Ask A Contractor - Insurance Claims Featuring James DePoint
by Hoffman Weber Construction, on May 07, 2019
Q. How long have you been selling roofing, siding and window replacements related to insurance claims?
A. Been with Hoffman Weber for 15 years.
Q. Since joining Hoffman Weber, do you stay within Minnesota or sometimes travel to other states when there is a big weather event with storm damage?
A. I stay within the Minneapolis area, but go out to the broader areas of MN when the need arises.
Q. How is buying replacement roof, siding or windows different when there is an insurance claim?
A. It requires a lot more knowledge and experience on the contractor’s end, knowing what you can get from the insurance company and what you can’t. Many contractors simply don’t understand all the complexities of the process, so they settle for whatever the insurance company offers. For us, that’s just a starting point.
Q. From your experience, what’s the most common mistake homeowners make when they think they sustained storm damage and initiate a claim?
A. They meet with the insurance adjuster before contacting a reputable contractor to inspect and document what’s wrong. Or they sign with a contractor that doesn’t have extensive experience with working with insurance claims. They may be a great contractor and do great work, but if they don’t know the nuances of working with insurance companies, the homeowner isn’t going to get the most benefit of their claim.
Q. Some insurance adjusters are quick to offer settlements. That’s a good thing, right?
A. Not necessarily. If an adjuster misses damage or code-required details or specifies lower quality products, you might unwittingly agree to less than you really need and deserve.
Q. What is the most important advice you would give homeowners who live in regions, like Minnesota, Denver and Nebraska with severe weather and the potential for storm damage?
A. Make sure you understand your insurance policy and your deductible cost if you were to file a claim. Some people have no idea and then they file a claim and have a deductible $5,000 or higher.
Q. What factors, besides the amount and quality of materials specified go into pricing a roof replacement project?
A. Height and steepness of the roof. Number of valleys and roof segments. Condition of sheathing under existing roof. Nearness of dumpster. How many layers of roofing must be removed. Permit fees in your town. Project size.
Q. If I accept an insurance settlement, can I spend at least part of the money on something else?
A. No. We’ll need part of that check for the down payment. Besides, we don’t want anyone to get into a situation they can’t pay the final bill because the money has been spent on something else.
Q. What happens if you discover the damage is greater than expected after you remove the damaged roofing, siding or windows?
A. It happens. We will document the additional work and submit a supplemental claim to the insurance company.
Q. How do I know if I have enough insurance?
A. Contractors are not allowed to offer insurance advice. Contact your insurance agent and pose “what if” scenarios before disaster strikes. Specifically explore the difference between Replacement Cost Value vs. Actual Cash Value.
Q. If my 15-year-old roof sustains storm damage, can I expect my policy to cover the cost of a new roof minus my deductible?
A. Yes, if you carry Replacement Cost Value coverage.
Q. If only part of my roof or siding or some of my gutters and windows are damaged, will insurance cover partial or total replacement?
A. The new and old surfaces should reasonably match. If that is not possible, we will suggest total replacement.
Q. Can I supplement the insurance settlement to upgrade my exterior surfaces or am I required to install new materials of the same quality.
A. You absolutely can spend a little more to make it a lot better than before. Take advantage of the outside help to upgrade your home. Turn a negative into a positive.
Q. You probably have worked with every major insurance carrier over the years. Do you have a favorite?
A. Sorry, we are not allowed to endorse insurance carriers.
Q. Will you negotiate with the insurance adjuster on my behalf to get me the best deal?
A. We work directly with the insurance adjuster to make sure you are getting a fair settlement based on the damages. We work for you and do our best to represent you well.
Q. Will you cover my deductible If I agree to choose Hoffman Weber?
A. No. That would be illegal as of August 1, 2010.
Q. My neighborhood association has strict covenants on colors and materials. Can you provide samples for the approval process?
A. Not a problem
Q. It scares me to think about guys walking around on my high roof or working from tall ladders and scaffolding. How do we know we both will be safe?
A. Our crews are our most valuable assets. We provide safety training and enforce strict policies on use of personal fall arresting equipment, proper footwear, and eye protection. We also verify that everyone is properly insured and a legal resident.