Most insurance claims have multiple trades involved in order to restore the home to pre-loss condition. As such, a general contractor can make the process much easier for the homeowner. A general contractor has a team of tradesman that they have developed relationships with over many years. By using a general contractor, a homeowner can save a lot of time and stress as they will not have the responsibility of finding or managing different crews to complete the work. If your project is simply a roof replacement, and you are fully educated on what goes into a full roof replacement, then a roofing contractor can by hired. There isn’t a downside nor added expense when hiring a general contractor to handle your insurance claim. It only helps to ensure all work is done correctly.
Nobody can cover a deductible on a home insurance claim except for the homeowner. Deductibles are first money out of any claim and all additional dollars are paid for by your insurance carrier, therefore, any savings to be had would be for the carrier. Insurance companies utilize a two-check system, which requires a final invoice in order to collect the second check. If your contractor is telling you that he will cover your deductible he must falsify the final invoice to the carrier.
When it comes to your roof all items should be replaced so that you have a full roofing system that will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Any short cuts will void warranties. If your claim has other items such as: gutters and windows, a full understanding of the insurance payment process is required. With the two-check system you can utilize the dollars associated with the first check for items you are not doing. This practice comes at a cost. The portion held back by your carrier is called depreciation and can only be collected once the work is completed and invoiced. Make sure your contractor is not invoicing for work not completed so you can avoid insurance fraud. Remember, you will be leaving money with your carrier if you choose not to replace an item (depreciation) and you will be responsible to replace that item before the next storm claim as they will not cover it twice. Pay now or pay double later. Reputable contractors offer deductible financing to help homeowners avoid the high cost of not replacing items.
Never give money upfront to a contractor. There are many reports of homeowners giving their first check to a roofing contractor before they begin work, only to have them disappear. Once materials are on the ground, and work has begun, it is safe to pay your contractor. If there are multiple trades involved with your project, a reputable contractor will not ask for 100% of the money until all work is completed.
Remember, you cannot save money on an insurance claim as you are responsible for your deductible and your deductible only. There is value in getting multiple bids, in that it will help you compare companies as each have a different approach/style. Feeling good about the person you will be working with is important. We advise finding a contractor that is attempting to add as much value to your claim as possible, this means that he will not try to come in at the lowest price, but rather is trying to increase the value of the claim by ensuring all items are included in the estimate and are priced properly. At Ridgecap Consulting we routinely increase the amount of our clients claims 30%-60% by re-scoping the project and catching items that were missed by the carrier. Since you are paying a deductible, be sure to get as much value out of your claim as possible.
A good roofing contractor will provide a full estimate using Xactimate™ software as used by the insurance industry. They should educate you on reading the estimate and understanding the insurance process. Any professional working on your home should provide you with a copy of their general liability insurance. Ask for their full service labor warranty, customer reviews and make sure they are a local company that will be around to service their warranty.