Hurricane season is once again upon us, and before we know it, the storms of summer will arrive. It’s important to have your house prepared for inclement weather, but it’s just as important to have a plan in place should damage occur. Do you have a trusted roofing contractor who can not only repair any damage that might occur, but who also has experience working with insurance companies?
“There is such a thing as storm chasing contractors,” says Ed Heller, owner of Heller’s Building, which employs Montgomery County roofing and siding contractors. “In areas that have been hit hard by bad weather, these contractors descend on the area, offering their services almost immediately after the storm. While some of these may be reputable companies, it’s important that you choose a company you know you can trust and who has experience working through the logistics that go along with insurance company claims.”
Be wary of anyone who is going door to door immediately after a storm. While reputable building companies will be grateful for the work, they will very rarely knock on doors to seek it. Instead, they know the quality of their work and the trust they’ve built with their clients will send work their way.
“We know that the time immediately following a storm can be chaotic and even a bit traumatic if you’ve experienced severe damage to your home,” says Heller. “While we want to offer you help right away, we know that our reputation speaks for itself and when you are ready to seek quotes, we’ll be at the top of your list. We’ll work hard to get your house safe and secure for you, and ensure you get the most from your insurance company to help with the damages.”
Here are some things to look for when choosing a roofing or siding company.
- Look for out of state license plates. This can indicate that the contractor might only be in town to seek storm related business. Working with an out of state or out of town contractor can be difficult for you because warranties may not hold up and it can be difficult to track the contractor down in the future should you need their assistance.
- Always check the contractor’s licensing. There may be different regulations from state to state, so be sure your contractor is licensed locally and has current workman’s compensation and liability insurance. This will protect you should anything occur during the repair process. If the company doesn’t have workman’s comp insurance and a worker falls during the repair, you could be held responsible. Avoid another insurance claim by doing a little bit of research before hiring a company.
- Be sure the company has current roofing insurance. Insurance is expensive, so some companies may try to cut corners in order to avoid the expense.
- Check to make sure all the materials the contractor uses are paid for. There have been instances where a company comes into town, repairs houses, and then leaves without paying for the supplies they used, leaving the homeowner to not only pay their bill, but the bill with the supplier, as well.
- Be sure the company has experience working with insurance companies. Be wary of insurance company approved contractors, as they will have a financial incentive to save the insurance company money. Hire a company that has your best interest at heart and will help you get the maximum value for your claim.
- When in doubt, do your research. Check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the company is reputable.
It’s important to remember that many insurance companies set a time limit on filing insurance claims, so if you think you have damage, even if it seems small at first, hire a reputable contractor who can help you file a claim right away. Often, if you wait until there is water coming in through your ceiling, it might be too late to get the insurance to cover the costs of repair. When the insurance adjuster comes to assess your damage and approve your claim, it can help to have your contractor there. This way, the contractor can be sure the adjuster give your home a fair assessment.
When working with the contractor, be sure that their quote includes all work necessary to complete the project. Any changes to their initial bid should be submitted in writing and approved before they can expect payment on things outside the scope of the initial agreement.
Storms can be difficult enough to deal with – finding someone to help you repair your home doesn’t have to be. With contracts like those at Heller’s Building looking out for your best interest, you don’t have to worry about the quality of the work being done, or having to haggle with your insurance company to get the most out of your claim.
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