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What should you do when hail strikes?

by Suzie Boyd

When hail strikes, it can be devastating for homeowners. Many homeowners call our office in a panic after a hailstorm because their roof systems are damaged and they wonder whether they have adequate insurance coverage. We understand this concern and consider it our mission to help homeowners through the insurance claim process.

Shortly after a hailstorm, many people claiming to be roofing contractors will swarm your neighborhood. These high-pressure salespeople will try to intimidate you into buying a roof system using fear tactics—your roof is going to leak, the ceiling could cave in, etc. They may ask you to sign your insurance proceeds over to a roofing contractor before you even know the cost of your repairs. Do not give in to these tactics!

First, call your insurance agent. He or she will be able to tell you how to file a claim with your insurance company. It's important your agent is aware you are filing a claim so he or she can follow up on your claim as it moves through the system. If your roof is leaking, call a roofing contractor. Most professional roofing contractors specializing in residential roofing will provide temporary repairs to your home until they are able to fully repair the damage. If you do not know a roofing contractor, use the Find a Contractor link on www.everybodyneedsaroof.com, ask your insurance agent for a referral, or check online with the Better Business Bureau or your state roofing association. Not all roofing companies are created equal, so be sure to do your homework (Click here for tips for how to choose a professional roofing contractor). Family, friends, co-workers and neighbors also are good sources for contractor referrals. Never choose a contractor based solely on price or high-pressure sales tactics.

After your insurance company receives notice of your claim, it will assign an insurance adjuster to visit your home and inspect your roof system and other areas that may be damaged. After the adjuster's visit, you will receive a settlement sheet outlining your home's damage and what the insurance company will pay. These settlement sheets can be confusing! It is best to work with your roofing contractor to understand the settlement. Part of the contractor's role is to ensure your adjuster has included everything you will need to repair or replace your roof to meet building codes and homeowner association requirements and provide a roof system matching the value of the roof system you are replacing. You will be responsible for the additional cost of any upgrades to the roof system and for your deductible.

Professional roofing contractors will be busy after a hailstorm. If your roof is not leaking, you likely can wait until your chosen contractor is available. If your insurance company gives you a specific time during which your home should be reroofed, ask whether you can have an extension. Insurance companies are committed to their policyholders' satisfaction. In short, don't panic! Work with your agent, insurance adjuster and professional roofing contractor, and soon you will have a beautiful new roof!

Suzie Boyd is vice president of Academy Roofing Inc., Aurora, Colo.

Date : 12/9/2014