GENERAL STORM DAMAGE FAQ’S
Q: I think my roof is damaged. What should I do?
A: Contact the NSDC and schedule a full property damage inspection with an experienced storm restoration contractor. There is no cost for the inspection or obligation to buy anything. Contractors in the NSDC directory are reputable contractors that specialize in storm damage repair and working with insurance claims to make sure you are fairly represented.
Q: What is the cost to have an NSDC Contractor inspect my property for damage?
A: NSDC Contractors provide free, no-obligation inspections and estimates.
Q: Can I get multiple bids or inspections?
A: Yes. It is always smart to get three estimates from reputable contractors with experience working with insurance claims and repairing storm damage.
Q: How much will it cost to get the damage fixed?
A: The cost to restore your property can vary greatly, depending on what damage has been done, the cost of materials and the cost of installation by a reputable contractor. If you are filing an insurance claim, never opt for the cheapest bid. Choose a reputable contractor that is committed to quality workmanship.
Q: What is the National Storm Damage Center?
A: The National Storm Damage Center is an independent organization that provides consumer education and resources to property owners. Our mission is to help property owners successfully navigate the complex insurance claims and damage restoration process.
Q: Can you help me find a reputable contractor to fix storm damage?
A: The National Storm Damage Center maintains a directory of highly rated contractors that specialize in storm damage repair and insurance claims.
Q: How many inspections or estimates should I get?
A: You should get at least three inspections or estimates from reputable contractors that specialize in repairing storm damage and working with insurance claims.
Q: How much does it cost to be connected with a NSDC Contractor?
A: Our service is 100% free to property owners, including residential, commercial, industrial and multi-family. We also provide free inspections for property management companies, realtors, landlords and other official building representatives.
Q: Why should I get my home inspected?
A: Peace of mind. If your home is damaged, you may have a limited time to file an insurance claim. It is always smart to schedule your repairs as soon as possible.
Q: Can NSDC Contractors help me deal with my insurance claim?
A: NSDC Contractors specialize in working through the complex insurance claims process to ensure you get the maximum value for your claim.
Q: Will my insurance premiums go up if I file a storm damage claim?
A: Typically, insurance companies cannot single out a homeowner for a rate increase based on an “Act of God” storm damage claim. However, your insurance company can raise rates for everyone in your area. So, if you don’t file a claim, your increase in premium will pay for everyone else’s repairs, except for yours.
Q: Is it okay to hire the cheapest contractor to fix my home?
A: If your insurance company is paying for your repairs, it may not be in your best interest to hire the cheapest contractor. The factors you’ll want to consider are quality, service, workmanship, materials and warranty.
Q: I’ve heard some contractors pay insurance deductibles? Is this true?
A: Many contractors offer homeowners cash bonuses for displaying a sign in your yard, or for referrals to other homeowners. Ask your contractor about the programs they offer.
Q: Can I trust door-to-door contractors?
A: Be wary of door-to-door contractors. If you decide to set up an inspection with a door-to-door company, do your research and make sure they are a credible company that is properly licensed, insured, and trained to install and service materials in your area.
Q: My contractor asked me to sign a contingency agreement? What’s this?
A: A contingency agreement typically includes two parts, an inspection agreement which gives the contractor permission to request an inspection from your insurance company, and a work-order agreement, which obligates you to use that contractor to perform your repairs, in the case damage is found. If you just want an estimate, only sign the inspection agreement.
Q: How long can I file an insurance claim after the storm hits?
A: The time you have to file an insurance claim varies by insurance company, but most insurance policies limit your time to file a claim, within 12-24 months of the storm. Contact your insurance agent, or a NSDC certified contractor to see how long you have to file a claim.
Q: Can I trust my insurance agent to represent my best interests?
A: No matter how much you like your insurance agent personally, remember, your insurance agent works for the insurance company, which is in business to make money. To ensure you receive a fair value for your claim, get estimates from at least three reputable contractors, not referred by your insurance company. Contractors referred by your insurance company may have a financial incentive to save the insurance company money, at your expense.
Q: My insurance company denied my claim. Is there anything I can do?
A: You can request three separate adjuster inspections and re-file a claim that has been denied. To increase your chances of approval make sure your contractor present during the inspection. Experienced storm restoration contractors can often help get your claim approved, even if it has been previously denied.
Q: My home was hit by hail and now several of my neighbors are getting their roofs replaced, should I have someone inspect my home?
A: Yes. If your neighbors have storm damage and are getting their roof repaired or replaced, chances are very good you have storm damage as well.
Q: How can I tell if I have hail damage?
A: Homeowners with hail damage may notice small dents on rain gutters or air conditioning units, missing or bent shingles, washout (granules accumulating in gutters or downspouts), moist areas on your ceiling indicating leaks, cracks or dents in windows or siding, shredded plants and flowers, leaves knocked off trees and dents in cars parked on the street. If your car has damage, or your neighbors are getting their roof replaced, chances are your property has sustained damage as well.
Q: What does a hail hit look like on an asphalt roof?
A: A hail hit on asphalt shingles looks like a dark spot, or bruise, where the roofing granules have been knocked away. In some cases you may find holes, cracking, or missing shingles on roofs that have been damaged by hail.
Q: My home was hit by hail, but I don’t see any damage. What should I do?
A: It can be difficult to identify signs of hail damage, and almost impossible to do so from ground level. Have a trained professional inspect your property and look for damage that can lead to leaks, flooding, structural damage and other serious issues.
Q: What are the risks of not fixing a hail damaged roof?
A: The most common problems associated with hail damage are leaking water and flooding. Over time, water that leaks through tiny holes in your roof caused by hail can cause serious issues including water damage, mold and structural damage, including roof collapse.
Q: My roof is damaged. Can I just fix it myself?
A: If your roof has been damaged by a storm and you are filing an insurance claim to pay for the repairs, there is no advantage to doing the work yourself. Hire a reputable contractor, with storm damage experience that is committed to quality workmanship.
Q: Can storm damage impact the resale value of my property?
A: Yes. If you plan to sell your home in the future, it is critical to address storm damage issues immediately. Many homeowners are shocked to learn they have costly storm damage to repair before they can sell, long after the time to file an insurance claim has expired.
Q: My home is fairly new. Won’t my homebuilder’s warranty cover the repairs?
A: No. Storm damage is almost always a named exclusion in manufacturers, homebuilders and contractors warranties, which are designed to cover issues with materials and workmanship, not storm damage, or other factors beyond control.
Q: My roof is leaking. What should I do?
A: You have two basic options. First, you can try to fix the problem by repairing or patching your roof. Or, you can completely replace your roof. If you are filing an insurance claim, you should contact a reputable insurance restoration contractor who can help you determine the best option for your situation.
Q: What does hail do to a roof?
A: On shingle roofs, hail causes damage to the tiny granules that protect your roof from the sun. As the asphalt underlayment is exposed, the corners start to curl up and become brittle. Hail damage can cause your roof to leak and on tile, slate, and shake single roofs, hail can cause cracking, breaking and accelerated shingle aging. The most common hail damage issues are:
1. Leaking, dripping and water stains in your house
2. Hail damage accelerates shingle aging and granule loss
3. Reduces the value of your home
4. Can cause mold and structural damage
5. Voids manufacturer warranty for materials
Q: How much damage does my roof need to require a full replacement?
A: Typically, if your roof has 10-16 verified hits per 100 square feet, your insurance company will declare your roof a total loss, and replace your roof.
Q: Do I need to get my roof replaced right away?
A: The devastating nature of hail damage is that you might not start experiencing problems, such as leaking, mold, or structural damage right away. But, because most insurance companies limit the time you can file a claim, it is important to get your roof inspected and fixed immediately, before your time to file a claim expires.
Q: Why would my insurance company pay to replace my roof?
A: The purpose of insurance is to protect your property against losses that affect value, functionality and safety. If your home has sustained damage, your insurance company will provide compensation to have your property repaired.