Hailstorms and Your Roof

Whenever a Colorado hailstorm rips through a community, homeowners are faced with the task of hiring a roofing contractor to inspect and repair the damage. The Colorado Roofing Association would like to remind home and commercial building owners alike, that there are several guidelines you should follow that will help you make an informed decision and to ensure that any necessary work will be done right.

Roofs… First line of defense against Mother Nature!

Why should I repair/replace the roof? Roofs are one of the most important parts of a home or building because they protect the structure from the natural elements such as wind, rain, fire, ice, snow, extreme heat and hail. If you have a damaged roof, you’re likely going to have problems within your home or building. After a severe hailstorm and depending on the size and density of the hail, your roof could fall into an accelerated rate of damage that leaves you vulnerable to leaks. Over time, if ignored, water that leaks through tiny holes in your roof caused by hail can lead to serious problems on the interior including water damage, mold and other structural issues, as well as a roof collapse.  This is why it’s imperative after a hailstorm that you get a professional to evaluate and assess the damage.

Review Colorado Residential Roofing Law

ATTENTION – ROOFING SPECIFIC LAW YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF!  On 6/6/2012, Colorado’s legislature passed new residential roofing laws C.R.S. 6-22-101 thru 6-22-105 (SB38). Be sure to educate yourself on the new requirements before selecting a contractor for your Denver roof repair needs.

DON’T SIGN ANYTHING

If you are asked to sign anything by a solicitor knocking on your door, don’t sign it right away and don’t assume it is just an estimate or permission to get on your roof. The majority of the time it is a roofing contract and probably includes a 20% cancellation clause.

Be Patient

Take time to follow the necessary steps and understand that quality contractors will be busy shortly after a major storm. Find out what you need and who you’re working with! If your roof isn’t leaking, it can usually wait until the contractor you feel most comfortable with can schedule your roof. Insurance companies will usually extend time requirements in disaster situations.

Call your Insurance Company

It is solely the insurance adjuster’s job to assess the damage. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to choose the roofing contractor. Deductibles and insurance quotes should remain between the homeowner and the insurance company. A roofing contractor should not get involved in paying a deductible for a homeowner. It is illegal for a roofing contractor to offer to cover your deductible either in full or with coupon or advertising allowance (Colorado Revised Statute 18-13-119.5). They shouldn’t need to see an insurance quote in order to be able to do an INITIAL estimate for you.

Understanding the Claims Process – to understand how the homeowners claim process works, we suggest you visit the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association’s website. RMIIA has helpful information to answer your insurance questions and a step-by-step guide to educate you on the insurance settlement process. Reviewing their “Hail Statistic” page will also help you become more informed and offers additional tips on what to do after a hail storm including a Hail Preparedness Toolkit flyer.

Helpful Tip – When is the last time you reviewed your homeowners insurance policy. If you haven’t looked at it for a few years, you may find that you no longer have the same coverage you signed up for. With the dramatic increase in natural disasters, insurance companies are changing their policies. For example one “top 5” insurance company will no longer replace a roof older than 20 years and roofs older than 10 years are at replacement value. Deductibles for roof claims are also much higher then they used to be. Our advice – be sure to review your homeowners’s insurance coverage once or twice a year to ensure that it’s kept pace with your property’s value, has taken renovations and additions into account and other factors. Don’t wait until after the hail has hit!

Get a Professional Second and Third Opinion

When selecting your Denver roof repair contractor, or a roof repair contractor anywhere, it is a good idea to have more than one contractor evaluate and assess the damage. Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples in each bid and that you understand the proposal. A good estimate should be detailed, itemizing materials to be used and labor to be completed. Ask about a time-frame for the proposed work. While it is difficult for contractors to pinpoint an exact start date, they should at least be able to confirm a schedule for the work once it has begun and/or material has been delivered.

Check Out the Contractors

This is probably the single most important thing you can do to make sure you are a satisfied customer. A business history in the area is a must! A rule of thumb is that your contractor should have been in business in your community for at least as long as the warranty they offer. Call local references including friends and neighbors, as well as the BBB. Find out their permanent business address and phone number. Confirm that they are licensed as necessary with your local city or county building department so that your local building codes and requirements will be followed, including pulling permits and project inspections.

Common Sense

From start to finish, use good common sense when selecting someone to work on your home. Low bids can often mean someone is cutting corners to make a profit. Price should not be the sole determining factor when choosing a contractor. Determine your needs, don’t allow yourself to be pressured, make a smart decision and you’ll be pleased with your investment.

The Agreement

The agreement should clearly state materials to be used and labor to be performed, along with terms of payment and who is responsible for permits, etc. It should spell out how long you have to accept the prices quoted as well as if there are any penalties should you choose to cancel the contract once it has been signed. As of 6/6/2012, contracts in Colorado MUST HAVE a price (not just a phrase saying they’ll do the roof for whatever the insurance company pays). Never sign a contract with blanks. When you are ready to sign the actual contract, be sure that EVERYTHING you have agreed to is in writing.

Proof of Insurance

Proof of insurance, including Workers’ Compensation and General Liability, should be verified before the contract is signed. And don’t stop there! While insurance will protect you monetarily, a contractor’s safety practices will spare you the emotional anguish, if not legal hassle, of an injury occurring on your property. Ask your contractor if they provide safety training to their employees or if they will engage in any type of formal safety plan while on your property. OSHA requires that all roofing contractors use fall protection.

Payment

Payment should not be made until you are satisfied with the completed work. Ability to finance labor and materials is a sign of financial stability of the contractor. If material is delivered to your home and then payment is requested, consider making a joint check payable to both the contractor and material supplier. You may ask for a full lien release as a condition of final payment.

Warranty

This should be in writing and the contractor should be able to provide you with a sample for your review before signing a contract. From start to finish, use good common sense when selecting someone to work on your home. Low bids can often mean someone is cutting corners to make a profit. Price should not be the sole determining factor when choosing a contractor. Determine your needs, don’t allow yourself to be pressured, make a smart decision and you’ll be pleased with your investment.