Steps To Take After Discovering Storm Damage
- Notify your insurance company or agent as most damage from ice dams is covered by your insurance.
- Protect the property from further damage – move the furniture – take down the drapes etc. G.F. Sprague will help with temporary repairs.
- Get a detailed inspection of the damage. We will help you in this and with our new technology (thermal cameras) and years of expertise, we have a better understanding of what is going on with your roof.
- Complete a comprehensive claim don’t forget what was lost describe things in full detail.
- Cooperate with the insurance company and their inspectors. Your insurance company will most likely inspect the property soon after notification of the claim.
- Assist in the claims investigation. Call G.F. Sprague Co. Inc. when you have a problem. We can fix it and we will help you negotiate with your insurance company by providing our expertise in determining the damage. We will make temporary repairs – quickly, and we will showing the insurance company what was wrong and getting your property back in shape with minimal delay and expert workmanship.
Actual Case Study
I had an issue with my camp in Maine several years ago as a result of the ice storm, the top half of a pine tree came down and went through the roof. The way I handled it was to call a friend and ask him if he knew someone I should call. He referred me to a contractor who came and made temporary repairs to the roof so I could use the camp for the spring and summer.
The same contractor then came back in the fall removed the roof, fixed the walls which shifted when the tree came down put on new roof decking and rebuilt the chimney. All of it was covered by insurance and, in fact, the contractor insulated and planked the interior for me because I waited until he got all the year-round homes finished.
As you can see it was a rather complex claim but the carrier agreed with everything we did and I was paid without much trouble. The contractor got the job because he got the first part of the job done quickly and had a solution for the rest of the problem.
The Bad Guys
Insurance companies are not in business to pay claims; if that were their intention they would be out of business already! Here are just a few tricks that insurance companies will use to deny your claim.
Testing: Very often, the insurance companies will conduct a test on the roof to see if any “functional damage” has been done (functional damage refers to damage that will shorten the life expectancy of the roof) that is not in favor of the policyholder and is inaccurate. These tests are meant for a brand new roof and most often are conducted on roofs 5 years or older with the general “wear and tear.” Therefore, getting a false reading, that they are aware of, insurance companies can claim there was existing damage before the storm and are not held responsible.
Another scheme insurance companies will use to try to deny your claim is claiming “cosmetic” damage vs. “functional” damage. For instance, if there has been a storm and you have fractures on your roof, the insurance companies are looking for “total fractures” only. A total fracture refers to complete and obviously visible destruction to your roof. If the problem is not catastrophic, it is referred to as “cosmetic damage” and denied. They will only accept what they refer to as “functional damage,” which in definition will shorten the life expectancy of the roof.
The problem is, these companies rely on the fact that you do not know everything that is in your claim, almost all of these problems are covered in the insurance claim but the company assumes that you don’t know what you are or should be looking for and can then pull the wool over your eyes every time.
G.F. Sprague has the ability to help get your claim accepted, even after the insurance company has said that there is no damage. We have infrared equipment to show damage that is not visible to the naked eye, we are experienced and can talk in detail to the adjuster. The insurance company may try and “define” or discount the damage to get out of paying for it, but that is not in their policies. We have tests that the insurance companies do not have and can point out damage where most of their people would not even recognize it. We document all things possible to document, and in reading this, the insurance company will usually realize who they are dealing with and it generally compels them to do the right thing.
A Message From Jerry Sprague, the Founder of G.F. Sprague & Co. Inc.