Meteorologists are forecasting another busy storm season this year with experts suggesting the warmer ocean temperatures means more fuel for hurricanes. Being proactive means homeowners will be better prepared and possibly reduce the likelihood of not being able to recover from catastrophic damage to their homes.
The following tips will help you show your customers you're an expert while helping them to prepare and navigate through protecting one of their biggest investments, their homes.
It is unfortunate that many homeowners realize what their policy limits and exclusions are when it’s too late. Many standard homeowner insurance policies will cover wind, hail, and lightning but do not include flood or earthquake damage. Suggest the homeowner check with their agent for more information on additional coverage for flooding sold separately. In the event of a total loss, be careful of being underinsured. Tell them to look at their policy’s Reconstruction Cost Value (RCV) and see if it is in line with homes being built in their area. Homeowners in California discovered after Tubb's wildfire that 20% extended coverage was not enough. Yes, it will increase their premium but it is usually much less than they think while giving them peace of mind.
It is becoming more common for homeowners to want to know what mitigation measures can be performed to ensure a smooth transition during a sale of a property. The same thinking applies to pre-storm roof inspections documenting the condition of a structure with photos or video. It is a good idea for a homeowner to have their roof inspected in year 5, year 10, and then annually after that -- additionally, after a major storm. Having a contractor ahead of time who has already inspected a homeowner’s roof will prove invaluable when trying to find someone after a severe event. This contractor will already have the homeowner’s information, measurements, and roof details. Tell homeowners you work with to beware of roof scams by out-of-town storm chasers. They typically follow storm paths and quickly blanket an area unannounced offering a free post-storm inspection. Homeowners want to make sure to hire a contractor who will match the existing roof quality and stand behind their work. The free flatscreen or free vacation won’t make up for a roof that needs to be replaced in 5 to 7 years (true story).
Several carriers have online guides to help walk contractors or their customers through the process. Have the homeowner check with their agent on links to more information as well as whom to call in the event of storm damage, don’t wait until the last minute, and expect to get through to their agent. Having a contractor picked out is one of the best time savers during the claims process because it gets you in line early (and homeowners can evaluate contractors ahead of time and pick their preferred provider instead of taking the one assigned by the insurance carrier). Homeowners who were not prepared after a natural disaster saw an increase in price referred to as "Demand Surge" during Hurricane Harvey and the California wildfires. This occurs when several months after an event contractors start to book up and begin raising their prices due to labor and material shortages. Homeowners don’t want to battle with their insurance provider who won't honor price increases due to demand surge.
Remember, having a pre-inspection helps identify the condition of roof components but also identifies items in need of repair and other general preventative maintenance. If performed, document it. However, if preventative maintenance is ignored, especially after a hail strike, the cost is almost always more. Many insurance companies are using trained third-party roof inspectors who go onsite to document post-storm damage and provide an opinion on whether it was likely a pre-existing condition or not. Also, there is usually a time limit to filing a claim so don’t delay and make the repairs. The claim process is smoother when the contractor provides good documentation reducing gray areas when settling with an insurance provider.
To learn more about how One Click Contractor helps roofers create quotes lightning-fast, schedule time with a member of our team to discuss.