The most common types of storms that we encounter are hail and wind storms.
Hailstones are frozen “stones” of water that form in clouds during thunderstorms.
Updrafts carry raindrops high into the atmosphere where they collide, merge, and freeze together. Raindrops turn into hail stones as they collect more water droplets.
Once hailstones become too heavy to be carried by updrafts, they fall from the sky as stones.
Many factors determine how much damage hail stones can cause.
They include density, speed, shape, as well as distance fallen and angle of impact.
Hailstones are a menace to asphalt shingles because it doesn’t take much to cause them damage.
A single half-inch hail stone can dislodge granules, which are the topmost layer of protection on a shingle and the part visible to you from the ground.
Hail between a half-inch and two inches will bruise, crack, or puncture the asphalt mat that makes up the main body of the shingle.
While this kind of damage is not visible from the ground in most circumstances, it does weaken the overall integrity of your roof and shortens its lifespan.
Wind storms are a close second when it comes to storm damage.
While hailstones fall vertically, wind blows horizontally.
Sustained horizontal force is what can cause damage to a roof.
The most common type of wind damage is lifting, creasing, tearing, or ripping of shingles.
Shingles are designed to be self-sealing. This means that the adhesive strip on the bottom of each shingle bonds to the top of the one below it.
This adhesive degrades and loses its stickiness over time, more quickly or slowly depending on the quality of the shingle as well as factors related to wind-blown dirt and debris.
High winds can lift up shingles that are no longer secured by this adhesive strip–think of a bed sheet being whipped up and draped down.
At this point, shingles can begin to pull through their fasteners. This means that they pull through the nailheads once holding them down. This is more common than you might think and it often goes unnoticed because shingles will fall into place after winds die down.
It’s important you know what to expect from all parties involved in insurance work like this.
That’s why we’re going to start by telling you how insurance adjusters conduct their inspections…because that’s the bar all contractors in our line of work need to clear.
After they ask you if there are any signs of water intrusion inside the home, they will take a front-left-back-right approach from the ground first.
They’ll look at the exterior for signs of damage. This includes windows, screens, downspouts, gutters, garage doors, decks, A/C units, fencing, playscapes, grills, etc.
Once on the roof, they’ll take a number count of all the accessories on the roof. This includes skylights as well as ventilation pipes, such as gas or moisture exhaust pipes. They’ll look at attic vents and chimneys too. What they’re doing is looking for the “story” your roof is telling as it relates to storm history. That history will be marked by traces of hail stones. The story told by the evidence on these accessories will give them an idea of what they may find when they look at the shingles.
Taking a front-left-back-right approach on the roof surface, they’ll mark off 4 “squares,” 1 on each of the 4 elevations.
A square is a 10’x10′ surface area.
They’ll examine the roofing material in these squares for damage caused by hail or wind, depending on the reason for the original call that opened the claim.
Each insurance carrier has a threshold count they like their field adjusters to meet in order to deem a roof totaled and in need of replacement. That threshold is approximately 8 hail hits for many carriers.
The adjuster will look for a threshold count in 3 of the 4 squares. 1 of the 3 often presents a lower count. The 4th commonly appears to be the “wayward” elevation, which would be due to the direction of a storm’s path.
Taken all together, they are looking for your roof’s story.
No. Many roofing contractors, including us, will offer you a free inspection.
We train our team to run their inspections the same way adjusters do.
We hear horror stories all the time about how contractors will skip the part where you get the consultation and documentation you need because all they’re interested in is the sale.
That’s why we not only train according to industry best practices, we aim to leave you with an educational experience unique to your roof’s condition.
In addition to running inspections according to a method built on industry best practice and standardized by K&L’s training and development, we have added photographic documentation to our process.
You will get a live link (URL) created for just you and your property.
It will allow you to transparently follow along with us from the first photos we take. Your webpage will refresh every few moments and give you direct, real-time access to our inspection photos, from the comfort of your favorite chair.
Whomever you choose to inspect your roof, you should expect transparent, honest, and educational consultation.
We’ll help you every step of the way. If we find that your roof’s story suggests it could pass an adjuster’s threshold, then opening a claim is the next step.
Sometimes, claims adjusters will ask if you or your contractor have photos to help them decide whether to make a choice from their desk or to send a field adjuster.
In either case, a representative will ask you a few questions in order to open your claim and to begin the process.
A desk and/or field adjuster will receive that information, contact you and schedule their first appointment.
The most common way forward is to have your contractor present with the adjuster to work together on your behalf for the best possible outcome.
The purpose of a policy is to get your property back to the condition it was in before it was totaled.
To get this done for you, we look for a full and proper scope of work because that is the only aspect of a claim that matters for you to be made whole again.
Your adjuster will write up an initial offer with a scope of work to settle the claim. The first offer you receive should reflect all current costs.
There’s an important term to know that defines and governs this whole process:
Indemnification: getting fairly and squarely compensated for your loss
According to former Texas Insurance Commissioner, Elton Bomer, “Indemnity is the basis and foundation of insurance coverage. The objective is that the insured should neither reap economic gain nor incur a loss if adequately insured.”
If you purchase sufficient coverage, you should be made whole, only coming out of pocket for your deductible to complete the scope of work on your claim.
How insurance pays out claims depends on the policy.
There are two types of coverage property owners have the option of buying.
The most common type of coverage is called Replacement Cost Value, also known as an RCV policy.
An RCV policy will calculate 100% of the current costs of materials and labor, and will calculate in costs associated with a contractor’s business operations.
If the current cost of replacing your roof is $20,000 (the RCV total amount), the math involved to pay that out will involve 3 numbers.
Insurance will pay out 2 of those numbers and the policyholder will pay the 3rd.
To kickstart the replacement of your hypothetical $20,000 roof, insurance will pay out 1 number upfront while you will pay the Deductible.
The 1st payment that insurance makes is called the Actual Cash Value, also known as the ACV.
The ACV and Deductible of an RCV policy will normally be furnished to your contractor at a point of time between material delivery and the day of installation.
After the job is completed, a contractor will invoice the insurance for the 3rd payment.
That 3rd payment is called the Depreciation.
Depreciation is released by insurance after they receive an invoice showing that the scope of work has been fulfilled.
The Depreciation, ACV and Deductible add up to total the RCV.
Depreciation + ACV + Deductible = RCV
The second and less common type of coverage is called Actual Cash Value, also known as an ACV-only policy.
ACV-only coverage is like RCV coverage except for one major factor.
Where RCV coverage will pay out an ACV payment upfront and a Depreciation payment after completion, ACV-only coverage will only pay out an ACV payment. It will not include Depreciation.
So, if it costs $20,000 to replace your roof, and, say, your deductible is $4,000, then the ACV payout will be just a portion of the remaining $16,000.
At this point, the property owner will be responsible for making up whatever the difference is, in addition to their deductible.
ACV + Deductible + Difference Paid By Policyholder = Cost of Roof Replacement
A supplement is one or more line items added to an original offer by insurance that is meant to complete a scope of work.
You may be wondering, wouldn’t insurance provide a full and complete scope of work with their estimate?
That’s a fair question. And in spite of that, insurance adjusters will offer to settle a claim based on a scope of work that falls short for one reason or another.
Why would it fall short of a full and proper scope of work?
Again, the reasons vary.
Just remember, the point is to indemnify you, to make you whole. The purpose of a policy is to provide a 1-to-1 replacement where the insured does not profit nor does the insurer save during the process of restoring a roof to pre-storm conditions.
Hence, all that matters is the scope of work.
Supplementing is part and parcel of the claims process. There is standard language on all claims paperwork that we’ve synthesized for you below. It reflects the common language that speaks to the supplementing process used in all insurance work, including the fact that the term itself isn’t mentioned. Here is a representative paragraph found on all insurance paperwork:
This estimate has been prepared using the most recent building materials and labor rates in your local area. Adjustments in market pricing and timing may impact the final cost of coverage. Should you or your contractor have questions, please contact us. If any additional damages are found or if your contractor’s scope and estimate are higher than ours, you should contact us prior to beginning work. We will work with you and your contractor to determine actual and necessary costs, and to confirm how these factors might change our estimate.
Supplementing matters because it accounts for line items that need to be added in order to complete a scope of work, ensuring a job is completed properly and fully.
This process accounts for missing materials, inadequate labor, and/or unaccounted damage. It also accounts for pricing issues when current and local rates don’t match insurance estimates.
First, our teams are continually trained on what constitutes a proper roof installation. This entails learning about materials and labor as well as unique design issues on various types of roofs.
So when we receive paperwork, we look it over as it relates to your specific roof and its requirements.
In addition, we have an insurance specialist in-house who also reviews insurance scopes. He communicates with carriers on all supplements.
Given the fact that multiple people across departments look at every project, there will be enough analysis to know if the scope of work is full and proper or in need of one or more line items.
And, to be transparent, you should know that the supplementing process can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. The factors involved differ from one claim to another and the time involved is determined by the unique circumstances of a claim.
This is tricky because the reason why any of us gets multiple estimates is to find the provider who meets us at the sweet spot between quality, service, and price.
But insurance work is not like other projects we pay for entirely out of pocket.
When insurance determines that your roof replacement has a Replacement Cost Value of $20,000, they are using data that reflects the current local market rate for your roof. There is no fluff in this cost.
If you get a bid from a contractor who says they’ll do it for $15,000, then you have to be cautious about how they’ll pull that off.
The contractor and/or labor will take a pay cut, which is poor business practice if they intend to stay around for the long haul. The contractor may use untrained or undertrained labor, which will pose risks for the installation. The contractor may substitute lesser quality materials and/or mismatch components from different manufacturers, voiding the possibility of warranty coverage.
The contractor may be unable to provide a product warranty or may not be incentivized to service the roof in the future if an issue arises from the workmanship of the installation.
There’s still a couple more ways a contractor could do a $20,000 job for $15,000.
They may be willing to invoice insurance for the full RCV, but then “eat” your deductible and “pay” you a “marketing fee” that matches your deductible.
Or they may be willing to invoice insurance for an inflated amount outside of the supplementing process in order to cover the difference.
In the end, this may save a property owner their deductible, but it will cost the contractor their reputation with insurance carriers, it will cost them revenue otherwise earned by their business operations, and it will cost them sleep because they will have to figure out how to make that up in the future while they tread water.
But that’s not the worst part.
Texas House Bill 2102 makes it a criminal offense for contractors to “pay, waive, absorb, provide a rebate or credit in connection with the sales of a service that offsets all or part of the amount paid by the insured as a deductible.”
Service that makes your life easier and workmanship that gives you peace of mind.
Working with a contractor who has expertise in working claims and servicing homeowners through the insurance process will make your life easier.
And working with a contractor who has been vetted by a leading manufacturer for the quality of their installations and their business practices will give you the assurance that you’re going to be protected.
There are dozens if not hundreds of roofers in Greater Austin. So what should you look for in a roofer?
Your roofer should meet industry standards for quality workmanship and professional service.
You’ll want to look for certification by one of the handfuls of the most trustworthy manufacturers in the industry: Owens Corning, Atlas, CertainTeed, and Malarkey regularly rank among the best.
The companies you consider should offer premium products in addition to entry-level and mid-market products, giving you a choice that fits your needs.
And, any roofer you do business with should have a client base that can attest to their work and service. While no contractor is perfect by any means, the satisfaction their clients take away should largely be positive.
If you’re shopping contractors, be on the lookout for those who provide a transparent, honest, and an exceptional educational experience.