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Surface Tension

Storm Damage and Selecting a Contractor

37 posts in this topic

With the recent storms rolling though, Roofer thought it be good to give a little tutorial on Storm Damage. Namely recognizing and or avoiding a rip off. I guess the best way to do that is to go through the process of, determining if you have damage(its not always obvious), starting a claim, gathering bids, and selecting a contractor.

We'll talk of Wind, Hail, and Water damage.

If someone knocks on your door and says, "I'm in the neighborhood and see you have a few loose shingles" or "I was at your neighbors house to give them a bid to fix their roof", or "I see there was a heck of a storm here last night, and you night have some damage", be skeptical. Don't allow them on your roof or to look at your siding, not yet. Get their personal information, company name and address and say you'll get back to them. Now this could be a respectable contractor in your area or they could be there to take you money and not return. Either case your not going to decide anything at that time and don't allow them to determine if you have any damage.

If you know or if you suspect you might have some damage, call your insurance company. They should be the first on the ones on the scene, not anyone else. They'll be the ones paying for the repair if there is any damage. They'll determine what will be fixed and to what extent.

There are a couple circumstances where you might have a contractor before an insurance adjuster like say, a tree fell on your house or the wind blew enough singles off that you need a temporary fix right now but you should have at least called your insurance company.

Lets say you have obvious damage, the insurance guy was out and you dispute his findings. Let me first say that in my personal experience and experience in the business, settlements have been more then fair. Anyway by then you should have been in contact with 3 contractors. You choose these contractors from either previous experience, a recommendation from a friend, or you went through the phone book and asked questions, got references, looked them up in the BBB, and perhaps visited one or more of their job sites. You ask the adjuster the come back out with one of those contractors.

So you have your bids. Opps, screeching halt. Are the specs and materials used in those bids all the same? If not your comparing apples to oranges. Chances are your roofing contractors use and or prefer one brand shingle over another.

It could also be a matter that the supplier they prefer and or use carry a certain brand. Thats fine but when comparing the bids factor that in. The price will be there. So will start and finish dates.

You might see an allowance for replacing rot. Normally anything above one sq. you'll pay time and materials. Get that price nailed down with your contractor. You don't want him roofing over questionable sheeting or rotten boards, if he knows he'll get paid to replace the questionably stuff he'll be more apt to do so.

Other questions during your conversation with a roofing contractor are, do your employees carry a hammer when using a roofing nailer? Believe not every nail coming out of that nailer will be set, tell you contractor you want then to take the time and ensure all nails are set. After a tear off there'll be nails that are popped. With plywood it isn't that common but with pine boards there will be. To nail those loose nails back down isn't good enough. Tell your contractor you want those loose boards nailed back down with new nails. These details will mean a roof that'll last. Also in that contract will be a guaranty on his work, ask for it. Lastly you'll want to protect yourself with a Lean Waiver. If your contractor stiffs the supplier, that supplier can come after you. You get that signed before the final payment.

About the guy that knocked on your door. If you checked him out and he was legit get a bid from him too. If he didn't check out, call the Attorney General and report him.

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Great info ST!!!

A few years ago we had a pretty bad hail storm. Afterwards I went up on my roof to look for damage. I didn't see anything but I thought what the heck, call the insurance company anyway.

The insurance inspector came out, spent about 1/2 hour on my roof, and told me to replace everything. This is after I looked and didn't see anything obvious.

It made me realize it never hurts to have an "Expert" look the situation over. I'm not an expert at roofs.

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Thanks Surface Tension for making a great post! I saw on the news last night, a bunch of people already out covering roofs with tarps. Hopefully they were legal contractors.

After seeing much of the work in the last 10 years or so by so-called contractors, I just feel for the average homeowner paying out their insurance money to hacks. Sorry to be so blunt.

Legally now, every estimate is supposed to be signed by the Contractor and homeowner. Don't be afraid of this, but also know what you are signing. Get someone you trust to do the work. Some may have a great salesman, but who will actually be doing the work on your biggest asset???

There will be plenty of contractors out there, being work is slow for most. Just be careful.

I will be using Xactimate software for our estimates. This way the Contractor, homeowner, and insurance company are on the same page so to speak. I know another member here has already been using it with great results and happy customers. This makes it fair to everyone.....

I'll be here along with others to answer questions as a FM community member and not a salesman. I just want to see people being treated fairly.

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Great posts from all. I also use Xactimate for my bids and I love it. One thing that wasn't mentioned is make sure you contractor is licensed and insured. There are many people that have gone solo after the construction crunch with little experience and unless you ask for this info they will not volunteer that they are not licensed or insured.Also these people are the most risk of running off with your money and not completing the job.Also be weary of contractors requesting full payment before they start the job. Anything for a down payment over 1/2 of the cost should throw up flags.

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Wow! There was some big hail down there! If people select contractors correctly, this should help the area's economy quite a bit.

Many calls already of people getting excited. There is no problem with waiting. We have gone around to several homes and fixed leaks caused by broken vents, etc..... As long as there is no emergency, homeowners have a year to get things fixed and can even file for extensions.

One thing I will add for roofing......It is best to get it done in cooler weather or even winter. Does NOT hurt the roof or shingles, no matter what the storm chasers tell you. They will do much more damage in the hot summer days and actually decrease the life of shingles.

I agree with [YouNeedAuthorization] on the down payment. I wouldn't give anyone anything yet. It will take a few weeks to get agents and adjusters out to handle claims.

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Thanks for the advice guys. Over the last 2 weeks, there has been an out-of-area roofing company knocking on every door in our town offering free estimates. Their salesmen openly state that they watched the weather channel and that hail was reported in our area on May 2. I remember the hail and it was not much, certainly not enough to cause damage. (I did carpentry work for a couple summers in my college years). Their claim is that you sign up with them and they handle all dealings with your insurance company, all you will have to pay them is your deductible; they agree to do the work for what the insurance comapny will pay out on the job. Adjusters have been out from at least 4 different insurance companies and the insurance companies are not paying anything. It's not often you say this, but for once I agree on not paying the claim. They show you pictures of a couple other houses in town with damage, but it is minimal. They then of course are blaming your insurance company, making all the local agents look bad. All they are really doing is raising the cost of insurance. Buyer beware.

They have a fancy folder and slick salesmen who can't understand why you don't want a free roof for the price of your deductible. I would imagine that with the recent storms with real damage, they will again be chasing the elusive tornado.

DD

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What is the going rate per squre for a re-roof? Had some storm chasers stop by and couldn't believe the price they quoted me. Two story house and 30 year Timberline shingles.

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Doesn't really matter what they quoted you. Your insurance will pay what it costs, within reason.

I have some paperwork in front of me of a house that is about 28 square. Some two stories, but only 3 tab shingles.....to make it short, they are close to $300.

This all depends on what is on your roof. Everything is itemized.

We used to go strictly by the square price, but insurance companies want itemized bills.

quotes from adjuster's papers

"replacement should be completed within 2 years of date of loss"

"If you cannot have repairs completed for replacement cost estimated, please contact us before beginning repairs"

"Any person who submits an application or files a claim with intent to defraud or helps commit a fraud against an insurer is guilty of a crime"

"if you select a contractor whose estimate is the same or lower than our estimate, based on the same scope of damages, we will pay based upon their estimate. If higher, contact claim rep"

In this specific claim, I found $1500 in mistakes by the adjuster. Always show your preferred contractor what is being paid for to be replaced. This way, you won't have to hire a fly-by-night contractor for pennies on the dollar to meet your quote.

First thing to do is wait for the insurance adjusters. Do NOT sign anything that looks like a contract!

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Just a little story.......We bid a job for a guy who had storm damage last year. He waited for us and still is. His adjuster gave him a claim of $5400. The price was VERY low. He missed half the house because he was in such a rush during the storms last year. We met with another adjuster this spring....discovered the guy had hail damage on his siding also. Turns out the siding is discontinued. The claim went from $5400 to almost $48,000. Now he is getting new siding and a new roof on his house and detached garage. I think that was worth waiting for....

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I would just have Roofer do it, he sound like a stand up guy. I went through this a few years ago with the hail storm in Big Lake. Had all those "sharks" try and get me to sign contracts right away-i may not be the smartest-but i wasent that dumb! I did my research and found a well established company that had lots of refs. He met with the adjuster and took care of that c rap. Adjuster wanted to try and match the siding and only do one side and the front-no way they were matching the siding but what did i know. Got the whole house sided,new shingles. I did have a few problem non the less-they fired a guy and left him in my driveway(no speak-a-english) it started to pour when the were almost done and well they forgot to hook the wires up to the light on the porch oh and they dropped the dumpster behind my wifes suv on the day of her yearly review(garage was open so they knew it was there) we have a 3 stall garage so that one confused me. I was at the cabin when i had to call the main office and i think the whole lake knew i was very unhappy about that one. They made the driver come back and move it.

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He met with the adjuster and took care of that c rap. Adjuster wanted to try and match the siding and only do one side and the front-no way they were matching the siding but what did i know. Got the whole house sided,new shingles. I did have a few problem non the less-they fired a guy and left him in my driveway(no speak-a-english) it started to pour when the were almost done and well they forgot to hook the wires up to the light on the porch oh and they dropped the dumpster behind my wifes suv on the day of her yearly review(garage was open so they knew it was there) we have a 3 stall garage so that one confused me. I was at the cabin when i had to call the main office and i think the whole lake knew i was very unhappy about that one. They made the driver come back and move it.

So, you are saying, good salesman, that is ruining his rep with scab workers????? Sounds typical.

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I worked for a few months as a sales guy for a storm chaser company. Almost every single one of them are the biggest crooks out there, much worse than any used car salesmen i've ever met. Hence the reason I no longer work there. I quit my current job because a guy I met told me how much money he was making, and it sounded too good to pass up. Turns out you can barely scratch by unless you lie through you're teeth. Point is, be really, REALLY careful if you do decide to go w/ a door-to-door company. Almost all the salesmen are only out to get a buck, they could care less if your house fell apart 2 days after the work was completed.

Not to say that there aren't a few good men out there, just be careful

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Oh, and ask the salesman how long he's been with the company. If it's longer than 3 months chances are he's a crook.

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A few pictures of the hail damage. Sorry, the pics are a little big.

100_1132.jpg

100_1131.jpg

100_1130.jpg

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I am sorry to say, that even with an established well known outfit, you can get burned...about 5-7 years ago, Panelcraft went bankrupt leaving frustrated contractors and homeowners. My son-in-law got burned big time working for them because he wasn't experienced enough to get the sub-contract papers signed by the home owner...The home owners paid Panelcraft, only got some of the work or none of it done....You really have to be careful on both ends. I also helped him redo some roofs by the fly-by night outfits, and had to pull 8 penny nails out during tearoff, because the previous outfit ran out of roofing nails...

Just my $.02 worth.

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Oh yeah, the bidding companies.......

Panelcraft, ABC seamless, Glacier Roofing(local), they bid and sub out to the real working companies like us and try to bid high enough for a profit. All the big box stores are the same. Contract is with a company, but they don't actually touch the work. I believe Sears had a bunch of trouble this way also. The subs would go out of business and the warranty is gone. Not a good way to go IMO.

Another reason they do this, is because they can skimp by with hiring non-licensed contractors to work under them. That is not legal in the roofing industry, but it is not well enforced.

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What adjusters have told me is that the door knockers who sign people up get around $1,000-1,500. My brother in law used to sell roofs for a storm chasing outfit which are now out of business. After that he went back to selling used cars and now sells homes.

A number of the door to door people have little to no experiance in exterior trades. They tell you that your home has damage and sign here while they haven't even done an inspection of the exterior. They know a little about working with insurance companies. One adjuster told me one contractor sent out "kids" on every inspection with the adjuster. One adjuster said one contractor says shingle curling is caused by wind damage. These people have no other things to fall back on so to speak in the tough economy so they try there luck with insurance restoration.

A friend of mine interviewed with a huge storm chasing outfit and was told if the roof has one hail mark to tell the home owner there's hail damage and to call out an adjusters.

Rumor has it by this July the new MN law is requiring all subs to be licensed and to be incorportated. The law will be enforced by December though. Right now a sub only has to have insurance legally.

I met with a window guy yesterday and the home owner and him read the same article in a news paper local to Hugo stating a ton of people have been trying to get licensed in MN and a lot are being turned down. There are a lot of out of state companies trying to get in to do storm work.

Back in 05 and 06 I subbed from two of the five largest reputation based insurance restoration companies in MN. My cousin in law was an estimator for three of the five largest over the past 10 years. He didn't tell me much about how things work such as Xactimate for a couple years but finally he spilled the beans so to speak. The last company I subbed from never had people going to door to door and didn't have any yard signs. They got all there work from within the insurance industry to the tunes of $10 million plus per year. There motto was customer satisfaction meaning they didn't get paid until the customer was 100% satisfied and all inspections had passed. With a bankroll as large as they had they payed all materials and labor before getting one dollar in most cases. When I signed a contract with them in 05 it stated that if they didn't get paid for a project I would still get paid.

If I had a house fire or something major I know of three companies I would use no questions asked. One has been in business since 1918 if that says something! A friend of mine has a brother in law who is a cordinator for them.

Just a heads up on how the storm chasers work. They try to get top dollar from the insurance companies for repairs. Say on a steeper house they may get $400-450 per square. They sub the work to a crew that is here today and gone tommorrow for $55-75 a square hauled away. Materials are $80-90 per square, permits around $100 on average. It don't take a rocket scientist to realize why they are aggresive as they are.

"Smart" home owners go to the contractor for repairs rather than the contractor going to them. If every home owner hand picked there contractors you would see a lot less issues regarding storm damage in the industry. What I tell people to do is call your insurance agent and ask them who they would recommend.

Since the August 06 hail storm that hit the South Metro/Northfield I have been very busy. The only subbing I do is for small contractors who know quality and pay for it. For example, $X,XXX is my price to do the roof, not what would you pay me to do the roof? These contractors don't want there named tied to a problem so they pay it.

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I am currently trying to get quotes. The insurance rep has not been out yet. I live in Hugo and it seems like 99 % want me to sign an contract and I'm not doing it. I have to beg to get a quote! Weird.

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[Note from admin: Please read forum policy before posting again. Thank you.]

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Because of this I have used Service Magic. They seem to week out the bad companies. I have used them several times for most everything and have been very pleased with all of the contractors I ended up using. They are pre screeded and often can get references right off the site. I am in wyoming and had some damage. I have had 3 contractors all demanding me to sign a contract on the spot. The one I am going with was off of service Magic and told me. You have to sign nothing untill the work order is actually made. He said he wants me to use him because I want to not becuase of a piece of paper.

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I am currently trying to get quotes. The insurance rep has not been out yet. I live in Hugo and it seems like 99 % want me to sign an contract and I'm not doing it. I have to beg to get a quote! Weird.

How is the contractor or you supposed to know what is to be replaced without the adjuster there yet?

We don't do any jobs without seeing paperwork from the adjuster first. Then it is up to the homeowner what and how much they want to replace or fix.

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It is pretty easy too see what needs to be fixed. And not too hard to shoot a "ballpark price". That is where I take the extra step.

My last 3 jobs I have met the insurance adjuster on site and walked through the damage with him,last job he was early and was comming off the roof and said he couldnt find damage.I went up with him and pointed out the cracks in shingles from the wind blowing them up and also pointed out over 50 hail spots. he said I found enough damage to file it and ended up gettin close to 11k for the roof repair.

But yes contractors are busy right now and many do not want to put any time into it unless they have a signed contract its all about the $$$$$$.

That where customer service comes into the jobs.

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It is pretty easy too see what needs to be fixed. And not too hard to shoot a "ballpark price". That is where I take the extra step.

I'm sorry, I have disagree slightly. I'm sure you have taken siding down and found pieces broken that were not seen before. What about a roof that an adjuster misses 2 rows of I&W. How would you explain your bid, if the adjuster only pays for one row? What if you find something un-expected? What if you miss something that you have to charge for later?

Also, you have to see what they are covering. If you replace more than they are covering, then you are charging for un-needed work, right?

How would you know they are paying enough? It is easier to help the homeowner with the claim if you know the specifics of the claim. I see what you are saying, just giving my opinion.

If the damage was obvious, then adjuster's wouldn't have to be trained. There are guidleines they have to go by in order to give out claims. I don't see how bids help anyone because adjusters and ins. companies all have their own pricing.....all depending on the damage.

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BTW, I haven't seen one set of paperwork yet that was correct the first time.

For instance. The adjuster comes out and says, roof is damaged, the claim is $8,245. Your price comes in at 12K. The customer wonders why in the heck is this bid so high? Turns out the adjuster missed one slope and all of the I&W shield. How would the contractor explain that without seeing what the adjuster paid for?

I hope that makes sense.

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you are correct on a house with alot of damage ,but I believe he was wondering if it was a 100.00 job or 10k job.

Most ins companies give plenty to do the jobs last one I did they gave him a quote 366.00 per square. easy 6/12 gable...30 sq

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