- Demystifying the Hail Damage replacement process
- Tips to assure your contractor is here to stay
- Protecting AZ Homeowners
Claims for Insurance Damage
It has been quite some time since our October 5th hailstorm. For those of you who are just finding hail damage, or who have not filed a claim with your homeowners insurance, you may want to check your policy for the terms and how long you have to file a claim. It may be as little as 30 days, or as long as 2 years. It can be from the time of the damage, or from the time you discovered the damage. Each company and policy differ.
Demystifying the Hail Damage replacement process
- You may have damage and not even know it. Often hail damage is not associated with a leak; therefore it goes undetected. Hail damage will prematurely age your roof, and in most cases immediately void your existing warranty. If you were in the hail zone (you see lots of roofing signs in your neighborhood) chances are you were affected by hail. In addition to your roof other significant, sometimes overlooked damage, may be your HVAC.
- Be patient and calm. Most home owners after a monsoon or hail storm are desperate to find a contractor. Being desperate leaves you open to being preyed upon by “drifter contractors” who claim to be local. With hail most damage does not pose an immediate threat of a leak. If it was not leaking before the hail, it is not likely to leak after. Take your time to find the right contractor.
- Be patient and calm (worth repeating). The magnitude of the storm impacted a large number of homes, all requiring roofing services at the same time. Any good contractor will have long waits for both estimates and long waits for roof replacement production. Please be patient, remember hail damage is not generally a threat of a leak. A good contractor- a well placed roof- is worth the wait.
- Get bids only from contractors you want to use. When you submit proposals to insurance adjusters from contractors that are “like kind” both in type of company as well as price, your insurance company is more likely to come to an agreement on price. Including a low bid proposal to your insurance company will set the bar low on what they are willing to pay; after all it saves the insurance company money. Avoid putting yourself in a position to have to negotiate price with the contractors that you actually desire to use to get them down to a price they can't afford to provide. Exercise your right to choose the type of contractor you would like to work on your home.
- Do not be enticed by cash today. Once your insurance company pays for a roof, the expectation is that you obtain a new roof. If you choose to forgo the re-roofing process- you may be liable for more damages plus the purchase of a new roof over time. Subsequent damage as a result of failing to correct the original deficiency will likely not be covered by insurance. Additionally if you choose to sell, transfer of property will not be able to occur unless the roof issues are remedied. Even on a foreclosed property- the roof would have to be covered by the bank and that expense falls outside of your foreclosed mortgage, and therefore the lender can seek restitution.
- Be wary of cash back offers. Be sure that cash back does not equal insurance fraud.
Tips to assure your contractor is here to stay
- Look for out-of-state tags on their trucks. This could indicate that the contractor is only in town for storm work and may not have systems in place to back up your warranty or remedy workmanship errors. Ask to view their driver's license.
- Be wary of claims of staying in town. Quiz an out-of-town contractor very carefully. Extract a promise of return for further mending even if the contractor leaves the state; get this in writing. In some cases it may mean warranty coverage by a roofing contractor that will remain in town. Make sure those arrangements are made in advance and in writing. Make sure the manufacturer will stand behind the warranty arrangements.
- Check to make sure that your contractor carries adequate insurance. Roofing is dangerous work. Ask for current certificates of workman's compensation and liability insurance. Make sure that these policies are named to the same licensed contractor. If the license does not match the insured, the policy may not be valid. This is for your protection. They must have both, as one covers property damage and one covers their workers from injuries if they fall from your roof. Drifter Roofing contractors usually use sub contractors to install the roofs, and a lot have crews that travel with them. In most states, the home owner or their insurance company will be liable if something happens; you don't want to risk your home.
- Do your own research. See when they set up shop. Check your local Yellow Pages; go back two or three years to find stability of business continuity. Check the BBB when they joined, as they often join the local BBB because when they come into town, they will be new members.
BBB Business Search
- Job References: No contractor is going to give you a list of bad references. The key is to get several references and to make sure that you get some of the references on projects that are 6 months to a year old. Out of state “Storm Chasers” will be easily identified when they cannot produce local references from over 6 months ago.
- Manufacturer Certifications: Quality roofing material manufacturers offer certifications. Most of these manufacturers such as GAF Materials Corp. (the oldest and largest roofing manufacturer) as well as others require specific training and also require meeting stringent qualifications to earn a certification. No manufacturer is going to hand out a certification to a “fly by night” contractor. Quality contractors with top-level certifications will also be able to offer upgraded warranties on your new roof system. Check the manufacturer websites to see if a contractor is listed as a quality craftsman.
- Project Management: Most “Storm Chasers” are nothing more than a fleet of salesmen with no field management personnel. It is nearly impossible to have a new roof installed correctly without proper supervision and management. Critical areas of the roof such as flashings, fasteners, sealants, ventilation and manufacturer specifications require the strict attention of the onsite project manager. Many contractors will tell you that they have project management. In most cases their manager is only stopping by the job site one or two times a day to check on material needs. You should expect a trained manager(Super/foreman) to be at your jobsite a minimum of 35% of the day to ensure your home is getting the attention it deserves.
- Prefer the local roofing specialists. In a storm situation, it is always best to buy from an established local roofing contractor as they will be around to service their work afterwards. Arizona has licensing requirements, you will be able to check these online. See when their license was issued.
ROC Contractor Search
- Allow yourself a good night’s sleep. Avoid buyer’s remorse- choose your contractor wisely.
Protecting AZ Homeowners
Lyons Roofing, as well as other locally owned and operated roofing contractors, have joined forces to provide a helpful resource for homeowners to better navigate the course of hiring a roofer, particularly in light of the recent rise of roofing scandals since the October hail storm.
Lyons Roofing is proud to be an active member, along with our fellow roofers, in this effort to protect our local community, and properties alike.