THE CLAIMS PROCESS
You Have Storm Damage
A storm has hit your neighborhood and now begins the process repairing your property. Home Masters has a team of seasoned professionals that will help guide you through the process to assure that you receive a fair claim and that the repairs are done correctly.
Below we have prepared a short guide that will help you understand the claims process.
A GUIDE FOR INSURANCE CLAIMS
In the event that you receive storm damage to your property you will soon find that working through an insurance claim is a complicated and exhausting process. At Home Masters we have a team of seasoned claims and insurance specialist to assist you in this process and to ensure that you will receive a fair claim. We will work for you to make certain that your insurance provider has assessed the damage correctly and have priced the cost for the repairs fairly. Once your claim is approved, Home Masters will make the repairs to your property using the best material along with the most skilled labor. When the job has been completed we will provide you with our Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty to give you the assurance that the job was done right and we will be there for you if you ever have a problem.
The Insurance Claims Process
Filing a storm damage insurance claim can be a frustrating and confusing process. You should remember that your insurance company is in business to make money and may try to deny your claim. Below is a 7 Step Guide to make the claims process easy to understand.
Assess the storm damage. Record the date of the storm, signs of damage you can see from the ground, and take
pictures of any damage. Search online for news stories of the storm hitting your area, so you have proof if it is
Contact a reputable storm restoration contractor to perform an inspection of your entire property, including the
roof, gutters, windows, siding and decks, Be wary of "insurance company approved" contractors who have a
financial incentive to save the insurance company money at your expense. IMPORTANT: See Choosing Your
Read your insurance policy carefully and contact the claims department of your insurance company directly, not
your agent. You will be given a claim number and an adjuster will be assigned to your claim. The adjuster
is required to contact you within 72 hours to set a time to inspect your property. Make sure and write this
information down and forward it to your contractor.
Request an insurance adjuster inspection. Insist your contractor is present during the adjuster inspection. Your
contractor's job is to make sure the adjuster plays fair, and provides you with a fair assessment. Remember, the
insurance adjuster works for the insurance company and it is important that you have a professional represent
you at the time of inspection. Also, contact your mortgage company and ask them to provide your with the
information and documents needed to release the funds for your repairs. If you have a mortgage the indemnity
check will most likely list your lender as a payee.
If your claim is denied, don't worry. Your company must repair your property and you are entitled to three
claims adjustments to determine if in fact you do have damage. Remember, even a small amount of damage
should result in an approved claim. Any type of damage can devalue your home and damage should be
fixed immediately before it leads to greater damage down the road. Rely on your contractor to work with
the adjusters during inspections. Believe us when we say that you are no match for these folks.
Once your claim is approved, your insurance company will send you a Scope of Loss which details the damage
to your home and the “estimated” cost of doing the repairs. Call your contractor and review this with them and
make certain that all damage has been reported in the Scope of Loss. The cost of the repairs may be acceptable to
your contractor but if they are not, allow them to negotiate with your company for an acceptable price. The only
cost to you is your deductible which is guaranteed by the provisions of your policy.
You will receive a check for the depreciated amount of doing the repairs and once the work has been completed
your will receive a second check for the remaining balance. Most contractors will ask for the first check when the
material is delivered to your property. When the work has been completed they will ask that you pay your
deductible and sign a release for remaining amount that you will receive from your insurance provider. Make sure
that you have inspected the work to see that all the repairs were done and to your satisfaction prior to final
CHOOSING YOUR CONTRACTOR: Check them out!!
This is the single most important decision that you will have to make during this entire process.
Whether you choose Home Masters, ABC or XYZ, take the time to find out who we are. This is not one of those times to take shortcuts. Do your homework and check out who it is that you are doing business with. Call their suppliers and check their references from folks who they done work for in your area. You may even want to ask to see some of their work first hand to see that it reflects the quality work that they lay claim to.
NEVER give ANYONE money until you have material delivered to your property and NEVER pay in full until you are satisfied with the repairs. If your contractor does not provide you with a lien waiver ask for one. This will protect you from having a lien filed on your property if the contractor does not pay their suppliers.
At Home Masters we pride ourselves in being different. Here are just a few things that has proven to put us a step ahead
of the majority of our competitors.
• LOCALLY OWNED . . . . we have deep roots in the community and are here to serve you now and in future.
• FULLY LICENSED . . . . Home Masters complies with all state and local municipalities concerning licensing,
building codes and taxing requirements.
• FULLY INSURED . . . . Home Masters carries a $2 million general liability policy with a $1 million umbrella which
far exceeds the amount required for licensing.
• PROFESSIONAL STAFF . . . . Our staff of talented professionals is unparalleled. The knowledge and experience of
our sales team and project managers is our foundation to providing a good service.
They are supported by insurance claims specialists who review all accounts to ensure
that the claim is fair and that payment is made in a timely manner.
• SKILLED LABOR . . . . Our crews are true masters of their trade and take great pride in all that they do. Our project
managers have decades of experience in the construction industry and manage and oversee
EVERY job that we do.
• QUALITY MATERIAL . . . . At Home Masters we never trade quality for profit and the material that we use is no
exception. We use material that is proven to be the best quality and using material that
are specific to this area when available. We continually search out new products and keep
up to date on material that are friendly to our environment.
• OUR GUARANTEE . . . . Our Lifetime Craftsmanship Warranty is second no one. We take a lot of pride in what we
do and feel responsible for our work without any limits to time.
COMMON QUESTIONS & MYTHS
I CHECKED & I DON'T HAVE DAMAGE: Damage is not always visible to the untrained eye
Just because your windows aren't broken or your roof is not leaking does not mean that your property has not been damaged. If you do have damage, not doing the needed repairs will most likely cause you problems in the future and then you will be left to pay for repairs that could have been paid for by your insurance provider. Have a reputable contractor inspect your property to determine if and to what extent your property has been damaged. Most contractors offer "Free Inspections" and if they find no damage you will have the peace of mind that your property was not damaged.
I NEED BIDS: My agent told me that I needed to get 3 bids
Getting bids is not required to receive payment for your repairs and serves no purpose and will most likely result in having someone who uses cheap, unskilled labor and substandard material. Your company is responsible to repair your home to "like condition" and you do not have to settle for cheap material and labor to be used for the repairs to your property. Pick a good contractor who has a PROVEN track record in storm restoration and allow them to work with your company to assure that your claim is fair and that quality repairs are made. Remember that cheapest rarely provides for the best in the end.
CLAIM DENIALS: What to do if your insurance company says "no"
It has become more common in recent years for insurance companies to deny storm damage claims that should be approved, hoping homeowners won't file again. Statistics show that of all storm damage related insurance claims that are denied, only 5% re-file. Of claims that are filed again, an estimated 50% are approved the second or third time around. So, if you live in an area that has been hit by a severe storm, and think you have property damage, don't take no for an answer from an insurance adjuster.
It is imperative that you involve your contractor when the inspections are be made. They are YOUR agent and no matter how much you like your insurance agent personally, agents and adjusters work for the insurance company and may feel that their responsibility lie with the company. Your insurance company is in business to make money, not pay out claims. You should be absolutely certain your home has not been damaged before you stop pursuing the claims process.
MY PREMIUM WILL GO UP: A premium increase is likely whether you file a claim or you don't
In the case of a storm, your premium amount is not determined by the amount of your claim but by your zip code. Insurance companies increase rates based upon the losses in your area. If there has been a storm that has caused widespread damage in your area you will likely receive an increase in your premium. So, if you don’t file a claim, your personal rate increase will pay for everyone else's claim except for yours. Beyond that, most state laws prohibit insurance companies from cancelling policies for filing claims in an Act of God storm damage situation. If the insurance company is going to raise rates, they have to raise everyone's rates in your area.
YOUR DEDUCTIBLE: ABC Company tells me that they will pay my deductible
More and more we see a disconcerting trend of contractors who offer to pay the insured's deductible and that puts us in a tough spot. We will not compromise our ethics or use cheap labor and materials to cover the cost paying deductibles. We feel that the extra time that we take to educate our customers on the insurance claims process as well as assuring the homeowner that they will receive the best material and craftsmanship is well worth the effort. Although there are some pretty convincing sales folks out there who are telling homeowners that there is nothing wrong with rebating the deductible but there is and HERE ARE THE FACTS:
• IT IS DISHONEST . . . . and at Home Masters we are honest folks. If a company will abandon their integrity
just to get a job they will also compromise themselves in their products and service.
• IT IS AGAINST THE LAW . . . . Payments for repairs made by your insurance provider are paid only on the
amount that is invoiced by your contractor, LESS YOUR DEDUCTIBLE. To receive anything more,
the contractor would have to “pad” their invoice in order recover the cost of paying the deductible.
That is insurance FRAUD and that is a CRIME, committed by both you and the contractor. A
contractor paying you $1,000 to put their sign in your yard and calling it payment for "advertising"
is viewed as fraud as well. If you have any doubt about this, call you company or your attorney to
verify what we have stated here is correct.
• YOU PROMISED TO PAY THE DEDUCTIBLE . . . . When you secured insurance on your property you signed a
contract with your provider that has several pages of provisions that must be met by both parties
and one being in ALL POLICIES is that you agree to pay the deductible in the event of a loss. You
signed your name agreeing to such and your company expects you to honor that.
• NO MAGIC IN THE NUMBERS . . . . One thing that all roofing contractors have in common is that a roof put on
correctly with quality labor and material varies little in the net cost of the job and the price of paying
deductibles can only be recovered by “cheating” on the roof with cheap labor and material as with
little or no warranties provided to you.
NOTE: If you have doubts or questions concerning deductibles please contact your insurance
provider (not your agent) or the South Dakota Attorney General's office.