Recently, in the Madison area, we had a hail storm. If you think you have hail damage, there are a few things you need to do… Lock the doors, pull the shades, and unplug the phone because they are coming for you!
Who are they, you ask? The Stormchasers… You know, the guys from out of state that do nothing but chase the storm damage. BEWARE — on a recent visit to a damaged neighborhood, there were no less than 10 people pounding on doors offering “to help”. The license plates on their cars ranged from Texas to North Carolina. Not a single one was local, though they will lead you to think they are.
If you believe you have hail damage, please, please:
- Do not let anyone climb on your roof. You have no idea if they carry insurance in the state of Wisconsin, and you could have a bigger problem if they fall off your roof.
- Do not sign ANYTHING. They are often looking to do an inspection so they ask you to sign a form. In the small print of the form it often states you must pay them a 30% charge if you don’t use them to address the damage.
- Do not believe them when they tell you that they will work with your insurance company to guarantee your whole roof gets replaced. It is simply not true. The only person that can determine if you have hail damage is the insurance adjustor from your insurance company, and every company’s definition of damage is different.
So what is the best strategy? Do nothing, that’s right, do nothing… until the dust settles and the chasers leave. You may ask why? I have worked in this industry in Wisconsin for many years, and I have never seen damage caused by Wisconsin hail to be catastrophic. When hail hits, it tends to remove granules from the shingles or may dent shingles. While it may be unsightly, it seldom causes immediate leaks. In fact. it simply promotes premature wear and deterioration that will occur over years. You have ONE YEAR from the date of the storm to file a claim. Do your research and find a local contractor… one that has references and a storefront.
Another benefit is that we work with local adjusters all the time. These adjusters like when a local contractor is involved because we can speak to and point out damaged areas. We also don’t have an emotional connection to the home; I have seen many homeowners “lose it” on an adjuster when they are not told what they want to hear. Let us help you with the hassle. This is just another way Sunset Ridge Exteriors offers you Peace of Mind, Every Time.
Once the adjuster has left, they will provide you with a detailed report on the areas of damage that they have noticed. It is important to review these documents with your contractor. There have been many times when items may not have been accounted for or were simply left out. It is the job of your contractor to sort that out and work with the insurance company and adjuster to make you whole again.
Now let’s get into reading your insurance report. Generally, all insurance policies written in the state of Wisconsin are replacement value policies. The insurance company will figure what that cost is minus the depreciation or decreased value based on age, and cut a check for the balance, or actual cash value. The important thing to remember is that the depreciation is recoverable when the work is complete. They will also make the payee of the check the homeowner and the bank as the primary lien holder. This means that you and your contractor will have to work with your bank to have the funds released for down payment and final payment. You will also have a deductible for your policy that you will have to pay out of pocket. Once your work is scheduled, and again when your work is completed, your contractor should let your bank and insurance company know the detailed scope of work and provide a lien waiver. Some banks and/or insurance companies may choose to do their own inspection upon job completion before providing a final payment.
A common question that is asked is: “Does all the work need to actually be done?” The short answer is usually yes. The insurance company will typically not pay you the recoverable cash value of repairs that are not done; they will also no longer cover additional damage in future storms to the same area.
I hope this information helps, as always, you can reach me at 608-838-2500.