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Things to know: Tips for dealing with your hail damaged roof

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/3/26 14:49:00 (7110 reads)

Open in new windowBy STEVE SOUTHWELL

Wednesday night’s hail storm hit my house in southern Lewisville. My roof appears to be toast. So for my own sake and for our readers, I spoke with some experts to get advice. Here is what they told me:

Is your roof damaged?
- Homeowners who are unsure about whether they received any damage should not call their insurance company’s claims line. Doing so causes a claim to be filed regardless of whether there is actual damage, and that could cause hassles later if you sell the home or try to find new insurance.

- Find a local reputable roofer to inspect your roof if you suspect it was damaged by hail.

- Just because neighbors are getting a new roof, that doesn’t necessarily mean your roof has the same damage. Houses in the same block or even next door to one another can get different levels of damage.

- Shingle granules on the ground near your house is not necessarily an indicator of damage.

- Before you get on a ladder, check around for other signs of damage, such as to window screens, air conditioner cooling fins, fences, gutters, and lawn ornaments. If those things are damaged, you may also have roof damage.

- You may be able to see damage on the metal parts of the roof such as turbines, caps, flashing, or vents.

- Hail damage to a roof is described as looking like a bruise. Indentations from hail are generally darker circular patterns where granules are knocked off the shingle.



Open in new windowFinding a roofer
- Call someone local and reputable.

- Many out-of-town firms come in after a hailstorm. If you have problems and need warranty service, they could be hard to contact. Stay away from hail chasers. “The main problem is that anybody [who is] out of work, becomes a roofer,” local roofer Keith Crowley said.

- In the City of Lewisville, contractors including roofers must be registered with the city. You can call the Building Inspection Division at 972-219-3470 to verify a contractor’s registration.

- Your insurance agent can help you find a reputable roofer. Be sure you’re talking to your agent, and not your insurance company’s claims line until you are ready to file a claim.

- If anyone rings your doorbell and tries to sell you a roof, tell them "no thanks."

- Ask around and get referrals from people you know who have had roof work done. Ask who they trust. You can even ask around on Facebook.

- Look for roofers who advertise in the local phone book. This establishes that they are local and not hail chasers.

- Do not sign any contracts just to have a roofer provide an estimate. - Be wary of fine print, since this could result in legally obligating you to use the company for your repairs.

- Look at how long a company has been in business, and ask for both references and proof that the contractor carries insurance.

Will your insurance cover it? What will they cover?
- That roofer usually knows what the insurance company adjusters will consider as enough damage to warrant replacement. The roofer will tell you whether it’s worth your time to file a claim.

- Take pictures to document any damage you find. They could come in handy to prove your loss.

- If you file a claim, the insurance company will send an adjuster to your house to look at the roof. If the adjuster says something other than what the roofer has told you, most roofers will meet with the adjuster and show them what they see.

- Adjusters look at a roof’s “squares” - 10-foot by 10-foot areas, and count how many indentations caused by hail. Five to seven indentations in each square might require a replacement.

- Farmers agent Curtis Haines said there are two types of coverage for roofs: Cash value, and replacement cost policies. Both policies are going to have deductibles, which are the homeowner’s portion of the cost to repair or replace. In most cases, this will be 1-2 percent of the value of the home.

- Under the actual cash value policy, your insurance company is going to take the value of your roof, minus depreciation, minus your deductible, and write you a check for the difference. An example of depreciation would be a 15 year-old roof with 20-year shingles. That roof would only be worth 25% of what a new roof would be.

- With replacement value coverage, you will get another check that will cover the remainder of the cost to repair or replace the roof.

- Insurance is only going to cover you for your loss, minus the deductible, which you are legally obligated to bear.

- From time to time, some contractors may promise to pay all or part of a homeowner’s deductible. Under state law, it is illegal for a contractor to offer this, and it is illegal for an insured to allow or accept it. A contractor that will break the law for you may not be the kind of trustworthy company that stands behind their work.

- If you do make a claim, and get a payment for your roof, then you should get it fixed. Failing to get it fixed could mean that future claims for damages on the same roof could be denied or offset. And a bad roof could cause further damage to the structure if water gets in.

What is the process? When should I get it repaired or replaced? What is it going to cost?
- If your roof currently has a leak due to the damage, then you have a duty to mitigate that damage by getting a tarp put over the damage as quickly as you can. Your insurance company may not cover damage that happens subsequent to the initial damage, if you fail to try to prevent it.

- If the roof is leaking, you should get it fixed quickly. If not, you may want to wait until after storm season.

- If they can afford it, homeowners in the area should upgrade to UL 2218 Class 4 impact resistant shingles. Insurers in Texas offer a discount for homeowners with that type of roof, and depending on your insurer, the discount could offset the extra cost.

- If your roof needs other work like installing new ridge vents or replacing decking, have the roofer do it at the same time to save money.

- Crowley said that a ballpark estimate on the cost to re-roof a one-story 2,000 square-foot house with a standard roof slope, using 20-year rated three-tab shingles would be in the range of $8,000, or about $180-190 per square. Prices for two-story houses and steeper roofs are higher.

- In the City of Lewisville, roof repairs and replacements require a permit, which can be obtained from the city’s Building Inspection Division on the second floor of city hall. Your contractor is required to fill out an application, and pay $0.035 per square foot of roof being replaced, or $25, whichever is greater. If the example above had a 2,200 square foot roof, that cost would be $77. Your contractor may charge an additional fee to handle the permit.

- Insist that your contractor strip off all layers of your old roof and dispose of it properly. In the City of Lewisville, they are allowed to leave one layer of old shingles in place, but Haines says it would be nearly impossible to get your new roof insured afterward, and future damages would result in the insurance company not paying for removal and disposal of the older layer.

- Your contractor will be required to haul off the old roofing material to an approved landfill or recycling center.

- Make sure your contractor can get your entire roof done in one day. The last thing you want is to have your roof stripped off, and a storm blow in before they can finish.

Our experts:
Curtis Haines is a Lewisville-based agent for Farmers Insurance. You can reach him by email at chaines@farmersagent.com or by phone at (972) 221-5676.

Zach Crain is a Lewisville-based project consultant for Dryline Roofing and Construction. He is a former adjuster for a major insurance carrier. You can reach him by email at zach@drylineroofing.com or by phone at 469-607-9846.

Keith Crowley is the owner of Lewisville-based Crowley Roofing. Keith has been doing roofs in Lewisville, Flower Mound, and Highland Village since 1973. You can reach him by email at kcroofn@verizon.net or by phone at 972-317-6701.

Cleve Joiner is the building official for the City of Lewisville. You can reach the Building Inspection Division at 972-219-3470, and you can email Cleve at gjoiner@cityoflewisville.com

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