Useful Information for Homeowners
Common Causes of Roof Leaks
Hail damage to shingles: Hail is the leading cause of insurance claims on roofs after being hit by severe storms. Hail creates bruises, “pot holes” or cracks and chips in shingles which compromise the ability of the roof to combat the elements. Over time this can lead to leaks and mold. Anytime your home experiences a hail storm with hail 1” in diameter or greater, call us for a free inspection to determine if filing a claim is necessary.
Wind damaged shingles: After a severe storm, it’s common to find shingles that have blown off your roof. Storm winds can be 60-100 mph. Often what happens as shingles age, they tend to weaken. This causes shingles to break where the upper shingle makes contact with the shingle below it. If you find shingles that have blown off after a storm, we suggest you contact us to have your roof inspected. The water shedding integrity of your roof is now compromised.
Sun damage to wood shakes or shingles: Over time, the sun can age wood shakes or shingles to the point where the sun actually can burn through the felt paper below. With older shakes, they tend to curl, warp and crack from brittleness. If this is happening on your roof, there is a good chance that your roof will need to be replaced. Unfortunately, once your roof gets to this point, it is generally not repairable. Call us to have it inspected, and we will help you determine the options for replacement that suit you best.
Materials have failed: Sometimes, even though the roof itself is still in good condition, some of the materials may fail. A materials fail can happen over the whole roof or just in certain areas. One common problem is when shingles were not installed correctly or have failed ridge/hip shingles. Sometimes the product itself has a manufacturers defect and may be covered by a warranty. Call us to help determine the extent of the damage and how to repair it.
Debris build-up: It’s very important to keep your roof clear of debris. This is because if debris builds up, it can trap moisture and potentially cause your roof to leak. The most vulnerable areas of your roof are valleys (behind skylights and chimneys) and anywhere that water doesn’t freely run off the roof. Trim back trees that may have branches rubbing on the roof. Most build up can be hosed or swept off the roof. Make note if you see unusual wear in these spots after cleaning and call us for an inspection.
Hidden Causes of Roof Leaks
Improperly flashed vents or jacks: We often see this problem with the installation of new hoods for ovens, furnaces or bathroom fans which require cutting through the roof. We always put a layer of Ice and Water Shield around these areas to ensure water tightness.
Satellite dishes mounted on the roof: If the dish is mounted directly to the roof, often no sealant is used or soon enough, the sealant that is used dries up and is no longer effective. If you do get a satellite dish installed directly to your roof, we suggest that you contact us to do a visual inspection prior to the rain or snow season.
Worn out tape or rubber seals on plumbing jacks: A visual inspection often reveals that the tape used to seal the gap between the pipe and the jack flashing has dried up or disappeared. Other failures are found on flashings with rubber seals.
You may be tempted to inspect your roof yourself, but safety must be your top priority. We suggest that you contact the professionals at LR Contracting, Inc. if you have any concerns about roof leaks. The cost of a calling a professional is definitely worth it to preserve your safety!
Springtime roofing –fixing last fall’s damage
Last summer brought some very serious storms to the Denver metro area. One of the most severe occurred on September 29th. This particular storm was unusual due to its intensity and the fact that it happened so late in the season. That storm caused damage to an estimated 80,000 homes stretching from Highlands Ranch through Centennial and across Aurora. The storm was given a disaster area designation which resulted in thousands of Homeowners making insurance claims.
The sheer volume of work needed caused quite a backlog for contractors and suppliers. Suppliers usually reduced inventory that time of year as they got ready for winter but then found themselves overwhelmed all of the sudden. Back orders and shipping delays for roofing materials, siding and windows made it frustrating for many homeowners. Before long, winter and the holidays crept up on us and many people decided to wait to do their repairs until spring.
Spring is now upon us so if you are one of those that chose to wait, your timing is now perfect. The best thing to do is call and have a re-inspection of your roof to make sure it hasn’t developed any leaks over the winter that may have resulted in additional damages since your original claim. We do this roof inspection for free and then can offer our assistance in helping you get your house back in pre-storm condition before the summer sets in!
Why you should hire a contractor before you file an insurance claim.
If your home is hit by a hail storm, your first inclination might be to call your insurance company and file a claim. However, you should consider talking to a reputable contractor before you do that.
A contractor can professionally assess the damages your home sustained. At LR Contracting Inc. we are highly trained to recognize damages to all parts of your home from roofing to siding, windows, and paint. Think of it like going to the doctor to assess pain you’re having. They know what and where to look so they can give you a proper diagnosis.
When the insurance company sends out its adjuster, you will want to have someone there to represent you. Insurance companies have really tightened their belts recently and if you don’t have a competent contractor there on your behalf, you may be missing out on a lot money for repairs that you are entitled to. Our customers hire us on a contingency basis, meaning if when we meet with the adjuster it is our responsibility to help the customer get the maximum claim available. There is no cost or obligation at that point and if we do get a satisfactory claim approved, we are paid by the proceeds from the insurance company minus the deductible.
Some people think they need to call their Insurance agent, however they really have nothing to do with this kind of claim. There is a claim number that is set up at the corporate level where claims are filed. You have to remember, the agent you bought the policy from may literally be your best friend or your kid’s soccer coach, but the corporate side is all business. They look to minimize their losses when they adjust your property. That is why it is vital you have representation to ensure all items of damage are recorded.
Remember, you always come out ahead when someone is representing you and your best interests. Your home is your largest investment and you should demand the best in service and quality of materials when you need to repair storm damage. LR Contracting Inc. is there for you when you need the best!
Why you don’t get estimates on an insurance claim
Typically when you’re having a construction done on your home you would interview and request bids from a few different contractors. That process works great when you’re paying for the project but things are a bit different when you are getting repairs done from an insurance claim.
In insurance work, most contractors agree to do the repair work for the amount insurance is allowing to pay. As a homeowner, your only out of pocket expense is your deductible (Which in Colorado it is law that you have to pay that, the contractor can’t work out any “deals” on deductibles). This means that the estimate for the work is actually dictated by the insurance company not the contractor. This actually makes it easier for the consumer because it allows them to not worry about the financial side but instead just to focus on who to choose to do the work.
A huge misconception is that people sometimes believe that if they find someone to give a bid for less than the amount paid by the insurance company, then they get to keep the difference themselves. This is not true! Doing so actually would be considered insurance fraud. Chattel insurance claims are not done the same as auto insurance claims. In auto claims, the payout is determined by the estimate. The reality is that if the contractor final billing to insurance is less than the original claim, the insurance will deduct that savings off your final depreciation check. All you may have accomplished is saving the insurance company money while settling for a lesser quality work and materials on your home. That is a lose/lose scenario for the homeowner.
So what if your insurance company tells you to get estimates? As stated above, they would request that in hopes that they will save money on the claim payout. You do not have to do this! Besides any contractors that would give a low ball bid will achieve that number by using lesser grade materials and skip on some workmanship items in order to still make a good profit. It’s YOUR home, so you should demand the full amount due to you for repairs and the best in quality and workmanship possible. This is where LR Contracting Inc. shines as we handle all negotiations for our clients with the insurance companies and we provide only the finest in available materials and workmanship. This is the reason we have thousands of satisfied customers and get repeat and referral business.
In review, getting estimates or bids will not be an advantage for you when it comes to insurance based repair work on your home. Let us handle the process for you as we are professionals that do this every day. You can then take comfort in knowing your home will be repaired right and back to its pre-storm condition without any hassles.
Is it Legal for a Roofer to Waive or Absorb my Insurance Deductible?
We are asked regularly by customers whether it is possible for us to “cover the deductible” on an insurance claim for roof repairs. This puts our field reps in a difficult and awkward position because the answers are not what the homeowner typically wants to hear.
We know that homeowners are often told by “legitimate contractors” it is perfectly legal to cover a deductible on insurance repairs. But I can assure you that it no longer is in the State of Colorado due to recent law changes. Doing so is now considered insurance fraud. All we can do is explain the insurance claim process and what is a legal and ethical business practice.
We will not to compromise our ethics
LR Contracting Inc. has served the Front Range for over 20 years. Our reputation is impeccable with an A+ Rating and Gold Star from the BBB. We follow the laws and regulations to the tee, and will not put ourselves or our clients in jeopardy from insurance fraud. SB 12-38 was put into effect 6/6/12 and makes it very clear that a consumer must pay their deductible.
Any contractor that promises to waive or cover or rebate for the deductible is not a contractor you want working on your home. If they are willing to break the law to get your business, what are the willing to cut corners on to make more profit on your home? The fact is that it’s illegal to siphon money from an insurance claim to the homeowner and it becomes clear why 80% of roofing contractors are out of business within 2½ years (2008 BBB).
Yes – Contractors used to cover deductibles
In the past, “absorbing” an insurance deductible would have been perfectly legitimate for a roofing contractor. A decade ago homeowners were given lump sum payments by their insurance companies when a claim was paid. The total claim was paid minus the deductible. It was legal for the homeowner to not pay the deductible and it was entirely up to the homeowner whether they had the repairs done at all! I’m sure there were quite a few new cars purchased or vacations taken during those times! Basically, they could have given a contractor any sum of money, be it $200 for minor roof repairs, or all of the insurance money plus the deductible to replace the roof.
Today insurance claims work differently. As most homeowners have Replacement Cost Value (RCV) provisions in their insurance policies, insurers have limited their exposure to RCV insurance claims by breaking down payments into multiple parts. Today, instead of receiving a lump-sum payment for work to be completed, funds for a roof replacement can come in as many as 4 separate checks and will often bear the name of the mortgagee of the property as a cosigner.
The only way to get all of the money from an insurance claim today is for a licensed contractor to actually bill the insurance company AND the mortgage company (if there is a mortgage on the property) for the completed work. For example: a hail storm hits a home, the homeowner files an insurance claim and a claims adjuster is dispatched to the location. The adjuster determines it will cost $12,000 to complete the repairs. There is a $1,000 deductible, so that is subtracted from the estimate. The roof isn’t brand new, so that depreciation (let’s say $6,000 for the sake of round numbers) is also subtracted from the estimate. Now the insured is given a first check for $5,000 instead of $11,000. The remaining $6,000 worth of depreciation is only recoverable when an invoice of $12,000 or greater is received from a roofing contractor or general contractor (a homeowner can’t bill for the work without an invoice) and that check is made out to the mortgage company listed on the property.
But why are roofers still telling me they can waive my deductible?
The truth is, they’re flat out lying to the insurance and mortgage companies. Unscrupulous contractors will still use the old line that a yard sign can be used as an “advertising credit” for the deductible amount. But, if they are planning to invoice for the full insurance claim, they must divulge in their invoice to the insurer the cost of work to be provided on the project. If they are charging the insurance provider $10,000 for work they actually do for $9,000, the roofer is inflating the price for goods sold to account for this discrepancy. Another thing many companies are doing is called rebating. In this case they send in an invoice saying they did all the work when in fact they didn’t. An example would be they say they pressure washed and stained your privacy fence. The insurance gave a $1000 to have that done. By not doing it and telling the insurance they did- the homeowner would be able to use that $1000 to pay their deductible. This is flat out insurance fraud and not something you want dragged into.
If an insurance company knows the work is being completed for less, they will provide less money. For example: If the insurer finds out that the homeowner was able to complete the work for $9,000 instead of $10,000, they would only release $8,000 total instead of $9,000 – again forcing the insured to pay the $1,000 deductible to the contractor. Long story short – the discrepancy between the price billed to the insurer and the price billed to the homeowner is technically a breach of contract between the insured and the insurer – regardless of whether it was facilitated by a contractor. This is also why there is no reason to get estimates. If the estimates and work done are less than the approved amount by the insurance company, they will deduct the difference from the claim. The homeowner does not get to keep the savings.
Claiming you didn’t know the law is not an excuse for breaking it
Ignorance will not get you out of being in trouble if the insurer were to catch you or your contractor committing fraud. Your best option is to stay away from contractors making those kinds of promises to you. LR Contracting Inc. will always follow the laws and will provide only the highest quality in materials and craftsmanship available. Why would you expect anything less from your contractor?
To learn more about insurance laws – go to http://www.dora.state.co.us/insurance/
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Denver, Colorado and surrounding areas - Parker, Littleton, Commerce City, Aurora, Arvada, Thorton, Congress Park, Englewood, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lakewood, Boulder
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