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Thread: Is this really how it works?

  1. #1

    Is this really how it works?

    So we had a CRAZY hail storm a couple weeks ago that obliterated my roof (along with some windows and siding). Obviously my 1st call was to my homeowner's insurance provider. Standard deal - they sent an adjuster out who determined that I need a new roof and they will pay $XXX to have it done. While the insurance company was getting their ducks in a row, I contacted 3 roofers that I was put in touch with by friends who had been through the same ordeal a couple years ago. the storm was pretty severe and it seems like everyone in town (exaggeration) is getting a new roof, no questions asked. After a short stint of due diligence, I asked each vendor for an estimate, thinking that's the wise thing to do and was blown away by the collective response. Each one of them mimicked the other in essentially saying: "Tell us how much your insurance company is willing to pay and then we'll give you an estimate.". I get wanting to work with apples and apples but that just seems off to me. Their claim is that they usually end up taking a hit when having to deal with insurance companies and all that. it's not like I could even keep any extra $$ if i found a "discount" roofer that would cut some corners as the check goes directly to whichever vendor I choose, but damn... just for keeping a general check on how things work, shouldn't I be able to request an estimate and get it? From there, if they want to know an exact dollar figure for what insurance will be doling out that's one thing, but I can't help but think that estimate is going to be pretty dang close to what AmFam says it should cost. and there's probably a reason for that... it's probably what the job is worth... that's what they pay their adjusters for. But if that's the case, why refuse to give the estimate (reserving the right to add and remove line items as necessary to match the adjuster's assessment) in advance? i could be quite far off base here, but I work as a contactor (of the IT variety) and would not feel I was acting ethically in denying someone a quote/bid/estimate for any reason. Yes, adjustments for budgetary concerns, or any reason for that matter, are always a possibility, but this whole "tell me how much money you're getting and I'll tell you how much it costs" thing doesn't sit right with me. Am I being shortsighted or otherwise missing something here?

    *************************************************************
    *** c4/c5 incomplete *** Injured in Summer 2003 ***
    *************************************************************

  2. #2
    Sorry this happened to you.
    We have had our roof replaced twice. Once from hail damage and once from a tropical storm.
    Be careful. The roofer may be local but, after a storm, roofing crews drive in from all over the continent to do the work quickly and then disappear.
    The roofer wants to know your insurance max so he can figure out how much to charge you. From that amount he hires his roofing crews, often based on the lowest price labor and materials. His personal profit is going to be the highest. The crews get much less.

    This Angies List Article explains it better than I can:
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/...orm-chaser.htm

  3. #3
    I spent a summer a few years back helping a buddy sell roofs.

    He would go out and meet customers, climb on roofs, etc. etc.


    I did all the paperwork in dealt with insurance companies


    Yes, would you describe is exactly how it works.


    You need to get a good contractor and let him get on the roof with the adjuster and try to squeeze every dollar out of the insurance company he can for everything that is damaged.


    The contractor is working on your behalf and points out everything that is wrong with the roof, gutters, and any other damage. The adjusters are not paid to go on the roof and find every little thing that might be wrong or damaged. They represent the insurance company and their job is to minimize the insurance company losses. Unless you are willing to climb up on the roof and no what hail and wind damage looks like you are trusting the insurance adjuster to find everything that is wrong.


    I don't think the contractor is going to give you the time of day unless you get them involved with your insurance company.


    We wouldn't have. I wouldn't even bother returning your phone call. Way too many potential headaches. If I deal with the insurance company, we agree on a price, we agree on what needs to be fixed, I know I'm going to get paid. When you throw the customer and that all creates are whole world headaches that aren't worth dealing with. Insurance companies pay when they come to an agreement.


    Giving an estimate takes time and resources. I wouldn't give you the time of day if you would not put me in touch with the insurance company. I certainly wouldn't climb on your roof. And I wouldn't waste five minutes doing paperwork to work up an estimate. Way too much other business to be had with people that are willing to work with in the standard business norms. White jack around with the guy not willing to do business in the normal way when there are 10 other guys just got hailed on that are willing to work with them?


    If you just had major storms there is plenty of business for them and if you don't want to operate how the industry works your business is not to be worth their time.


    Every situation is different so I could be wrong about your exact circumstances but I've seen that same scenario play out many times.




    Find a good contractor. Let them schedule a time to get on your roof with the adjuster and let them come to an agreement on what needs to be fixed. They handle everything and you should never have to pay out of pocket except for your deductible. Depending on how big your deductible is sometimes the roofing contractors are willing to work with you on this as well. Although it is usually not legal for them to wave your deductible. But there are ways around that.


    You need to get every single thing fixed that you possibly can. If something is overlooked by the adjuster in for five years you might have a brand-new roof but started having problems with flashing, gutters, any other number of things that could go wrong. Don't take the risk and do not trust the adjuster.




    Not trying to be harsh. That's just the way the business works. Hopefully you get my point. Make it easy on yourself, make sure you're going to get reimbursed for everything and get a good contractor.



    Depending on how the storm is the changes are your insurance rates will be going off in the next few years to pay for all those roofs. You don't want to be the one clown in the neighborhood that didn't get everything fixed because he relied on the adjuster and not contractor.


    You pay for that insurance every year. Your policy reimburses you for damages. Don't leave a nickel go on the table




    Quote Originally Posted by daveh0 View Post
    So we had a CRAZY hail storm a couple weeks ago that obliterated my roof (along with some windows and siding). Obviously my 1st call was to my homeowner's insurance provider. Standard deal - they sent an adjuster out who determined that I need a new roof and they will pay $XXX to have it done. While the insurance company was getting their ducks in a row, I contacted 3 roofers that I was put in touch with by friends who had been through the same ordeal a couple years ago. the storm was pretty severe and it seems like everyone in town (exaggeration) is getting a new roof, no questions asked. After a short stint of due diligence, I asked each vendor for an estimate, thinking that's the wise thing to do and was blown away by the collective response. Each one of them mimicked the other in essentially saying: "Tell us how much your insurance company is willing to pay and then we'll give you an estimate.". I get wanting to work with apples and apples but that just seems off to me. Their claim is that they usually end up taking a hit when having to deal with insurance companies and all that. it's not like I could even keep any extra $$ if i found a "discount" roofer that would cut some corners as the check goes directly to whichever vendor I choose, but damn... just for keeping a general check on how things work, shouldn't I be able to request an estimate and get it? From there, if they want to know an exact dollar figure for what insurance will be doling out that's one thing, but I can't help but think that estimate is going to be pretty dang close to what AmFam says it should cost. and there's probably a reason for that... it's probably what the job is worth... that's what they pay their adjusters for. But if that's the case, why refuse to give the estimate (reserving the right to add and remove line items as necessary to match the adjuster's assessment) in advance? i could be quite far off base here, but I work as a contactor (of the IT variety) and would not feel I was acting ethically in denying someone a quote/bid/estimate for any reason. Yes, adjustments for budgetary concerns, or any reason for that matter, are always a possibility, but this whole "tell me how much money you're getting and I'll tell you how much it costs" thing doesn't sit right with me. Am I being shortsighted or otherwise missing something here?

  4. #4
    Thanks for the explanation, and I don't think you were being harsh. I get what you're saying - makes sense. I can't say that from a customer service perspective I agree with "won't give you the time of day" approach, but that's neither here nor there. I have every intention of connecting any roofers I even talk to with my insurance company - last thing I want is to have to play middle man there. I completely understand that in order to justify taking the time to climb on my roof and work up a quote they need to know that there is money to fund the job, but that can be ascertained and an estimate given without demanding to know the cap up to which they should push their after-the-fact estimate... in my opinion. Regardless, my question was about whether or not this is really how things are done. Jamesrrr, you sound like you're answering with an emphatic YES. Thanks - much appreciated. I also appreciate the advice regarding having the contractor I choose get on the roof with the adjuster to make sure he doesn't 'miss" anything.

    Follow-up question: I know they're not allowed to waive the deductible, but I am aware that they are allowed to pay back to me an advertising fee for planting their job sign in my yard. I touched briefly on this with the 3 people I talked to. They all kind of tap-danced around it. when I asked how much, the most concrete response I got as "maybe a couple hundred bucks". I know of people who have had their entire $1000 deductible covered. Obviously it's their call regarding how much money they're willing to put towards it, but for a job costing almost $30K, I'm wondering if they can't do better than a couple hundred. I'm not trying to run anybody through the ringer... but honestly, if nobody will give me an estimate before hearing what I'm working with from insurance, this may be the deciding factor as all 3 contractors came recommended from friends, have been friendly/cordial enough, are in good (and equal) standing with the BBB and have good reviews elsewhere online. Jamesrrr (or anyone else), any thoughts on the matter?

    *************************************************************
    *** c4/c5 incomplete *** Injured in Summer 2003 ***
    *************************************************************

  5. #5
    When we had a major plumbing issue our homeowners insurance agent provided a contractor they used for this type of work - they did a fine job. We negotiated with the insurance company as we wanted a roll in shower when they redid the bathroom. We agreed to pay the reasonable amount estimated for that part of the job.
    Just wondering if your insurance company can help with this.

  6. #6
    i think thats B.S. they should be able to give you a quote and then say well if this needs fixed or that may need to be fixed and give you a price on that. they are just trying to get as much money as they can out of the insurance. say you were going to pay cash and they would be like oh its 2k but since your insurance will pay 5k thats what it will cost.

  7. #7
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    I get a longer warranty if I use one of my insurer's preferred roofers.
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  8. #8
    I don't know how the plumbing business works but I think roofing is probably a little different because of the overhead you can have involved:

    In roofing there are set prices for everything those prices go up and down just like the pricing of any other raw materials. There is a huge database where all these prices are set so a standard quote may look something like:

    Shingles $25 per square at 100 squares $2500
    Gutters $8 foot at 400 feet $320
    Labor $10.00 per square at 100 squares $1000.00

    So the contractor and the insurance company agree on what needs to be replaced, how much material or labor needed and the material used to replace it.

    If you have cheek shingles it's $25 per square foot. If you have high shingles it might be $35 per square foot. Most of the time the roofing company do not employ a the wrong roofers. They subcontract that part out to contractors that charge them a set amount per square footage of takeoff.

    Typically, everything is marked so that the roofers can make a standard 30% profit. So the more stuff that is placed the more money they make and the insurance companies have to replace anything that is damaged whereas a homeowner may not place everything damaged.

    There is a lot of stock replaced unnecessarily such as vents on the roof they get dented. These debts can almost never be seen from the street and the dents do not hurt the effectiveness of the product. But insurance companies pretty much have to replace anything damaged were where homeowner do not. If you aren't writing the check who cares.


    I've been in business doing sales for 20 years and never seen anything quite like the roofing business. The whole system and process by which it works seems very efficient and wasteful but the way you are insured kind of wins itself to that because as a homeowner you will have no incentive to minimize the costs and the insurance companies give you a policy by which they have to replace anything damaged.


    Believe me, there is a whole lot of shady stuff going on and is very efficient but that is how it works.


    The whole industry kind of lends itself to ever increasing homeowner insurance payments because of the wasteful way to set up.


    But it is what it is and after being involved with her for one summer I can see it changing anytime soon.


    But, I only did it for one summer to make some good cash
    Last edited by JAMESRRR; 06-15-2017 at 05:41 PM.

  9. #9
    Also, the insurance company is only responsible to pay for elevations (sides of the roof) that are damaged. Because of the way storms below and it is very possible that only one half of your roof gets damaged.

    But getting half of your roof replaced is not good for the customer and not profitable for roofer.
    Hail damage can be very difficult to detect and by default older roofs are going to have more damage. Hail damage oftentimes looks like a small round indention the size of a dime, nickel or quarter and trust me many of these guys carry dimes and nickels and quarters in their pockets if you get my drift.

    I personally never got on the roofs and just focused on the paperwork but I do know there was a lot of questionable stuff going on.


    When you get a third party writing the checks and your incentive as a homeowner is to see that cost go up (because you are getting more workplace and have newer stuff) as opposed to minimizing the costs things can get very inefficient.

    And all of your neighbors are doing that. So your rates are going up anyways you might as well get it all replaced.

    Of course, you end up paying for the long run with higher insurance rates, and everybody else doing so you might as well. That is the prevailing attitude and a big part of the sales pitch.


    Kind of crazy. But that's how works.


    I've been doing sales and business for 25 years and been involved in a lot of different things in the roofing business was a whole lot different than anything I've dealt with before.

    The whole thing lends itself to spiraling high insurance costs because of the efficiency, but to answer your original question.

    That is how it works.

    Really, it boils down to one simple thing.

    If you are writing the checks you have every incentive to keep the price down. If your insurance company is writing the check you have every incentive to get every possible thing replaced so the price goes up.


    So from a contractors point of view who's going to be more profitable?


    I can't think of any other industry where the customer and the contractor might be working together to see the cost go off as opposed to holding costs down.

    That is probably more information than you ever wanted but I asked the same question to myself many times until I get used to it.

    Is this really how this business works? Yep, it sure is.




    When you get a third party writing the checks and your incentive as a homeowner is to see that cost go up (because you are getting more workplace and have newer stuff) as opposed to minimizing the costs things can get very inefficient.
    Last edited by JAMESRRR; 06-15-2017 at 06:05 PM.

  10. #10
    Also, roofers that ended in the business for a long time often times had very cordial relationships with the adjusters.

    Insurance adjusters can get extremely busy when a storm comes through and just like anything else they would further work with contractors that they are familiar with, that get the job done, and don't create a lot of future hassles.


    We had a customer that had a slate roof (very Expensive). The adjuster for the insurance company offered up about $25,000 to pay for it. Our guys get on the roof looked at it and determined that it would cost closer to $50,000 to place everything.


    So they rescheduled the time for the adjuster and the contractor to meet a get on the roof together so they can agree on everything that person need be placed.


    We were scheduled to be early on Friday morning. We got down there and it was just starting to sprinkle a little rain. Not much, but just enough to make you nervous. Many adjusters just are not comfortable climbing of 30 foot ladder and getting on the roof.


    Long story short. It was Friday. it was very busy and this guy did not want to get off the roof even if it was completely dry out. So, it was agreed that the contractor would take the adjusters camera up on the roof with a get picture while the adjuster waited on the ground.


    After pictures they sat down and agreed on what needs to be replaced and take a very close to that $50,000 number.


    Of course, the adjuster really had no idea what elevations were in the picture and it really didn't matter. He didn't want to climb on the roof. Especially not to sprinkle. And he didn't want to reschedule for Saturday of his got to deal done.


    If you are the adjuster and would prefer not to climb on 30 foot tall roof it is very handy to have a relationship with a contractor that you can work closely with.


    I don't think the situation above is the norm but I saw things like this happen.


    Your adjuster is in from out of town for a month want to get your point home for the weekend and have four or five roofs to get on you would much rather be working with somebody you can do business with them somebody can be difficult.


    That was how I saw it work.

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