HAIL SEASON IS UPON US!
It's that time of year again, storm season... and with it can come some pretty devastating storm damage and, in our area, the most common damage comes from the dreaded hailstorm and that can require an insurance claim. If/when the next hailstorm hits our area you will probably (or may have already) experience roofing contractors either calling or knocking on your door asking if they can replace your roof. We have two very important pieces of advice for you based on my insurance experience. Never hire someone that does not have a long-term local presence and NEVER sign an AOI, or post-loss assignment. If a roofing company or contractor asks you to sign one - DO NOT DO IT!
Once you sign the assignment, the contractor now owns all rights and duties to the claim. This has important continuing ramifications for you as a policyholder.
- There may be a time when the insurer and contractor disagree about payment for the claim. If they cannot reach an agreement on payment, the contractor may sue the insurer. The suit will be filed in your name against your insurer. The contractor does not need your permission to file this suit. You will not be notified of the suit nor will you have any active involvement in it. However, the suit may have an impact on your insurance rates and your insurability of you in the future. This has happened to hundreds of Nebraskans and Iowans in recent years.
- You may still be financially responsible to the contractor for the difference in the contractor’s price and the insurer’s payment. The contractor may file a lien against your property.
- You may be dissatisfied with how your insurer has handled your claim and wish to file suit against your insurer. You will no longer have the ability because that right now belongs to your contractor.
- You may be displeased or have a disagreement concerning the quality or scope of work with your contractor. If you wish to fire your contractor and hire a new contractor, the assignment is still valid. This means that your prior contractor still owns all rights, including payment, on your insurance claim.
YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SIGN A POST-LOSS ASSIGNMENT!!
So, how should a hail claim be handled?
Call a reputable insurance company, first. Is there enough damage to place a claim? We don't know until a licensed contractor can take a look. Call your insurance agent or licensed contractor first NOT your insurance company. A good agent is there to help guide you through the claims process. Why call us first? Because if you call a claim in directly in to your INSURANCE COMPANY the claim is locked in whether the damage is covered or not and whether the damage is above your deductible limit or not so it counts as a claim and putting in a needless claim is called a zero-dollar claim which can actually increase your premiums or worst case, if your claim frequency is too high, the carrier may actually cancel your coverage! Yikes! Play it safe and get a free estimate (or 3) from locally trusted contractors first. Most agents are connected with at least 3 local roofing contractors we can refer you to. We trust the companies we refer because we've worked with them for several years. We know which companies are legitimate, licensed and bonded, will shoot you straight, and always do what's right for the customer. And we know the ones who won't.
So this year, while we hope and pray for a beautiful warm spring full of rain showers and May flowers if/when the dreaded hail storms do hit your home don't worry, reputable insurance companies like NR Insurance are there to guide you through the process.
Connect with Shawn at NR Insurance