you with a detailed quote. Thank you.

Great information. What city are you referring when you give the $350 to $450 average?

Hi Sally8100, thank you for your comment. This article is referring to Texas and Oklahoma City.

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How will I know how many layers of flat roof my house has before I commit to re-doing the roof? I don't want the roofers to discover a second or third layer and then the job exceeds budget

Hi Kasey, thank you for your excellent question. Pay the roofing company to perform the test on a small area of your flat roof before you start the project. Have the contingency in place that the price paid for the test includes the repair in the event you don't proceed with your new flat roof.

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