How the Insurance Claims Process Works

A knowledgeable and service-first insurance company can be an incredible asset when it comes to major home repair projects, such re-roofs and other roofing problems. Unfortunately, working with an insurance company on costly repairs can also be confusing, time-consuming and, at the end of the day, just plain frustrating.

The biggest problem for most homeowners? That they receive two separate checks from their insurance carrier for their roof replacement. The first one isn’t usually enough to cover the repair, which can be frustrating — especially when you need to get your roof fixed ASAP.

The solution? Read on to learn more about roofing claims and the process of working with an insurance company. Following these simple steps will help streamline and simplify your claims processes so you can drive the most value and, more importantly, get your roof fixed now.

Step 1: Notify the Insurance Company of Your Claim

Once you’ve had your roof inspected and confirmed it’s damaged, the first step is to call your insurance provider’s claims department and file a claim. At this point, you’ve already had your roof inspected and know 100% that there is a problem. It isn’t your insurance company’s responsibility to inspect roof damage – their job is to verify what you’re saying and start processing your claim.

To file a claim, either call your local agent and request help or call the insurance company directly. You’ll speak with a representative and answer questions about the type of damage and when it occurred. Afterwards, the representative will forward you to an adjuster. Be sure to give precise, accurate information — this isn’t the time for second-guessing or murky details.

Step 2: Schedule an Appointment with the Adjuster

The insurance carrier’s claims adjuster will contact you to schedule a time to inspect the damage. You don’t have to be there for the appointment, but if you’ve already chosen a roofing contractor, it’s a good idea to let them know when the inspection will take place. The contractor may want to be there for the inspection

Step 3: Getting the Estimate and Check

If the adjuster agrees that your roof is damaged and that the claim is warranted, he will prepare an estimate for the work required. You will likely receive an estimate letter in the mail after the inspection, but some adjusters have the ability to print it on the spot. Either way, your estimate will explain every item on the claim and may include elements beyond your roof, such as gutters, windows and paint. At this point, you should receive a check as well.

Step 4: Insurance Check #1

After inspecting the roof, the adjuster will determine how much it will cost to replace it. He will also establish a value of depreciation for the old roof considering its age and prior damage.

The first insurance check you receive will be for the total replacement cost determined by the adjuster, less the value of depreciation and less your deductible, in most cases. Don’t get upset when you see the total on the first check. Usually this ISN’T enough to cover a re-roof on its own.

Keep in mind, there are TWO common exceptions to this process.

  1. Insurance companies may only issue one check for small claims.

  2. If you hold an “Actual Cash Value” policy instead of a “Replacement Cost Value” policy, you’ll only receive the amount in the adjuster’s estimate. You will only receive one check and will be responsible for the rest of the re-roof cost. You should double check your policy before filing a claim.
Step 5: The Roofing Project

Your roofing company will start the project once you have the estimate letter and first check in hand. Most roofing contractors will arrange subcontractors, if needed, for aspects of the project he doesn’t handle, such as gutters and windows.

NOTE: If the contractor doesn’t arrange these parts of the project, you’ll have to find additional companies and they’ll also need to draw on that insurance check. Don’t let your contractor use it all if the total also needs to be applied to other companies for items on the estimate letter.

Step 6: Completion

After the work is finished, the contractor will send an invoice to the insurance carrier showing the work is complete and his total costs. The insurance company will release the value of depreciation — if it applies — and you’ll receive a second insurance check for that amount.

To learn more and to schedule a FREE estimate, contact Baker Roof & Gutter at (901) 574-7775. We can review any damage or potential insurance claims and help you move forward FAST.