Welcome to Ben’s Chronicles
Hello! I’m Ben from EINSURANCE. Trust me, I know there are plenty of things we’d both probably rather be doing than discussing insurance. But although insurance gets a bad rap, it does have its benefits; especially when you find the right coverage and carrier.
Unfortunately, throughout my life I have had a knack for being at the wrong place, at the right time. Given my gravitational pull toward bad luck, I wanted to share a few of my life experiences with you in hopes that my bad luck could benefit you. So, bear with me over the upcoming weeks, because I’ll be sharing little nuggets I’ve learned through navigating the insurance world. If my mishaps and theories don’t directly help answer any of your insurance related questions, I promise they’ll make you laugh, albeit at my expense…
If you would like me to discuss a specific topic, feel free to email me at [email protected].
Today our topic is:
Roofing Contractors and Homeowners Insurance
So you are a new homeowner and you had your home inspection as required by the lender. You were so excited about getting a new home that when the Inspector said he does not climb roofs and that he could tell from the ground how your roof was holding up with a pair of binoculars, you believed him!
Now we are two years later and you find a stain on the ceiling of your bedroom and your spouse/partner says they never saw that stain before. Your heart stops beating as you recall the binoculars and you plan a trip up into that hot attic.
Most people do not think about their Homeowners Insurance when they see a stain on the ceiling since homeowners insurance is basically for accidental type problems not gradual wear and tear. However, do not forget that you have homeowners insurance when you make your maiden voyage up to the netherworld of the attic, where you never know what you will find.
Roofs vary from asphalt tile, to steel planks, to slate, to rubber or ceramic tile. There are so many different shapes and sizes of roofs and materials that you can spend a lifetime just learning how to best protect your home and your roof from the elements. Unfortunately, most of us do not want to spend any real time on our roof, especially if you are like me and scared to death of heights! A roofer will tell you that he/she can spot a problem immediately while on your roof, but do not believe them!
More than once I have paid a roofer to fix a problem. The fix was made and indeed I still had the problem. In one case it was a small issue and an honest mistake, in the other situation the roofer spoke a good game, but I ended up spending $6,000 fixing something that was not broken. This is when you should call in your insurance company and pull out the certificates of insurance that you required of the contractors before he started.
Do Your Own Analysis
So we are back to you climbing into the attic and looking around. First start with a good ladder, DO NOT STAND ON A CHAIR AND PULL YOURSELF UP! There is no need to add a back injury (or worse, yes I know a bad story) to your leaking roof problems.
Keep in mind that the greatest number of leaks come in places where the roof is not a flat inclined surface. In the gutters, the crevasses, the peaks and valleys of the roof is where you will find the most problems. Flat roofs have their own set of issues depending on the climate.
The essentials for analyses are a flash light, your phone (with Camera), and probably a piece or two of wood planking for you to stand on as you wander around looking for water damage. DO NOT FORGET THE PLANKING, WE DO NOT WANT TO FALL TROUGH THE CEILING BETWEEN THE BEAMS.
Be sure to take pictures of the damaged area you find and take some of the whole area, so that you can place them in a frame of reference. The pictures help you get a quote from the roofer, but also serve to document a possible insurance claim if the leak was sudden or accidental, and also to document any damage that the roofer might do.
You would be surprised how many times you are able to assess the situation better than the roofer. In my case, I was not convinced that roofer knew where the leak was but he said he did. It did not make sense to me due to the way the damage was showing up. Needless to say it took the second more sophisticated roofer to ultimately fix the roof. Don’t let roofers talk you into more than you need or repairs that do not make sense.
Acts of God
The above discussion highlights the most common types of roof issues. If your home is hit by a tree in a storm, your neighbor hits it with his new bow and arrow, or your drone crashes into a dormer, just to name a few, you may have grounds for an insurance claim.
The most important thing to remember is to act quickly. Water damage can be the most frustrating and expensive of homeowner problems. Left unchecked, you provide the roofer with funding for the education of his/her kids. Once they get up on your roof to repair a small issue and they find the dreaded ROT or MOLD, you might as well just open your checkbook and cry. You are at their mercy, your roof is open, rain is coming, and the specialist brigade has your number.