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Should I Call the Insurance Agent or Roofing Company First for Repair?


My roof is rather old, and with all of the rain, wind, etc it is getting pretty battered. We had a guy look at it about a year ago, and he said “Call me when it hails. Call me first, not your insurance agent.” But of course I’m sure my insurance agent would say the opposite. Any advice on this? And and while we are on the subject, adny good repair companies you can recommend?
Thanks!
K.

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N.

answers from Dallas on June 05, 2007

K.,

The advice you’ve received so far is right on. I wish I had known this before I made the mistake of calling my insurance company first, rather than a roofer to get an estimate, after a storm caused a leak in our roof several years ago.

The insurance company came out, gave us an estimate for repair, said they wouldn’t pay anything because it was just under our deductible amount and then informed us that if we ever make another claim on our roof, we have to provide proof that we had all the items on their list fixed or they would deduct the amount of their estimate from any additional damages in the future. Furthermore, when I tried to get quotes for cheaper home owner’s insurance when we turned that house into a rental house, all the insurance companies I contacted said that claim would be on our records for 5 years and that until then, it would be cheaper to stay with our current insurer.

The same thing happened with the house we were buying. The previous owner made a claim regarding water damage to the ceiling caused by the air conditioning unit in the attic, but again, the damage was less than the deductible so the insurance didn’t pay her anything for the repair. She didn’t make the repair and when we tried to get home owner’s insurance for the house when we bought it, her claim went against us because the claim stays with the house, not the person who owns the insurance policy. I couldn’t even just tell them “yeah, it’s been fixed.” The other insurance companies wanted to come out and inspect the property and take pictures of where the previous damage had been reported and they wanted proof of the repairs.

The whole process is messed up if you ask me. Definitely get estimates from reputable, insured roofers FIRST! And, if it were me, I would only make a claim if it’s signifcantly higher than my deductible ’cause you end up “paying” for it for the next 5 years if you ever have to make another claim, want to change your insurer or you need to sell the house.

Good luck!

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L.H.

answers from Dallas on November 01, 2007

K.,
I had this happen about 3 years ago. Someone came by and said we had damage so we called our insurance agent and they sent someone out to look and they couldn’t fine anything wrong, but you will still have a claim on your policy. That claim will not come off for 3 years.
I am in the same boat right now. My roof is old and needs to be replaced, but I can’t wait for it to hail and hope they say that is what made the damage.
I sent a post the same time you did asking for any referals.
I will ready your posts and you may want to read mine.
Hope we find someone.
L.

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S.C.

answers from Dallas on June 04, 2007

Check out the local businesses area on mamasource. Also, check with BBB.org. And get three quotes/estimates for the work (they should be free.) Make sure the company you use is insured for any damage (personal or to things) that may occur while they are at your home. Check for the warranty on their work and the roof materials.

Good luck.

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R.F.

answers from Dallas on June 04, 2007

K.,

You will want to verify first with a reputable roofer that your roof needs repair/replacing prior to reporting a claim with your insurance company. If you report the claim first to your insurance company then discover your roof does not need repair, the insurance company still has that claim and could (and often do) charge that to your insurance — which, in turn, increases your rate. Yes, even if you did not complete the claim. I have a wonderful agent that I trust completely and she often advises me against reporting a claim until I’m certain I need the coverage enforced.

If you do need to make a claim, you may need more than one estimate; so, it might be a good idea to contact a couple of reputable roofers before you file the claim.

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