How does the insurance process work?
The Houston area is home to all types of weather. These extreme conditions range from hail to high winds and heavy rainstorms and all the way above 100 degree temperatures. If you are a Houstonian, you know to pack a jacket, a raincoat and to layer your clothing because our weather changes drastically. These severe conditions can cause damage to the exterior of your home, your roof of which is most susceptible due to it’s size and location. These events, particularly hailstorms, can cause long term damage that won’t show it’s effects or repercussions until long after the storm has passed. It is always a good idea to have your roof inspected periodically but especially after one of these events. You should reach out to a trained professional in the area, which we hope will be us, and request a thorough inspection. Here at Blue Ribbon Roofing we offer a free inspection and peace of mind. We will take picture of anything we may find and will advise you of your options. If you do have damage and decide to move forward with a claim, your Blue Ribbon Roofing representative will assist you in filing the claim with your insurance. Generally, once a claim is filed with the insurance carrier, they will contact the insured with a date and time for their adjustor to inspect the damage. The service we provide is to meet with the insurance adjustor on your behalf and advocate your interests during the roof inspection. We will help guide you through the remainder of the claim process and will be available to answer questions, explain procedures and re-explain anything that you may need clarification on.
How does the payment process work?
The normal process is for the insurance company to provide an estimate. That estimate is broken down into four main components: the RCV, ACV, deductible and depreciation. The RCV, or replacement cost value, is the total for the estimate (essentially, what your insurance company believes it will cost to cover the claim in it’s entirety). The ACV, or actual cost value, is how much the insurance company believes the claim items cost “as is” (they depreciate as time goes on so they do not retain the same value they did when they were brand new). This depreciation is the amount the insurance company will withhold until the project is complete and you show proof of the construction (so the items can be insured again at 100% their worth). That is also why it is important to make sure you carry an RCV policy rather than an ACV policy because on an ACV policy this depreciation amount IS NOT RECOVERABLE and is basically an out of pocket expense. *** Policy holders beware when agents try to rope you in with cheaper rates, there is almost always a catch and it normally comes at a MUCH GREATER COST to you in the end *** Back to the ACV, it is the RCV minus the depreciation amount. So your first check will equal the ACV minus your out of pocket expense of your deductible (just like at a doctor’s office visit, this is the portion you are responsible for). Then, like mentioned above, once the construction is complete your contractor should send your insurance company proof of replacement (for future insurability), a completion letter and an invoice confirming the work was completed for the amount they allowed and that the initial check and deductible have been paid out (some insurance companies will require proof of cleared checks and transactions). If you would like a more in-depth breakdown of how insurance claims look, please check out our insurance claims examples page here (clickable option here).
How much will the roof cost me if the insurance company approves it or my claim is approved?
Most policies are Replacement Cost Policies (RCV Policy) so the most common answer would be your deductible. If you have an Actual Cash Policy (ACV Policy), that would mean that any depreciation on your roof would be NON-RECOVERABLE. These policies are rare, but it would be a good idea to verify this information before moving forward with a claim because it can cause your out of pocket cost to increase exponentially (especially if your roof is old). ***If you would like help reviewing your policy or are unsure how to read your claim, just give us a call, we would love to help*** The only way it could end up costing you more than your deductible is if you decide you would like an upgrade to your current roof (because the insurance will only cover the replacement of the same grade material as currently installed).
I had someone offer to “waive” my deductible, what does that mean? And is that legal?
The deductible constitutes the homeowner’s financial responsibility in an insurance claim. Any discount offered by a contractor would result in a savings for the insurance company and not the homeowner. For instance, if the insurance company’s estimate is for $15,000 and it is depreciated by $5,000, that would make the ACV $10,000. If your deductible is $3,000, then the initial check from your insurance company would be $7,000 (the ACV of $10,000 minus your deductible of $3,000). If you found someone to do the construction for $14,500 instead of the $15,000 the insurance estimated, then you or your contractor would have to send a final invoice for that amount to your insurance company in order to get the depreciated funds released. So if you invoice the insurance company for the $14,500, they will only release $4,500 and you have essentially saved your insurance company $500 for finding someone to do it cheaper than they allowed. On the other hand, if your contractor invoices the insurance for the full $15,000 and you only pay $14,500, your contractor has just included you in committing insurance fraud. By falsely invoicing the insurance company that the entire deductible was paid or that their estimate was paid in full, you are now exposed to being found guilty of penalties ranging up to felonies with serious jail time. Regardless, I would be leery of doing business with any contractor willing to commit a crime in order to attain your business. If he or she is willing to do that, who knows what lengths they are willing to go to when it comes to the quality of your roof and being there down the road to warranty it.
Unfortunately the roofing industry is full of uninformed and unscrupulous contractors willing to go to any lengths to make a quick buck. These dishonest practices include the employment of subpar, untrained crews, the use of substandard material or the reuse of old damaged materials and defrauding the insurance company by “eating” or “waiving” a customer’s deductible.
The practice of “waiving” the deductible is all too common but that makes it no less criminal. Every homeowner needs to know that this act of insurance fraud is not a one sided affair however. If you enter into such an agreement with a contractor, you in turn are just al liable as they are for any convictions and penalties that arise from the fraud. Always contact your insurance company and know the laws before entering into any type of contract and unintentionally committing a crime.
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