Insurance FAQ

Storm Damage Insurance Claims

How can I tell if I have Storm Damage?

  • The short answer: You might not be able to! Obvious signs such as dented or scratched siding, pockmarked shingles are good signs, but after a storm a roof can be damaged even if you can see it from the ground. Therefore, if you’ve been in a severe storm weather center, have a shelter professional do a free 30 minute inspection. We will show you photographic evidence and help you schedule an appointment with your insurance company.

Can I do the work myself?

  • Most work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severely injure yourself by falling off or through the roof.

How much will a new roof cost?

  • The price of a new roof system varies widely, depending on such things as the materials selected, contractor doing the work, home or building, location of the home or building, local labor rates and time of year. To get a good idea of price for your roof system, get three or four proposals from reputable contractors in your area. Keep in mind that price is only one factor, and it must be balanced with the quality of the materials and workmanship.

Won’t my insurance company charge me for filing a claim?

  • No, you cannot be penalized for alerting your insurance company to damage.

What happens to a roof when it has storm damage?

  • Storm damage from hail and wind is not always obvious to the untrained eye. Sometimes the damage is primarily cosmetic – but that lowers the overall value of your property, and is a cosmetic damage is a covered loss on almost all policies. Often the damage requires close up expert inspection to find, and damage that occurs now may lead to roof system failure several years later, long after your right to file a claim has expired – that is why we recommend you call us for an inspection after all significant storm events.

Do I need to get bids for storm damage work?

  • No. In insurance claims, your insurance company actually prepares the Claim Loss Estimate. Reputable contractors work to insurance company specifications. If additional work is required or the insurance scope does not match the actual damage, a reputable contractor will work with your insurance company to revise or supplement that estimate.

What happens if I ignore storm damage?

  • It goes without saying – no one has come up with a self repairing roof system. Ignored damage today will only deteriorate more in the future, and possibly lead to moisture penetration, leaks, mold, and more on the inside of your property. In your insurance policy YOU ARE OBLIGATED to investigate and report any incidence of damage you believe may have occurred or your policy coverage can be denied if you default on this responsibility. When in doubt – have it inspected.

How long does an insurance inspection take?

  • An insurance inspection usually takes 1-2 hours.

Do all contractors work to insurance companies’ standards?

  • Be cautious of any contractor who offers to do your work for less than the insurance company estimate, or of any contractor who tells you that you do not need some element of your roofing or siding estimate done, such as weather protection, ice and water, etc. This will result in a denial of your final payment.

How is my insurance claim paid?

  • Your insurance company will typically provide a partial payment (ACV payment) when they approve your claim. This can be used to make the required down payment to your contractor. Once your projects are complete, your insurance company will receive the same invoice and documentation of work completion as you do. They will pay you directly. You are responsible for final payment of Replacement Cost Value (RCV), which is the sum of all insurance proceeds for the work completed, plus your deductible.

How long does it take from inspection to actual replacement?

  • This depends on many factors such as insurance company processing time, scheduling, material availability, season, and weather conditions. Without significant delays due to any of those factors, the process can take as little as 4-6 weeks.

How long does it take to put on my new roof?

  • Of course, it always depends on the size of the home and the style and complexity of your roof, but it usually only takes 1 day to put on your brand new roof.

What’s the difference between a general contractor and a roofing company?

  • A roofing company will usually have a limited license to install only roof systems. This generally means a much more restricted body of knowledge concerning code issues around ventilation, insulation, storm water diversion, framing, and a host of other building related items that can come into play on even the simplest of storm damage claims. We are a General Contractor, we understand code for the whole building (we build from scratch a handful of houses each year, and have performed over 300 full house rehabs in the last 10 years under extremely stringent green design standards.) Our partners have a combined 100+ years of construction experience in ALL areas of residential and commercial construction. Is it possible for your contractor to be over-qualified? With all other things being equal, you will want a General Contractor on your property because he knows more and is more thoroughly trained. Simple as that.

How long can I expect my roof system to last?

  • Most new roof systems are designed to provide useful service for 30-plus years, although warranties can extend this time beyond that. Some roof system types, such as slate, clay tile and certain metal (e.g., copper) systems, can last longer. Actual roof system life span is determined by a number of factors, including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance.

What is the best shingle to use on my roof?

  • We store all major brands and our field reps will thoroughly review all options with you. There is no one roof system that is best for all applications. Keep in mind that even if you are using the best materials, your roof system still can be installed improperly and you could end up with a leaky roof. Good workmanship and proper attention to detail (e.g., flashing and drainage issues) are just as important as material selection. Also, maintenance plays an important role in roof system integrity and service life.

My house has a flat roof. What is the best roof system for a flat roof?

  • We have a number of flat roof solutions for your unique circumstances, from technically advanced retrofit, to full remove and replace options. Flat roof require flat roof experience, and we have it at Shelter Construction. Best thing to do is have us come out and do an inspection. You can find additional under our commercial “flat roofs” section. (link?) Flat roofs also present additional challenges regarding the detection of hail and wind damage, but we have the technology, experience, and team to masterfully handle those detection needs.

What you should know before you hire a contractor

Questions You Should Ask Before You Hire a Contractor:

  • Make sure to ask for the contractor’s license and to ask if they have any disciplinary history.
  • Does the contractor have references and how long have they been in business?
  • Does the contractor have a Minnesota business address?
  • Does the contractor have a local phone number where the business can be reached?
  • Does the Contractor have an A+ rating on the BBB (Better Business Bureau)?
  • Make sure to check the contractors litigation history.

Things to Avoid When Hiring a Contractor?

  • If they arrive in an unmarked truck or van;
  • If they ask you to sign an estimate or authorization before you have decided to actually hire them (you may be unknowingly be signing a contract);
  • If they appear to be willing to do the job at an unusually low price;
  • If they offer to pay your deductible or offer you discounts or other compensation for hiring them;
  • If they only provide a post office box for their business address;
  • If they require full or substantial payment before work begins;
  • If they refuse to provide you with a written estimate or contract;
  • If they refuse to provide you with a license number issued buy the state of Minnesota;
  • If they refuse to provide you with a reference;
  • If they show up at your door unsolicited;
  • If they use high-pressure sales tactics

Before You Sign a Contact, Make Sure it Includes:

  • A detailed summary of the work to be done;
  • A description of materials;
  • The total contract price or how the price will be calculated;
  • Specific timeline and provisions that address what will happen if the contractor fails to meet the contractual deadlines;

New Law Affects Contractors Who Perform Storm Repairs:

(That’s Us!!)

What Changed?

A new state law has prohibited contractors from even offering to pay homeowners’ insurance deductibles or offer anything else of value to sway the homeowner into entering a contract to repair damage. The new law requires contractors to include a written notification about the law in their “initial estimate.”

Why the change?

Many honest contractors that have complied with the law have lost business to dishonest contractors who illegally offer to pay deductibles or offer rebates or upgrades.

If a contractor offers any type of deductible, rebates, or upgrades to get on your roof, they are quite simply BREAKING THE LAW!!