When your roof suffers hail damage, finding the right contractor to take you through the insurance claims process can be tough.
Thankfully, Roofing Insights CEO Dmitry Lipinskiy is able to help homeowners select the right contractor for their next roofing project because, as a former roofing business owner, Lipinskiy has consulted thousands of homeowners on how to get new roofs through their insurance company.
“I want to give homeowners some tips on how to hire a contractor after hail damage so that they can repair or replace their roof, siding, gutters, and everything else that has been affected,” he says.
Keep reading as Lipinskiy shares his tips for how to hire a roofing contractor for hail damage insurance claims!
1. Document the damage
As a homeowner, it is important that you document the hail damage that has occurred on your home.
Doing so ensures that you will be protected in the event that your insurance company attempts to deny your claim.
“Document the damage by taking pictures. Go film and save any damage that you can see so that if the insurance company comes back and says they don’t have a record of hail in your area, you’ll be able to show them the damage,” advises Lipinskiy, who warns that because of the sheer number of claims, insurance companies do not always fulfill their responsibilities.
“Sometimes insurance companies cannot send an adjuster right away because they have a backlog, and weeks later it is easy for them to say that hail never happened in your area.”
Documenting the damage on your home helps assist roofing companies when they later negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
2. Be prepared for door knockers
After hailstorms, it is common for storm-chasing roofing companies to come into affected areas and relentlessly knock doors in order to procure roofing jobs.
While some companies do so effectively and take care of their customers, many times storm-chasing roofing companies do not prioritize customer service.
Worse, these types of roofing companies use high-pressure sales tactics in order to get homeowners to sign contracts.
“There are a lot of good people out there who will come to your home and try to help you, but when you have twenty people knocking on your door who are trying to build a sense of urgency, it can be overwhelming,” Lipinskiy says.
Just because it hailed in your local area does not mean your roof will collapse tomorrow.
Be patient in choosing the roofing contractor that is right for you.
“I want you to choose a contractor. Don’t let them choose you,” Lipinskiy says.
3. Google every company name
Part of being diligent when selecting a roofing contractor includes vetting their company website and reviews to ensure that they are not a hack contractor.
This again goes back to trust, and as a homeowner, if you don’t trust a roofing contractor, do not do business with them.
“Don’t sign anything on the spot if you don’t trust them,” Lipinskiy urges.
Then, once you’re ready to go with a certain roofing company, it never hurts to check their credentials online.
“All you have to do is Google the company’s name,” says Lipinskiy, who then adds a word of caution.
“I have seen many roofing contractors get jail time for collecting deposits and not doing any work.”
To steer clear of this happening to you, it is best practice to avoid companies with low ratings on Google reviews.
Anything less than a 4.0 rating should give homeowners pause.
“If you see reviews where people talk about giving a down payment and not getting any work done, it’s very likely the same thing will happen to you,” Lipinskiy says.
4. Signing contracts
Many homeowners don’t like signing roofing contracts without a guaranteed price, but in the insurance industry, signing contracts before a final price has been established is typical.
This is because once an insurance company is involved, the cost of a new roof goes up.
For comparison, the same thing happens when you visit the doctor because insurance companies always negotiate prices with hospitals.
That being said, if a roofing contractor cannot immediately give you a price, don’t automatically assume that they are trying to scam you.
“If you have done your research and you trust your contractor, don’t be skeptical if they cannot provide you a price,” says Lipinskiy.
Moreover, roofing contractors and insurance companies both use Xactimate for determining prices, but because of the nature of the insurance business, often roofing companies have to negotiate with insurance carriers to get the price that they deserve.
“95% of roofing companies use the same software that insurance companies use. Insurance companies aren’t going to pay contractors too much,” Lipinskiy shares.
“As a matter of fact, they will always try to short contractors. Even if your insurance company already wrote the estimate, it’s usually 30-40% less than it should be.”
Another key thing for homeowners to remember:
No matter how volatile the market for roofing shingles and supplies is, homeowners only have to pay their deductible in order to reap the benefits of their insurance policy.
5. Contractor platforms
Once hail has damaged roofs, it is common for homeowners to go online in search of a roofing contractor.
While there are reputable platforms online that connect homeowners and contractors, there are also shady platforms.
Lipinskiy advises homeowners to avoid websites like HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List.
“Those companies will take your information and sell it to 5-10 contractors,” he says.
Instead, homeowners would be wise to use platforms like Google Guaranteed or Directorii.
In fact, Directorii backs up each contractor on their platform with a $20,000 guarantee, which ensures that homeowners are protected from things like job abandonment, shoddy workmanship, and much more!
Regardless of which platform you choose, once again, homeowners should always be aware of a roofing company’s online reputation.
“Always go with a local contractor who has a higher ranking on Google,” Lipinskiy says, who also mentions that homeowners should check a roofing company’s social media pages as well.
“Just like employers stalk potential employees on social media, see what kind of content your potential contractor is posting.”
6. Don’t hire contractors forced on you
Lastly, always remember that as a homeowner, you should choose the roofing contractor that you want to work with.
Unfortunately, some insurance companies force homeowners to use one of their pre-approved roofing contractors.
In these instances, the roofing contractor is typically underpaid because they work for the insurance company.
This means that price often trumps quality because the insurance company is trying to save as much money as possible.
“Some insurance companies aren’t letting homeowners choose their preferred contractor, and that’s a problem. You should be able to choose your own contractor,” says Lipinskiy.
“Some insurance companies have created a program where they have certified contractors, and usually those contractors agree to work for a lot less money. In those cases, a lot of shady things are happening.”
If you have any questions regarding how to hire a roofing contractor for hail damage insurance claims, leave a comment below!
Also, if you’re looking for a local roofing contractor in your area who is backed up by a $20,000 guarantee, visit Directorii today!