How Long Do I Have To File A Claim With Homeowner's Insurance And Should I?
We still have home owner's contacting us to assess storm damage- some from the 2006 hail storm. This leaves some wondering; can I still file this as a claim with my insurance company? There is really no accurate answer to that.
Some insurance companies have a clause where you are required to file within 12-24 months of the damage. Most insurance companies will say "file as soon as possible" but not require it. This may in fact work against the home owner. Here's why- if you contact your agent, with most insurance comapies, (and this is very important) whether they cover the claim or not it will count against you, the home owner! Most people think that they are required to contact the insurance company first and that's just not the case.
What You Should Do:
1. If you feel that you have storm damage; contact at least 3 reputible contractors to assess damage and give you an estimate. If they are good, they will be able to honestly advise whether or not you should contact your insurance agent. Contractors will generally work with you and your agent.
2. Discuss concerns with your agent, before actually asking to open a claim. Remember, just because you might have a good relationship with your agent does not mean they are working in your favor. They are still in the business of making money and work for the insurance company.
3. Weigh your options. Is it such a small claim that it's worth paying out of pocket this time?
Why You Shouldn't Wait Too Long To File A Claim:
1. Depreciation- Adjusters typically look at the age of the roof/siding, etc, to determine if the damage is caused by wear due to age. Depending on how long you wait, though they may find some storm damage, they will often "pro-rate" the claim which maximizes your out of pocket.
2. If you've waited too long to file a claim or have the damage repaired, they may look at secondary damage caused and leave some responsibility on you. For example: The roof is damaged by hail. You wait to file or get the roof fixed and your decking rots due to moisture getting in. The adjuster may leave you with that expense if they deem it was caused due to your negligence.
Basically, insurance is a slippery slope. Be educated when it comes to your policy and know where you stand. Here at ABC Roofing, our highly qualified staff are here to assist our clients every step of the way. If you feel you've incurred storm damage, call us. Our representatives will give an honest assessment.