A Storm Has Hit...Now What?

By Fred Grove, COO | 123 Exteriors

During my time in the storm restoration industry, it seems like I have seen it all. One of the things that I see again and again that really bothers me is the local media. In an effort to help and “protect” the citizenry that have been affected by severe hail or wind events, the media, be it the local newspaper or television station runs an article or news report that is largely inaccurate, misleading and sometimes irresponsible.

The latest incarnation is this article by Jim Gallagher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 23, 2016 following a large hail event in the area on May 11. 

In this article Mr. Gallagher sources the local BBB, a public insurance adjuster, and a local representative of American Family Insurance. Why not talk to a reputable roofing company like 123 Exteriors? Why not get the perspective of a company that actually completes the necessary repairs and warranties the work?

The insurance company certainly plays a vital role in the process. After all, they are writing the check to facilitate the repairs. However, the American Family Insurance representative said that if a homeowner thinks they have damage they should file the claim and rescind it later if it is determined that they have no damage. This is flat out bad advice.

What most insurance companies recommend to a homeowner that thinks they have damage is to have the home inspected by a reputable contractor who will render an honest, realistic opinion on the level of damage and the proper recommended course of action. Why file a claim that may or may not be necessary? At least the public adjuster sourced in the article saw the flaw in this advice and recommended against it.

Another misguided attempt to help was put forth by a representative of the local BBB who stated that people with damage should collect three bids from contractors. This is archaic thinking and completely outdated in today’s world.

With today’s sophisticated estimating software used by insurance adjusters, there simply is no need to go to the trouble of collecting estimates from contactors. All it does is waste time.

Finally, the article gives the obligatory warning about storm chasing contractors going door to door who prey on the helpless, unsuspecting populace. Of course we must recognize that there are bad people in every industry and bad contractors that you should keep an eye out for.

However, not everyone who knocks on doors after a big storm is an evil storm chaser looking for their next victim. There are also representatives of good, reputable local contractors in the neighborhood that are honest and looking to help affected homeowners through the confusing and sometimes downright scary insurance claims process.

Any moderately tech savvy homeowner can conduct a reasonable amount of due diligence on the contractors they are dealing with via a simple google search. The homeowner should simply do a little checking on the internet and then choose the contractor that they feel comfortable with.

Warning the population about bad storm chasers is only part of the story. The other part of the story, which the media fails to mention, is that in these big storm situations, it is the good contractor that is there with the homeowner from beginning to end and beyond. It’s the good contractors that actually make the repairs and stand behind their work, taking the residents through the process and putting the houses back together again. You see, long after the insurance companies have left, the good contractor is still there, in the neighborhoods, making the repairs and providing a valuable service to the community.

Next time, maybe the newspaper will call and get the expert opinion of a contractor with a good reputation and print the other side of the story.

123 Exteriors has spent a decade providing superior roofing, siding, gutters and window replacement services to our customers in St. Louis, Chicagoland, Milwaukee, Columbus and Cedar Rapids. If you think your home might have possible storm damage, schedule a no-obligation inspection today. We provide you with a comprehensive report of any damage we find and will go over your options.