Over the past few decades, the insurance claim process for roofs has gotten more complicated. At Sol Vista Roofing, we are now handling roof insurance claims a different way. After taking a step back, we determined the “old” way of handling roof claims was not serving our customer as well as it could.
So we set out to find a better way. And over the past few months, we have been testing it out. So far we’re getting excellent feedback from our customers. So what’s the big deal?
The old way
The old way of handling insurance claims has become known as the “insurance proceeds model”. All roofing contractors that we’ve met in the Denver area subscribe to the same model. We used to do it this way as well. In fact, most roofing contractors nation-wide likely use a similar approach.
The insurance proceeds model sounds simple on its face. It says that the roofing contractor that is chosen by the homeowner will perform the roof replacement for the amount that the insurance company agrees to pay for the work. The roofing contractor in this model does not create an estimate, their estimate comes from the insurance company.
The insurance companies use a pricing software called Xactimate to create their estimate. Xactimate is supposed to determine the market-rate cost for all individual roofing components within a given city. They issue pricing surveys to help understand those market-rate costs.
However, the insurance company roofing estimates often don’t include essential roofing components needed to build a code-compliant roof. It’s understandable, their jobs are related to policies and coverage, not building codes. That’s where roofers come in. A common example is drip-edge flashing, which is a code-required item. Based on our 2021 data, drip-edge was included on less than 10% of Sol Vista’s first-draft insurance roof replacement estimates.
In the “old” insurance claim process – the Insurance Proceeds Model – when critical line items are not included on the insurance company estimate, the roofing company must submit “supplemental” items for the estimate. The insurance adjuster will review the supplements and decide whether they are truly needed. It is left open to subjectivity.
The process of supplementing a roof insurance claim takes time. Usually, it takes about three weeks, however we have seen supplements drag on for months. All the while, the homeowner is waiting for a solution.
In this business model, roofing contractors depend on a 3rd party (insurance company) to dictate their pricing. And homeowners suffer as they wait for their roofer and insurance company to finalize their project’s scope. Ultimately, whether the insurance company agrees to include critical components in the estimate or not should not matter. The roofer is obligated to build the roof according to building code. If code requires a component (like drip-edge), and the insurance company declines that component, the roofer cannot simply leave it off the roof. So why not hire a roofer that submits their own roof replacement estimate for an insurance claim? They know the price better than the insurance company, right?
A better way to handle insurance claims
Creating a roof replacement estimate for insurance claim projects the same way we would for a cash-paying customer is a better approach. This way, our customer, the homeowner, gets their roof replaced MUCH sooner. They also don’t have to deal with as much back-and-forth negotiation between the roofer and the insurance company. Not to mention being asked multiple times whether the insurance check arrived, and if it can be signed over.
Under this method, the roofer stays fully within their lane. The roofer’s job is simply to determine (1) is the roof damaged? (2) what will it take to fix it? And (3) what will it cost to fix it? If the roof is damaged by storms, then an insurance claim should be considered by the homeowner. But roofers trying to get in the middle of the homeowners insurance claim does not serve the homeowner, it makes the claim process longer and harder for them. And, based on laws in many states (including Colorado) around the unlicensed practice of public adjusting (UPPA), it’s illegal for a roofer to give homeowners policy-related advice.
How does this model work?
Under our new approach to insurance claims, we stick to what we do best: diagnosing, estimating, and building roofs. We have partners in the field of public adjusting that can help with policy or claim advice, if needed. The process looks something like this:
- Identify roof damage from a storm. Hail and wind damage can shorten your roof’s expected life, so if we see it during a roof inspection, we’ll advise you to have your insurance company come take a look.
- Insurance adjuster inspection. Your insurance adjuster will review the damage to determine if the roof replacement should be replaced. We highly recommend having a roofer present for this meeting. A trained roofer will be able to help the insurance adjuster see all the damage, and understand how the damage affects the roof’s functionality over time.
- Roof replacement approved by insurance, Sol Vista price submitted to the homeowner. We’ll give you a roof replacement quote just like a customer would receive who does not have an insurance claim. After you sign the quote, we’ll get to work on your roofing project.
- Note: our estimate is often higher than the initial paperwork you’ll receive from your insurance adjuster. This is because we include all components we know we’ll need to replace the roof according to manufacturer requirements and building codes. Our price is reasonable, as our estimates are the same whether being paid by a cash-paying customer or insurance claim customer.
- Roof project complete, homeowner pays Sol Vista invoice. Having a reasonable incurred cost, including a paid invoice, provides you with the documentation you need to get full reimbursement from your insurance carrier (per your specific policy).
- If you prefer not to pay out-of-pocket before receiving your insurance funds we offer 12 months same-as-cash payment to get the invoice paid. When your insurance company reimburses you, you can pay off the same-as-cash balance (there is no early-payment fee), or use the funds however you choose. If you do not pay off the same-as-cash balance, the amount turns into a 7, 10, or 15 year loan at the end of the 12 month period.
- Enjoy your new roof! While your neighbors are still fighting with their insurance company, or getting asked for insurance checks from their roofer, your project is complete.
Are you wondering if your roof has storm damage, and looking for a Denver roofing company to make the process simple for you? Contact Sol Vista Roofing to get started on your project.