Cleaning up after Mother Nature

Throughout the years during Minnesota’s stormy season, severe thunderstorms/tornados have been strong enough to cause many homeowners major damage resulting in costly repairs. The storms rip through neighborhoods with their high winds knocking down power lines, uprooting trees, pelting down hail, and flooding walkways and lower levels.  Once the storms have passed, the signs of their destruction can prove to be devastating for some homeowners.   Depending on the severity of the storm, it may be necessary for you to repair or even replace significant parts of the home such as the roof due to damage from hail, lightning, or downed trees. Since the roof of the home protects your family and your belongings from all elements of nature, it is the most important part of the home.

Although you may have encountered the same storm as your neighbor, chances are you will not have the same type of damage. Some damage to the roof is obvious such as shingles being torn or stripped off as a result of exposure to brutal gusts of wind, or it becomes the resting place for a downed tree. However, more often than not roof damage is not easily detected. Damage can also occur when large hail pours down on the roof which causes inner damage (bruising) of the granule layers that eventually leave the shingles exposed to the rays of the sun. This will cause serious deterioration of the shingle at an increased rate and ultimately shorten the lifespan of the roof. If you have been through a severe storm and fear that you may have damages to your home, contact your agent. Prolonging the necessary repairs could cause greater damage to the roof and even affect the interior of the home and personal items. Not to mention, with some insurance companies the longer you wait to file a claim, the more likely your claim will be denied.

Roof Claim Process:

    • Initial Contact with Agent – After contacting your agent, you will be notified by the insurance claims department.  You will then be contacted by an adjuster who will assess the damage, take photos, and then provide your insurance company with a copy of the cost for repairs an estimate.
    • Search For a Contractor - You will need to search for a contractor to do the work, best to get more than one estimate. Make sure that you are looking for quality from a reputable company.
    • Hire a Contractor – After choosing the best estimate, you should research their business background before you hire the contractor. Ask for references from people you know, make sure they are licensed, and find out how long they have been in business
    • Inspect Repairs – Prior to signing off on the work, make sure the work is completed to your satisfaction and according to the contract.
    • Notify your Agent of Repair – when your claim has been settled, the claims department does not update your records. You could also be entitled to credits which could lower your premium.

Tips on Settlement:

  • If your home like many others has the mortgage secured by a bank, a settlement check may be made out to the insured and the bank. This assures the bank that proper repairs have been made to your home to return it to the normal condition to protect its value. You may want to notify your bank to find out how your contractor will be paid, and any other information you should know before the work is started.
  • When filing a claim on a home that has no mortgage, make sure to notify your agent of any change in Mortgagee that will speed up the process and avoid errors when your settlement check is issued.
  • If you decide to take the settlement check without considering repairing damages, and the same thing happens down the road, your claim for similar damages may be denied.