Recent hail event in Texas--Need a roofing Contractor...BUT


#1

Hello all,

I’m so glad to have found your forum. Here’s my situation.

We had a hail event in town, just outside of Austin, recently. Our insurance adjuster came out and gave us an itemized breifing on what repairs are needed. Of course, the roof though not leaking currentlywas beaten severely with every shingle taking a strike.

The insurance adjuster says we will have our funds in a few days. He also advised us to take our time and choose the right contractor for the job. Being that he, the insurance adjuster, has been in the construction business for almost 30 years he further advised us on a few things.

He told us that we would encounter contractors that only wanted to deal with the insurance company and he explained why. He told us that if the bids came in over what our payment was going to be then all we had to do was contact him. Seems cut and dried to me. We are more than willing to pay a fair price for the new roof. Our home is only 3 years old and we certainly don’t want any damage internally.

Today, I contacted 2 companies requesting estimates. In both instances the representatives told me that they would only deal with the insurance companies. I attempted to explain that we, the homeowners, have already dealt with the insurance company and will have the funds for roof replacement, and other things that need to be replaced, in a few days. In both conversations, there became an instant disinterest in coming over to render an estimate. One contractor told me, “We don’t bid against each other.”

From a consumers stand point, this just doesn’t seem right. I’m at loss to know where I go from here. If the roofing contractors will only deal with the insurance company and the insurance company has already given us the funds, then what are we to do?

I understand that the economy is tough, but why in the world would a contractor turn down an opportunity because he can’t deal with the insurance company?

I really appreciate you all’s input on this.


#2

Lady,

I am a roofing contractor here in the Austin area (based out of Dripping Springs / Oak Hill, to be specific).

In regards to “deal directly with the insurance co.”, this might mean a few things, one of which is to insure that the homeowner pays their full & legally required deductible (for the homeowner to pay less than their deductible & a contractor to accept less or give money back to the customer even for 'ad space / sign rental fees is against state law & can be a felony).

In my case, & with many reputable companies, what I do is to in a lot of cases meet with the insurance adjusters & discuss the claim. We agree on the # of units (measured size) as well as the price PER unit (total amount of the claim). I also look @ every other item that can be attributed to the hailstorm & will be provided for under the one deductible: gutters, air conditioning units, paint, windows, screens, doghouses, birdbaths, garden sheds, flower pots, etc. (I will do a part II post as this long response is doing odd things to the text box).


#3

(Continued)
Now, this is not to say that I intend to come between the already established relationship between the insured & their provider. On the contrary, you should understand that the insurance co. has their financial interests to protect, but who is looking out for the damaged homeowner? *This is not to say that insurance companies or their adjusters will purposefully attempt to cheat or short change a consumer… they have their job to do & I have mine.

It just so happens that my primary responsibility is to the end user / homeowner & if I can extract more $$ from an insurer within the bounds of their legal responsibilities without becoming adversarial, then I have done my job well… & to the homeowner’s benefit (as well as mine; after all, the more money I can extract for the customer, the more money I in turn might expect for my work).

Now, if you only wish to have the contractor discuss matters with you, then the contractor should respect that. (again, this text box is jumping around… part III coming).


#4

On the other hand, consider this: The adjuster is potentially suggesting that he or she does NOT wish to be contacted by a contractor who would disagree with their adjustment.

I would also suggest that you view the adjustment as what it also is & that is an estimate. That means the adjustment is their offer & it is not them saying this is all you will ever receive for your claim.

If the adjuster comes up with a measured size of X & I come up with X + 3, I will then re-measure the property or recalculate a few times to see if I have made an error… & if after all this I still don’t agree, then I will gain permission from the homeowner to open up a discussion with the adjuster in an attempt to get more $$ as a result of a difference in size.

Last year, when parts pricing made weekly vertical leaps, I was asking for supplemental payments from the insurance co’s. This was to recover dollars in parts costing that their initial adjustment couldn’t possibly have taken into consideration.


#5

Additionally, since component & supplier prices are still changing on a frequent basis, if an adjustment is made on April 05 but the customer doesn’t select a contractor until mid-June… then you can assume that a supplemental should be requested from insurance if the software that the insurance companies use for their adjustments has gone up once or twice since the date of the initial insurance co’s inspection & adjustment.

Additionally, I often utilize a “Contingency Contract” & the purpose of this is to insure that if I put time & effort into securing a reasonable & customary adjustment that meets the customer’s satisfaction, then I should be properly rewarded for my work - that reward is to install your roof.

Other areas that can be included under the same adjustment but might be overlooked by an adjuster / inspector are things like birdbaths, enough linear footage in gutters, stained decks, BBQ components, garden sheds, doghouses, kids play equipment, etc. ALL of this is fair game under the policy that you, the customer, have been paying for. If you’d been paying for it, why not include it under the guidelines of your claim as legally allowed?

The bottom line is that you, the damaged insured / homeowner needs to find a contractor that you are comfortable with. Often, I leave an unsigned contract with the customer for a couple of days… I suggest that you review it & have a trusted person give you a second opinion.

Contact some of my customers; there is a good chance that you will find one within a 5 – 10 minute drive of where you are located. Ask them not only how the finished product looks, but find out about the process both before, during & after the roof was completed.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to post them here, send me a PM, or look me up via my website (listed here on this thread if you follow the links).


#6

(Quote) after all, the more money I can extract for the customer, the more money I in turn might expect for my work).

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Everything you said makes perfect sense and is right in line with what we are thinking as well.

Our adjuster, in fact, included everything right down to the lid on our fire pit that we hadn’t even noticed has several dents. The bird bath was okay.

My question at this point is: Let’s say there wasn’t a hail event and I had a 10 year old roof that sprung a leak and I wanted to replace it, just because, as the homeowner, I wanted to replace it so I wouldn’t have to be concerned about another leak in 6 months etc. Plenty of funds in the bank with no financing needed. Would a roofing contractor come to my home and give me a estimate on replacement along with other recommended work such as vent cap replacement and such without all of the hassle I’m experiencing now?


#7

I am also working in Austin. The answer to your second question is yes. When there is not an insurance claim involved an estimate from the contractor would be provided. The contractor would be creating the price at that point. In your case with a claim in place the price comes from the insurance company. Your probably have a summary of damages and the itemized list for your roof. There is the RCV or replacement cost value of your roof which is what the insurance company estimates to be the cost of replacement, the way my company works that would also be our price. If there was anything wrong with that ie difference in measurement or price I would work with them to resolve it. The bottom line for the homeowner is their deductable. There is no LEGAL way to save you money on that contrary to what a lot of contractors might say. It would require sending false documents to your insurance company and that in the state of Texas is a felony. The price of the roof is not what homeowners need to focus on as it is determined by the insurance company. It is important that you select someone you trust and are sure will be around in 6 months. If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them.


#8

Ranch-
Very informative.

The last time I saw a Insurance Claim on my desk a tree fell through a roof and that was quite a few years back.

It really sounds very time consuming to deal with all that Insurance back and forth and up here someone calls with a fist full of money they get a roof!


#9

Your question is valid.

What I like to call this scenario is a “retailâ€Â


#10

Lady,

If you are fortunate enough to be in Ranch Hands area that he services, he would do you justice, not only with the insurance aspect, but the actual roofing work to keep your home worry free.

I honestly would not provide him with a glowing referral if I had not seen and read his his posts for several years and gotten quite the good feeling that I have about his dedication to doing his craft professionally with regards to doing things right.

He has been a long time locally established roofing contractor and you can count on his company being around long after all of the recently relocated storm chasing companies who subcontract out the majority of their work, rather than have the owner involved with each project.

Remember, the Insurance Adjuster really works for the Insurance Company and his first priority is to mitigate the amount of funds being paid out to their clients.

They will make you feel as if they have everything included, but they often times miscalculate and omit items due to inexperience or by being in such a hectic rush with too many claims to process.

Ed


#11

You know I was thinking the same thing myself. He is way south though so I don’t know if they travel north. I’ll check it out, for sure.


#12

Lady,

I was on 3 houses just yesterday that are located in Cedar Park; all of them I had roofed back in '03 from a hailstorm that passed through this area. One of them is really close to New Hope & 183; you can see the blue roof as you go W from 183 & look to your L through the church parking lot. Atlas Pinnacle, 35 Year, Surf Blue. Ed & some of them might recall me asking about 2 years ago for information on Atlas roofs rusting; it seems this one was part of the batch that had too much iron oxide in the grit content & after 3 years, they started to get rusty streaks (much different than algae buildup).

Another one is in the same neighborhood, about 4 blocks away (this subdivision / area is called “Deerfield”)… it has a 3 Tab Atlas Desert Shake on it & we will probably adjust upwards to a 30 Year dimensional; @ the moment, they seem fond of the Tamko Painted Desert color.

The 3rd was about ½ mile further S on 183; another Atlas Desert Shake color. He’s unsure if he wants to file another claim with Germania or not.

Today, I was on 4 houses, the 1st of which was an adjuster meeting with Traveler’s. We agreed on the scope of the roof project (his measured size was 1.33 squares higher than mine & I’ll take that number). The adjuster was already doing a replacement for the drip edge however I was able to get this repainted as the homeowner’s current drip edge was painted @ the same time as the fascia.

The fascia color in question is not a ‘standard’ color & therefor it is the insurer’s responsibility to compensate for this painting; I negotiated a two coat job - primer & topical color.

The 2nd house was located near the Brushy Creek area; N of 620 & about ½ way between Parmer & I 35. This is & one that I roofed from hail 2 years & also replaced his metal patio; there was some hail, but not enough to warrant a claim (I have re-roofed this house, his son’s & will be doing his brother’s in about 2 weeks). However. On this roof, I see something suspect about the base layer (the part below the bonded top layer; some of us call the top layer the “dragon’s teeth” & this is the part below that has coloration & shows depth / carries the shadow line. I may start a new thread about this once I have time.

After this house, I checked on another roof that I had done service to; the builder’s crew improperly installed some hips & he had a flashing issue on the back of the house @ a turnback location (no kickout & water was incenting algae to discolor the limestone rock walls).

Two other homes got a visit, both I had re-roofed in the past 1 to 1½ years & not hail related. I spoke to one homeowner who said USAA checked & said no hail, the other I had to leave my card as they weren’t home - this was a re-roof just prior to sale & the original homeowner’s contact info wouldn’t be valid.

So… yes, I do travel. Just not to somewhere like Oklahoma or Ohio to follow the storms.


#13

looks like all of your questions were answered… but i’ll add my two cents in anyway.

with an insurance claim, all you need yo do, is choose the contractor you feel comfortable with, as long as they are willing to work from insurance company proceeds.

Why do you feel like you need to get estimates?

With people who are working with insurance money, and call around for “bids” I always ask them:

“what are you trying to accomplish with getting bids? its one of three things… #1 you are trying to save your insurance company money, #2 you are trying to put money in your pocket, or #3 you are trying to keep your out of pocket expense (deductible) as low as possible, or zero.”

people never say they are trying to save the ins co. money, and they always deny trying to illegally profit from an insurance claim (tho most of them really want to) so they all come down to #3 … “im trying to come out of pocket as little as possible” especially when there are thousands of dollars involved in the deductible.

you say you “already have the funds to replace the roof” but im guessing, unless your house is brand new, that they are holding depreciation back from your check, and will release it when the repairs are complete. so the simple fact, is… that you do NOT have all of the funds currently to complete the repairs.

here is how it works in 99% of claims with full replacement cost policies:

say its a $10,000 insurance bid.

say the roof is a 25 year roof, and its about 10 years old.

you have a $1,000 deductible.

the company holds back $4,000 for depreciation. this means, your $10,000 roof, minus your $1,000 deductible, and they hold the $4,000 depreciation (again, which is recoverable at the end of the repairs) leaving you with your first check in the amount of $5,000.

now… so you have your $5,000 in your hands. call around, and talk to roofers. have a few come out to discuss their business with you. if you just have 3 guys show up in trucks, say hello, and drop a bid in your lap and leave within 5 minutes, then how will you even detirmine who you want to use? some people go with the cheaper bid. some go with the local guy, some go with the guy who promises to be the best, blah blah blah.

but here is how it works…

so you have your $10,000 roof, that the insurance company is willing to release up to $9,000 of their money, IF you send them an invoice for $10,000, then they release the other $4,000.

homeowners often try to get bids for $9,000 to “save them their deductible” when in fact, that does nothing at all. what happens, is when your repairs are complete, and you send in your $9,000 invoice to get the rest of the depreciation released, the insurance company now has a $9,000 claim on their hands, instead of $10,000. so they hold your deductible out of the $9,000. making max payout of $8,000 and send you a check for $3,000 to pay the roofer, and in turn, you are STILL paying your $1,000 out of pocket.

now why did you do that? now you have a roofer who found a way to cut corners, and put a $1,000 cheaper roof on your biggest investment, costing him a HUGE amount of his profit, and all you accomplished was saving your insurance company $1,000.

of COURSE this is the way they want you to work the claim!!!

talk to the contractors, call references, drive by houses that they have completed work on, call your agent, and ask them if they have any preferred contractors in the area, then show them the adjusters estimate. ask them how long before repairs can begin. ask them how they plan on working with the insurance company, and how they plan on being fair, upfront, and honest with all parties involved.

ask them what they are going to do to HELP you complete your insurance claim, and all repairs.

the “hassle” you are experiencing, is because you are making it a hassle. stop calling around for blind bids on a roof that needs new shingles, and simply find someone that you trust to do the repairs correctly, and within a timely manner, and who will be there in the long run to give you a warranty. storm chasers will be there to put your shingles on, and then in two years wont be anywhere close to you if you have a problem. keep in mind, storm chasers often have local names, local numbers, and local offices… but that doesnt make them a local company.

good luck!


#14

I’m in the Cedar Park area and we are having the same issue. Per our insurance company, he told us that it was not required to have the roofing contractor there when the adjuster came out. He also cautioned us to not sign any contract without a written estimate. So far, the ones that I have contacted said that they don’t do estimates, that their business model says it is smarter for them to work directly with the insurance company, so that they can maximize their profit, and to get everything that we need to fix our roof. They do not want to leave any money on the table.

Then we have a coworker who says he can get the same roofing crew to come out and do the job for about $4000.

I also was told that it is not insurance fraud if you get X amount of dollars from your insurance co, and find a better deal. Am I wrong?

Please, no flames. I want to do the right thing, and am willing to pay my low deductible. But, I also do not want to be ripped off.

Hope


#15

Transparency…

What does your gut tell you?

What decision would you make if you knew for sure that the insurance company would know how much you spent.

Let your own conscience be your guide, since you have to live with the consequences.

Ed


#16

I don’t think this is really about my conscience as it is about being treated fairly. I already have my insurance check and I can’t get a reputable company to talk to me. That isn’t about my conscience.

Also, the insurance company told me that they do not withhold depreciation unless the claim is over $10,000, which this is not.

Hope


#17

the answer is VERY simple.

if you profit from an insurance claim, then you are comitting insurance fraud. period. there is no “grey area”. there is no discussion, and there is no way out of it if you get busted.

will your insurance company ever find out? very unlikely. but i wouldnt want to be one of those guys who sits around in a jail cell saying “man, i wish i would have thought about it a little more. that extra couple hundred bucks really wasnt worth it”

what the insurance company owes you, is a new roof exactly like the one that was on your house before the storm. why dont you just be happy that you arent replacing it with your own money, and let a local roofer stay in business another year? I suppose you could just get Jose the roofer and his 5 cousins to slap a few shingles on your house for $4,000. you keep the rest of the cash, and when it leaks 2 years from now, instead of picking up the phone and having it fixed under warranty, you have to pay out of pocket to get it fixed yourself.

Remember… the “30 year warranty” on those shingles does NOT cover leaks. Jose the roofer has to have his own warranty. and if your roof is not installed properly, there can be MAJOR damages to your house. rotten wood, ruined drywall… the list goes on and on. ive seen all kinds of fun stuff.

but by all means… if you are 100% sure you will never get caught, and you really need that extra money that your insurance company agreed to pay for your roof, go ahead and hire someone who will do the job for $60% or so of what your estimate was. no big deal. we will still be here when you have problems in a couple of years. :wink:

better yet… if you really believe in your buddy, just call your claims adjuster. im sure he will tell you what is legal, and what is not.


#18

Hope,

If you send me a PM or Email (contact info / my website listed on my postings), I can provide you with plenty of Leander & Cedar Park references, as well as a detail on the insurance co. that these customers have.

You are correct in that many contractors will not want to provide an estimate prior to your home being adjusted.

Often, what I do is to provide an estimate with a dollar figure that states “Total amount of insurance adjustment, including customer’s required deductible.”

The most important part of the estimate isn’t really the dollar amount, it’s the parts list & a detail of how the roof will be repaired / what will be done. As well, if a customer pays their full & legally required deductible & doesn’t ask that I provide a fraudulent invoice so that any incorrect depreciations can be recovered, I am able to make upgrades to the roof system @ no additional cost to the homeowner (these upgrades are relevant to the size & scope of the job, however a common one is ridge vents, drip edge, maybe a ½ price change into a dimensional shingle, etc).

& As to the deductible situation, here is a CraigsList posting that I placed.

austin.craigslist.org/sks/1107667945.html

It is an attempt to educate the buying public as well as scare off the guys who are, in fact, cheating the system.

This next ad is an example of someone who is offering to cheat the system:

austin.craigslist.org/sks/1103781154.html

Right there, in plain daylight, he is saying he can “save” you $ 500.00. Let me tell you that for most homes around 35 squares or less (a square is how we measure roofs by units), that dollar figure would upgrade you from a 3 Tab to a 30 year dimensional shingle… all brands: CertainTeed, GAF, Owens Corning, Tamko (listed alphabetically, not to show preferences).

In the end, it’s the “roofers” who say that they will ‘pay all or part of your deductible’ or ‘rent ad space in your yard’ that are driving profits lower & when profits get lower, standards of construction are affected (i.e. if the parts cost is going up but they are offering to take less money for the work, then either you’ll get substandard or not enough parts OR substandard work).

In my opinion, the answer to any customer is simple: Pay your deductible, find a roofer that you are comfortable with, examine the estimate & parts list in full, get opinions from other trusted friends & possibly even post the estimate details here (we do this a lot on this site; critique the estimates that other roofers have provided to customers).

I have some Cedar Park inspections to perform this week; one is just a bit W of Bagdad & N of New Hope. I’d be happy to stop by & discuss your situation with you.

“Ranch”


#19

Every claim I have seen thus far has had depreciation ans most of them were under 10k. Like it has been said the only way to recover the full amount and save part or all of your deductable is to send a false invoice to them. That law was changed a couple of years ago and it is now a felony in Texas. I think it was 120 people arrested last year for doing that. I know I wouldn’t do very well in jail so its not an option with me. A claim for your home is not like your car where they give you a check and you can do whatever you like with it. Bottom line yes you must pay your full deductable, the insurance co. sets the price, so just find a roofer you trust to do the work properly and be around to uphold the warranty.


#20

Agape,
You seem to be accusing me of trying to commit insurance fraud. Read my post. I went and filed my claim. My insurance co told me it is not recommended to have a contracter there. I followed the advice that I was given.

My problem is that because I did it this way no one will talk to me. I came here for some advice and get handslapped and accused of attempting to fraud my insurance company.

As for Jose and his 5 cousins, well, they will probably be putting my roof on regardless of who I hire. I live in Texas.