Dangerous storms, inferior construction and age can damage one of the most important aspects of your home: the roof. Roof damage isn't always a simple do-it-yourself repair where a few nails and boards can fix. There could be extensive damage that only a professional contractor can fix.
Getting A Roof Estimate
You'll need to get a roof estimate before any of the work is done. Most estimates will cover roofing materials and labor costs depending on how extensive the damage is. It's a smart idea to get at least three estimates from experienced contractors who specialize in roof repair and replacement. The estimates will allow you to file roofing insurance claims if the damage is covered by your homeowner's insurance.
Do your homework when looking for contractors to give you an estimate. Ask the tough questions and request referrals to ensure you are working with a reputable company. Some questions you should ask include:
Do you give out written contracts detailing payment instructions, total payment required, and any deposit amounts before the work begins?
Will you obtain all required permits?
Are you a bonded contractor?
Will you give me any manufacturer's warranties or guarantees?
What do you do with old roofing materials? Are there haul-away charges?
Most contractors will give you free estimates to acquire your business. Yet a "free estimate" shouldn't mean that you get inferior work. Never trust a contractor who gives you an estimate without actually going up on the roof to inspect the damage. Keep looking if you aren't satisfied with the estimates you receive or the contractor doesn't perform a thorough inspection while explaining to you what roofing problems you have.
Filing Roofing Insurance Claims
Your homeowner's insurance should cover most roof damage and repairs. The insurance company will request for at least three estimates from contractors, as the insurance company will take the lowest of the three estimates and pay this amount to you. This doesn't mean that you have to hire the contractor who gave you the lowest bid. It only means that the insurance company is seeking to save as much money as it can. So it will only accept the lowest amount.
What many people don't realize is that they will have to pay a roof deductible, much in the same way as they have a car deductible when in an accident. You will have to pay for the deductible amount as it is not covered by your insurance policy. Review your policy or contact your insurance company to obtain more information about the deductible.
You won't be given the full claim amount all at once. A portion is sent so the contractor can purchase materials and begin the work. This ensures that the contractor completes the project to receive the full payment. When the contractor finishes the repairs to the roof, they will send a final invoice to the insurance company to get the remainder of the money.
If roof repair costs exceed the quoted amount, you can file a supplemental claim. The supplemental claim is only to be used to cover the contractor's materials and labor costs that go beyond the given estimate. It should never be used to get money from the insurance company to line your own pockets.
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