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Very helpful with the steps I needed to take and pointed me in the right direction to repair my home. I would recommend them to anyone that deals with problems like I had. Especially to single women like me who normally just get ripped off. These guys saved me a lot of money and havoc. Tampa Homeowner

Understanding Hail Damage Claims

Don't be victimized in the adjustment and repair replacement process resulting from hail damage. It just makes good sense to have a public adjuster handle your hail damage claim to make sure you are properly compensated for your hail property loss. Filing a property insurance claim and successfully recovering your financial loss from hail damage can be quite challenging given the many insurance policy coverage issues that arise and the discretionary nature of the insurance adjusting process. Don't depend on the insurance company to tell you what they want to pay you. Many adjusters and the insurance companies they work for may have different adjusting standards outlined in their respective claim department manuals. If a hailstorm is severe enough, visible damages should be obvious and undisputed by the field adjuster inspecting the damages and thus coverage of the loss should be confirmed early on in the process. This is the easy part. Unfortunately, we get calls from policyholders who are offered partial repairs of roof and siding rather than proper replacement.

With many hail claims, there will be other issues you will face such as the scope of damages and the dollar amount your insurance adjuster says you are going to get paid given the insurance policy terms and conditions. Often, the assigned insurance adjuster’s training, experience and knowledge of this type of adjustment process will play a very important part in how your claim is both valued and settled.

A common issue that arises is if you will be paid to replace the complete roof or if a patch job will be offered as a partial repair. The next question is if the insurance adjuster will apply depreciation to your roof and if so, is it fair and reasonable? While auguring over the scope of loss and price of the repair may seem like a good thing, (at least the insurance company acknowledges that you have a covered loss) there are many other cases where the insurance company will dispute that the damages were even caused by hail, claiming previous wear and tear. This is a common dodge that we see all over the country and this is where you may need the professional help of a public adjuster that will represent your best interests and be able to get technical with your insurers claims staff.

Remember, knowledge and information is power. Do you know the questions to ask as well as what you are entitled to in an insurance loss adjusting process from a hail event? If you have hail damage to a modified bitumen roof, a build up roof, sprayed polyurethane foam application, metal roof, cedar shake roof or any number of tile roofs, chances are you have recoverable damages as a result of a severe hail event in your community. Read our article on How Hail Damage Effects Different Roof Types. Your roof is one the most important building components of your property. You need to have the damages documented and the adjustment process completed professionally to get you properly indemnified for your loss. A fair and honest settlement to properly fix your roof damage and any other siding property damage is not only important to protect your biggest property investment but should also be in the best interest of your insurance company as well.

See our Frequently Asked Questions About Hail Damage to review some common questions and issues that come up in major hail events that we have been involved with over the years.

FAQs About Hail Damage

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I suspect the reason the adjusters are using different thicknesses in their scope for hail damage is based on price. My guess is that all other things being equal, the thicker the siding the higher the cost.

To my knowledge there is no rule that would allow an insurance company to put back a thin cheaper siding material than what was on the home before the hail loss. The bottom line is that the insurance company is required to put back the thickness of the material being replaced. You do not have to take what they say as the final word as adjusting is an art form. You can disagree with their position and if necessary look to see if you have an appraisal clause in your policy that can be used to settle disputes such as this.

This is a hotly debated issue in the claims community. If a roof claim is the only damage incurred, then an insurer may take the position you are not going to use a general contractor. Thus they will not pay the 10 and 10 profit and overhead. However, some companies will pay you the 10% overhead if you are supervising the roofer, under the theory that you will have cost and time in this project. Their position on the 10% profit is that you should not profit from your loss. The entire 10 and 10 is generally considered to be a carryover issue from past years, as most honest contractors we know tell us they cannot stay in business under these terms. Their real profit is built in the line-by-line estimates that carry a higher profit margin. Try to work this out with the adjuster if this comes up or call us. These issues may well be covered in court cases, which need to be taken into consideration given how the courts have look at the policy and terms in past years.
Sadly we have seen business owners as well as homeowner victimized by unscrupulous roofers and contractors. If the roof is not completed properly and a second loss occurs or if it fails a few years down the road, it is unlikely the insurance company will pay twice. It is our recommendation that you seek out a third party expert to be involved in specking the job to include materials as well as correct construction methods. For large jobs, we recommend you retain a consultant to make at least weekly inspections to monitor the work. We have seen many horror stories where roofs have failed or were put on improperly. As a result the insurance company refused to make a second payment. Many times the cost of an engineer to design and monitor the repair or replacement of the new installation can be recovered by the insurance company, so this issue needs to be discussed with your adjuster. If they refuse call us. Also remember there are many types and quality of roofing materials. Some roofs may have 30 year warranty while other may in fact be so sub-standard they may fail in as short as five years. Know what you are getting paid for by your insurance company and know what quality the roofer is putting back on your home or business. Get the warranty information and store it in a secure place for future reference if needed.
If there is even a slight possibility of damages you should report the claim in a timely manner within the first week or at your earliest opportunity given the conditions in your community. A late notice of a claim can allow your insurer to raise a defense to paying you on the grounds that the late notice has in some way prejudiced their rights to a timely investigation and may allow them to deny your claim for violation of a policy conditions. A common term to report an issue you are not sure about is to tell your agent or broker you are reporting this for “records purpose” only. Be sure to get a claim file number and follow it up with a written letter. If your notice was sent to the insurance company, they will assign a file number. So be sure and ask for this very important piece of information which all insurance companies will assign when you notify them.
Yes, this is direct physical damage and should be covered. Remember your insurance company is required to put you back in the position you were before the loss. There are many ways to deal with this type of damage and you should be paid for this type of loss.
Yes, you might have a covered claim given you had physical damage. One area of damage often overlooked is the damages or loss of your roof warranty if it was still in place at the time of the hail event.  If your roof had a warranty from the manufacturer, there is a good chance they have a provision in the warranty that states if the roof is damaged by an act of God, the warranty is void. If this is the case, your insurance company should cover your loss of warranty, which can be argued in a number of ways. Remember you must first have direct physical loss from hail to be successful with a loss of warranty claim. If you have questions on this approach, call Tutwiler and Associates.  We have had many success stories on this issue over the years helping our clients with their roof warranty claims.
This is a very good question and one every property owner (especially those with flats roofs) should be concerned about. We use experts to determine water damage under the roof covering which can be done with moisture meters. In addition, there are inferred moisture surveys that can be done. Our firm treats every roof as a separate matter and based on the facts, we determine what resources need to be harnessed in order to properly perform a thorough analysis of the damage.  A little money spent on the front-end can save you a lot of expense later. I have often utilized the services of Roof Leak Detection Company Inc. for my clients. Mr. Steve Thomas the principal has made a difference in many large commercial claims we have been involved with based on his working with us to get new roofs rather than patch jobs. In a few cases his firms expertise has turned the denial of a claim around. Steve knows his stuff and working together, we have an exceptional team to address the many claim issues our clients have faced over the years.
It depends on the policy and the law in the state where the loss occurred. Most property policies have provisions to pay only the actual cash value (ACV) of the loss until the work is complete. Generally they will deprecate a total loss but some may pay the full amount of the loss in a catastrophic (Cat) claims environment just to close the file. If a repair or patch job if acceptable to you, the insurance company should never deprecate this cost. To determine deprecation, most insurance companies take the cost of the new roof and apply a deprecation percent based on a life expectancy of a roof in the area where the loss occurred. The range can be from as little as 10% to greater than 50%. Remember each roof is different. Adjusting and determining deprecation is an art form. In some states you may be able to apply the "broad evidence rule" to determine a fair deprecation amount based on any number of things that can be used to determine a fair deprecation amount such as the usage, age, and condition etc. On the other hand a straight line linear deprecation method may be proposed by you insurance company which may not be favorable to you. If the “broad evidence rule” applies you may have other avenues available to argue a different deprecation calculation. The adjusters are taught to apply age over life expectancy to get a percentage amount to reduce your payment but this is just one tool. Call a professional public adjuster at Tutwiler and Associates if you have questions on this very important and sometimes confusing matter.
Notify you insurance company. You can ask their assistance in having a thorough inspection made by professionals. If they refuse call us. We will bring in a team of experts to do among other things wind-up lift tests. We have been successful using professional firms to document damages with results that claims have been turned around from a denial to a complete replacement of the roof. Remember, you have to know what to ask for as well as the process to be successful.
A roof should be thoroughly inspected by climbing onto the roof by someone who is trained and skilled in this type of loss. Adjusting101 for roof losses requires the inspection team to get up on the roof. Since this can be a hazardous undertaking, proper skills and equipment are needed. Ideally the roofs should inspected by professionals who have the necessary training, experience and understand the issues involved in this type of loss.  Hail damage to a roof can be clear in some cases, but in many cases a close inspection is required to determine the full extent of the damages. Most insurance adjusters are not roofers or professional forensic experts in roof matters. If your loss is disputed by your insurance company, seek professional help. Call professional licensed public adjusters who are experienced in this type of loss and can manage your claim to determine what resources are needed to get you fairly paid for your covered loss.
This issue can be a tough argument. Roofs need to be closely inspected to determine the loss of life expectancy given the amount of granules that have been lost. As with the warranty issue discussed above, you should consider getting expert help with your claim. Not only are granules lost but also the material they are affixed to may be comprised due to the pounding from the hailstones. A close inspection is necessary to determine your damages with experts who are on your side. A significant loss of roof granules will most certainly shorten the life of your roof.
This is a common approach to a roof loss where the damages do not seem to be total to the untrained eye of the person making the inspection. We suggest you ask the adjuster to provide the roofer name that they consulted with to get an agreed scope and price for the patchwork being proposed. You should then demand that they provide a warranty for the work they are proposing, in writing. We have found that few roofers will ever guarantee a patch job to a roof. If the roofer will not guarantee the work, then ask the insurance company to provide it and failing that, ask for a new roof. If the work will not be guaranteed in writing then you have not been made whole for your covered loss!

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Local Office

Charles R. Tutwiler & Associates Inc.
Licensed Public Insurance Adjusters & Loss Consultants
Offices: Tampa, Orlando, Hollywood, Palm City, Florida; Dallas, TX; Pittsburgh, PA

Executive Office
4300 W. Cypress St.
Suite 780
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: 813.287.8090
Toll Free: 800.321.4488

Licensed in Florida # W840088 &
Texas #1399706 plus 16 other states
and the Virgin Islands