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Should I call a roofer or insurance first?

When you discover damage to your roof, it’s natural to feel a sense of urgency to address the issue. However, deciding whether to call a roofer or your insurance company first can be a bit of a dilemma. Each choice has its benefits and considerations, and making the right decision can impact both the repair process and your insurance claim. Here’s a guide to help you determine the best course of action.

Assessing the Damage

The first step in any roofing emergency is to assess the extent of the damage. If the damage is severe—such as a large hole, significant leaks, or structural damage—it may require immediate attention to prevent further harm to your home. However, if the damage is less severe, you may have more time to consider your next steps.

When to Call a Roofer First

There are certain situations where calling a roofer first might be the best course of action:

  1. Immediate Repairs Needed: If your roof has sustained damage that poses an immediate threat to your home, such as a large hole or severe leak, calling a roofer for emergency repairs is crucial. This can help prevent further damage to your property.
  2. Expert Assessment: A professional roofer can provide a detailed assessment of the damage. This can be valuable information when you file your insurance claim, as it provides a clear understanding of the extent of the damage and the necessary repairs.
  3. Small, Manageable Repairs: For minor issues, such as a few missing shingles or small leaks, you might decide to handle the repairs yourself or with the help of a roofer without involving your insurance company. This can prevent potential increases in your insurance premiums.

When to Call Your Insurance Company First

In other cases, contacting your insurance company before a roofer might be the better option:

  1. Significant Damage: If the damage is extensive, your insurance company needs to be informed as soon as possible. They will likely send an adjuster to inspect the damage and determine the coverage for repairs.
  2. Understanding Coverage: Your insurance company can help you understand what is covered under your policy. This can include details about deductibles, coverage limits, and the process for filing a claim.
  3. Avoiding Unauthorized Repairs: Some insurance policies require that you report the damage and follow specific procedures before making any repairs. Unauthorized repairs may not be covered, so it’s important to understand your policy’s requirements.

The Ideal Approach

In many cases, the ideal approach is to contact both your roofer and your insurance company, but in a strategic order:

  1. Document the Damage: Take photos and videos of the damage. This documentation will be useful when filing your insurance claim and when discussing repairs with a roofer.
  2. Contact Your Insurance Company: Inform them of the damage and start the claims process. Ask about any specific procedures you need to follow and whether you can begin temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
  3. Call a Roofer: Have a professional roofer assess the damage and provide a detailed estimate for repairs. Ensure the roofer is aware that you are filing an insurance claim, as they can often work directly with your insurance company to streamline the process.
  4. Temporary Repairs: If your insurance company allows it, have the roofer perform any necessary temporary repairs to prevent further damage. Be sure to keep all receipts and documentation for these repairs.

Conclusion

Deciding whether to call a roofer or your insurance company first depends on the severity of the damage and your insurance policy’s requirements. In cases of severe damage, contacting both as soon as possible is crucial to prevent further issues and ensure a smooth claims process. By understanding your policy, documenting the damage, and working with both your insurance company and a professional roofer, you can effectively manage the repair process and protect your home.

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