Jul
28
Filed Under (Homeownership) by Jeff Aughey on 07-28-2008

Does your roof need replaced?I’ve noticed an alarming trend lately in the Alpharetta and Johns Creek areas involving roofing companies and “hail damage” claims against homeowner policies.

There are roofing companies out there that appear to be “drumming” up business by soliciting unnecessary roof replacements that are paid for by homeowner’s insurance. The sales tools include area maps marked up with big red circles around areas that have experienced “hail activity” and yard signs.

It also tends to happen more with some insurance carriers than with others. I asked about it with one of these roofing companies recently and their first question was “Who is your carrier?” the second comment was “They are tough, you probably won’t get it.”

So I have to ask…

  • If a roof is 20 years old and has already seen its best years, how can a roofing company tell the homeowner that they only need to pay their annual deductible of, say $500-1000, and they will receive a new roof?
  • How much extra premium is tacked on to the homeowner over the course of years for such a claim and how much fleecing of the insurance companies is going on?
  • What are the insurance companies doing about this trend?

I went to my insurance agent, Rick Taylor, of State Farm with my questions. He said I’m right, and that there has been a problem with these type of claims lately. State Farm has been sending out their own inspectors when these types of claims are made. He said that AllState is now following State Farm’s lead and is now doing the same thing to protect their clients, but many of the smaller companies are still simply approving the claims.

Getting a new $8000 roof for a $500 deductible may sound like a great deal in the short term, but the rise in premiums isn’t. Rick said that the rate hike may be as much as 30% and that verifying legitimate claims and denying bogus ones protects his own clients’ insurance rates.

He relayed one incident where a homeowner called with concerns about their roof following a hail storm. He immediately sent out an inspector who took photos of the roof, and noted that was in good condition. Two weeks later, the homeowner called again, after a roofing company had sent someone up to inspect the roof. When the insurance inspector arrived a second time, there was intentional damage to the back side of the roof, apparently caused by a hammer.

Although this was a single incident, Rick warned that some unscrupulous roofers will stop at nothing to “create” business and he wants to warn and protect his clients from such poaching.

Want to learn more about roofing? Visit my eguides section on roofing.

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Comments:
67 Comments posted on "Hail Causes Roof Damage or Opportunistic Insurance Claims?"
Larry Bailin on January 23rd, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

I think you went to the wrong insurance company. 9 houses in my immediately area had hail damage and had roofs replaced. Non on them were insurance with State Farm. 4 houses were rejected and all were insured with State Farm, which leaves me to believe that State Farm likes to collect premiums but does not want to pay claims. I’m going to take it up with the Georgia Insurance Claims Department, who already told me they have a bunch of claims, all against State Farm!!!


Jeff Aughey on January 23rd, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

Thanks for taking time to weigh in. The point I was trying to make is that there is a good bit of manipulation and defrauding of homeowner insurance companies through hail damage claims. State Farm and now All State have processes in place that help prevent roofs that are not significantly damaged by hail from being replaced on just the word of a roofing contractor that has self interest in the determination of damage. I was not trying to imply that State Farm is the best company to use to insure your home. I think consumers are wise to compare policies and quotes from a few companies before deciding which one to go with. I wish you the best with your situation. Jeff


Theresa Grabowski on February 9th, 2009 at 10:48 am #

Our house was hit by hail twice. A majority of the neighborhood got new roofs. 8 neighbors surrounding our home got new roofs.

The State Farm inspector told us that the hail damaged all vents (15 marks, but no cracks per vent) and would replace them. He said hail did hit the roof and can see the marks. But no new roof.

The standard that the inspector wanted to replace the tile was only if the tile had a hole in it.

My arguement is how is it that I have selective hail. Hail that damaged the tile will shorten the life of the tile.

My story is not new. This is the same story of other State Farm customers.

State Farm has been my company for over 25 years. No claims ever. Now when I do have a claim, they don’t want to pay out. Does State Farm understand that they are in the business of sometimes paying out?


Dee on February 12th, 2009 at 10:52 am #

It’s scary to be on the other side of this because although fraud is common, there are plenty of us who do not wish to file a fraudulent claim, but have stress over the idea that we’ll be accused, and not have the coverage that we need. In our area of Kentucky, we had major damage all around from the wind storm in September of 2008, but none at our home. Then came the ice storm in 2009, which has pulled the gutters loose from the house due to the weight of the ice. Then another wind storm only a week later! Today we had shingles on our lawn. Are they ours, or from a block away? We don’t know yet. But because of the current economic situation and the tendancy for the insurance companies to be self-serving, I am fearful of what might happen. We have carried State Farm insurance for auto & home for more than 20 years. We’ve made one auto claim during that time, and never any claim on the homeowner’s policy, and I deeply fear I’m about to get screwed. I called State Farm and was told an adjuster won’t do an inspection unless we file a claim, and then our rates will go up due to having a claim reported. In what universe does that make sense? Why would they not do that to protect their own interests without slamming me?


Jeff Aughey on February 12th, 2009 at 11:02 am #

Hi Theresa, Thanks for taking time to post your experience. My article was not intended to promote State Farm for homeowners insurance but rather to point out that many roofs are currently being replaced through claims that are fraudulent. For instance in my neighborhood, many homeowners have taken advantage of insurance claims to get a new roof when only limited hail storms have hit our neighborhood. The roofs were already between 18-20 years old and near the end of there life anyway. Roof companies canvassed door to door to drum up business and in my opinion replaced many roofs that were not damaged by anything other than old age. Fraudulent claims cost everyone with higher premiums. Of course there are situations such as yours appears to be where an insurance company denies coverage when they need to honor their responsibility. I wish you all the best, Jeff


Jeff Aughey on February 12th, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

Hi Dee, Sorry to hear about the damage you recently had in KY. I have a friend in Ky and she has told me about what you all have been through there. I hope State Farm treats you right. I carry State Farm insurance on my home but fortunately have never had to file a claim. I wonder if your agent would come out for a quick look before you file a claim. I would be interested to hear how you feel State Farm treats you after they come out to inspect your damage. (I may have to write another blog about the experiences that I am hearing about from other State Farm clients) Please write back in the future if you think of it. I hope this all gets resolved to your satisfaction. All the best, Jeff


Mike on February 23rd, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

Jeff,

I appreciate the information you are providing on this. We live in Roswell,GA and are going thru a similar situation. My wife met with a contractor who was handing out pamplets in a nearby neighborhood. They then asked her to sign a contract with them to negotiate with our insurance carrier. They met personally with our insurance adjuster to inspect our roof and the insurance adjuster wrote a check for $6800 with essentially no questions asked. We have not proceeded with the work because I’m worried that this now seems to be good to be true. Do you have any additional advice on how we should proceed?

Thanks, Mike


Jeff Aughey on February 23rd, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

Hi Mike, There are only two possible downsides to accepting the the offer. One would be if they increased your premium substantially and the increase totaled more than $6800 over the time you live in the home. The only other possibility I can think of would be if you had to file another claim regarding another matter and they dropped you all together. It could then be costly to get another company to pick you up. Call your agent if you feel they would offer you an honest opinion on these questions and you want their answers.

If your roof is damaged then I would go ahead and be happy that your company covered it. After all, that is what insurance is for. The companies have to change their policies if they are getting taken advantage of and it sounds like you had real damage.

Make sure you have a reputable, local company install your roof. I have heard there are out of town outfits running around installing roofs. I would not use them because there is no one to handle service issues if you have a problem. Also consider paying the upgrade cost for architectural shingles if it makes sense in your neighborhood. Some homes look much better with that type of shingle. Don’t forget to get approval from your neighborhood home owners association if necessary. All the best, Jeff


jb on March 4th, 2009 at 11:26 am #

Mike & All,

I am a victim of the latest hail/wind storms that traveled through Georgia over the past month. Several shingles (10-15) have fallen off and in one spot it is down to bare tar paper. I had someone come out and put up temporary shingles but they blew off over this last weekend. I know of at least 3 homes within 300 yards of me that have gotten new roofs. I have state farm and have an appointment with one of their adjusters within the week. I have independently interviewed local contractors for replacing my roof. My question is should I have someone (a professional) meet with the State Farm adjuster or should I meet with him myself? I want to come about this as honest as possible as I believe that is the right thing to do.

Thanks,
J


Jeff Aughey on March 4th, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

Sounds like you have damage that is undeniable. If you have a quality roofing contractor that will come over for a free estimate and they don’t mind meeting with the State Farm guy then it probably would not hurt. Please let me know if State Farm replaces the whole roof or just makes repairs to the existing roof. Best wished for a successful resolution. Jeff


Thomas on May 19th, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

Wind, and hail storms are an act of god there fore your premiums will not be increased. Everyones will go up because this area will be considered a catastrophe zone. This is my understanding of how this works


abc123 on June 12th, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

I would like to respond to the comments above.

1. Larry Bailin – Did you see the adjuster actually get on the roofs and mark the hail hits? The circles are real easy to see from the street. Also, it depends on the experience level of the adjuster and the pitch of the roof. Are all of the shingles on the houses in your neighborhood the same age? same type? same color? All of these and more varibles come into play when determing damage to the roof.
Theresa Grabowski – When a hail storm occurs the soft metal on the roof will show damage first. Depending on the size and density of the hail and direction and wind speed all come into play. It sounds like you had algae growing on your roof which would make it a maintaince issue instead of a coverage issue. Also, to the best of my knowledge pea size hail shouldn’t damage a tiled roof. How would hail that only scuffs the algae damage a tile roof? Did a roofer tell you that? Dee – Do you release that insurance carriers have thousands of policys in any geographic area? Now, just imagine if everyone of them wanted a free inspection. That would cost the insurance companies thousands of dollars for EACH storm. Guess who would be paying for it. My money is on the policy holders and not the insurance carriers. If you think you have damage call a reputable contractor that is in the phone book and don’t get lured in the storm chasers sales pitches.
Mike – Do you really think the insurance company is just handing out money? If they gave you a settlement check there is documented damage to your property. Otherwise, the adjuster would be out of a job real quick. Sorry if these answers seem harsh to anyone they are just my opinion.


Bill M on June 26th, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

This thread is not exactly correct. Insurance premiums do not go up because you make a claim that is not your fault. Premiums do not go up from “acts of god” (windstorms, hailstorms, etc.) That is why we purchase insurance to protect us from the unexpected. I have been an adjuster for 13 years. They can not raise rates on a case per case basis. They will raise your rates by the geographical area that a storm has affected. So realistically it is more intelligent to go ahead and file the claim.


Chad Conner on July 20th, 2009 at 8:07 am #

I am a roofing consultant and I sell door to door. I am consistently surprised at how overly cautious so many of you are. If your neighbors are getting roofs, there is definately damage. Nobody in their right mind would write a check because some contractor said there was damage. They write a check because there IS damage. And why are so many people always backing up the Ins. companies? Google State Farm Hail. You will find that they were sued in Indiana because they denied so many legit claims that the state had to step in. Ended up paying out $275,000 on denied claims. Doesn’t sound very trustworthy to me. Get a good contractor and everything will be fine.


Jeff Aughey on August 5th, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

Hi Chad, Good to hear from someone that is out in the field. My point is that there are contractors that are not as honest as you and the company that you work for. Many of the insurance companies are writing checks without sending their own representatives out to verify the claim. That is the problem. They set themselves up to get taken advantage of. Now of course not all insurance companies are dealing fairly with homeowners. They have their own faults. All the best, Jeff


Molly B on September 2nd, 2009 at 11:39 am #

In April, we took pictures of golf ball sized hail at our neighborhood. A neighbor had a company come out and tell them they had hail damage. They and several others got approved. We now have had two GAF Elk installers come out and say there is no doubt. We have 4 times the qualified dents in the shingles. Now State Farm says, no hail damage, just cosmetic. I have gone to GAF Elk for their information and will talk to my agent. Something seems fishy all around, but I want to get legitimate work done if it is necessary. Has anyone won an appeal with State Farm?


jess on September 5th, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

I also work in the hail business and let me say I am an expert in this type of field and your information is misleading. First of all your rates will not go up if you make the claim due to (an act of nature) If its a catastrophic area your rates may go up whether you make a claim or not. Second, Its not up to the contractor whether or not the roof gets approved. Its up to the Insurance adjuster. So in the end the Insurance has control over this not the contractor.


Adrian Gregory on September 12th, 2009 at 9:11 am #

We have been covered by State Farm since 1992 on all of our insurance needs cars homes et all. After our roof was damaged by hail they sent out an estimator who did not even look in the attic. There are water leaks on the living room ceiling, and water damage to the lower level. He appeared real biased from the get go and said that he can see the whole in the tiles but not deep enough to cause leaks?
I will be getting an independent contractor estimate and take pictures of all the damage in and out. The lawyer said that we need all the evidence to sue not only for the roof but also to the internal damages to the ceiling, structure and all.
They have paid for the house across the street claim, and it just looks like they want to use any available reason to deny or reduce the payment.
It will cost them a whole of a lot more after they are ordered by the court to pay for all damages and legal fees and punitive awards.
Document everything, take pictures, have estimates. The insurance companies have big lawyers on their side and State Farm in particular appears to hire unqualified or dishonest adjusters accusing honest homeowners of making false claim when the physical evidence is supporting the case.
After all the years that we paid for insurance it is very troubling that those who are supposed to be there for us when needed, are not.
I will contact the media and post on every forum there I can find warning people about State Farm.
I am also in the process of finding a real insurance company that will be there to cover all of our needs.
Hope that other people that have had the same experiences will contact me at: drjustice454@gmail.com This may turn into a class action law suit.
Contact your house of representatives and senators local, state and federal regulatory agencies and let them know about these abuses.


Jeff Aughey on September 14th, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

Thanks for posting your experience. Consensus seems to indicate that State Farm is tough when it comes getting a hail damage claim approved. Best wishes for getting it resolved properly. Jeff


Jeff Aughey on September 14th, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

Hi Jess, Thanks for your post. Let me clarify some of what I wrote. I reread my story and see how it looks like I was saying a particular homeowner’s rate would go up if a hail damage claim was made. I was trying to make the point that rates will go up for everyone when so many claims are paid by the insurers (many of which are not caused of hail damage but natural aging). Are some roofs truly damaged by hail? Of course. Are there homeowners and roofing contractors out there making false claims? The answer again is of course. Yes, I agree with you, it is up to the insurers to put claim processes in place so they do not get taken advantage of.


Jeff Aughey on September 14th, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

Hi Molly, Judging from the posting here, it seems like people are having more issues with State Farm than with any other insurance companies. Golf ball sized hail could definitely cause some damage. Thanks for your post and best wishes with your claim. Hopefully someone will post about their experience with the State Farm appeal process.


Tony Gomes on September 24th, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

I am a roofer in the Atlanta area. There is no way that an insurance company will pay out on a fraudulent claim. We have installed over 12,000 roofs in the Atlanta area and not one time has a company just cut a check with no inspection. Every time there is an adjuster from the carrier who inspects and confirms the damage. Regarding insurance rates; it’s against the law for an insurance company to drop you or raise your rates due to an “Act of God” claim. That being said, the whole of Georgia will see a 2-3% increase in rates due to over 250,000 homes being affected by recent storms. When choosing a roofer make sure of these essential qualifications: Make sure they are local! Make sure they carry CURRENT insurance and will be willing to add you as a rider to their policy. Many storm chasers will set up shop after a storm and seem as if they are local companies. Check id’s and license plates. Always get a list of references. Make sure they have a workmanship warranty! Check both the bbb and ripoffreport.com to see if any complaints have been filed against them. Lastly to the statefarm clients. The reason your roofer told you that SF is the toughest is because they are. For instance one insurance company will have a guideline of 8 hits per square. The other will be 14+ hits. Mr Aughey sir, you are doing your clients a disservice by disseminating wrong information. However I do commend you for posting this blog to clarify and discuss these matters. Everyone knows insurance companies don’t make money by paying out on claims! I will acquiesce to the fact that there are “fly by the seat” companies who homeowners should be wary of! The best defense against these miscreants is a good offense. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

TG


Jim on September 27th, 2009 at 11:14 am #

We’re in West Cobb County and have seen 4 or 5 homes in our little neighborhood receive new roofs, or are in the process of, in the past month. One neighbor told me it was due to hail damage from an early spring storm. We work from home and saw only pea-sized hail that fell for about 5 minutes during the storm in question. I’m surprised that Insurance Companies don’t researh this better – all storm reports, including damage are available for free from the National Weather Service website.


Jeff Aughey on September 30th, 2009 at 9:26 am #

Hi Jim, That is the same thing I noticed and what spurred my blog about hail damage. However, it seems as though there have been a number of areas that have experienced real damage. I would be curious to know from those in the industry, how large does a hailstone have to be to cause roof damage? Thanks for checking in, all the best, Jeff


Jeff Aughey on July 29th, 2014 at 3:39 am #

Hi Tony,

Thanks for your great post. I appreciate you taking time to give your insights and good advice. All the best, Jeff


Mark Smith on October 7th, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

Let an Experienced Insurance Agent, Adjuster, Roofer weigh in. 1. Your rates cannot be raised individually for a storm related loss. How do I know? Cause I am from FL. That should be enough info for most people who have followed the FL hurricanes from 1992 to 2005. I am an Insurance Agent from FL. Here is how it works. If the company wants to raise rates (applies towards weather related losses only) it MUST get Permission from GA DOI. (Dept of Insurance) and must raise rates for ALL POLICYHOLDERS not just 1. Or it can leave the State of GA. Apparently the state of GA is a profitable place to sell insurance as American Family insurance company is now doing business in GA. If any of you want to learn how to save money on your insurance premiums as well as get a new roof for a legitimate claim and only pay your deductible email me. I am an adjuster in GA as well as a roofer and former insurance agent. I will help you get a discount on your insurance too! Because I sell IMPACT RESISTANT ROOFS! Which Underwriters Laboratory have tested and have given the highest Impact Resistant Rating available. So you will be less likely to suffer hail damage with this type of roof! Email me and I will reply.


Jeff Aughey on October 10th, 2009 at 9:21 am #

Hi Mark,

Thanks for sharing your experience and expertise with me. I appreciate your correction of my bad information about premium increases if a homeowner files an insurance claim. All the best, Jeff


Mike on October 19th, 2009 at 6:42 am #

I have worked in the construction industry for 37 years(General Contracting)this is the craziest thing Ive ever seen ! Under the united states insurance commission guidelines set by Haag engineering hail damage is hail damage Period !State Farm is the only company with class action lawsuits against them for so many denials against homeowners with legitimate claims against them and not all of these claims involve contractors,Yes I work for a local roofing company, why are so many people having problems with one company ?


Jeff Aughey on October 22nd, 2009 at 8:41 am #

Mike, Thanks for checking in with your thoughts. It is good to hear firsthand info from someone who has been in the construction industry so long. Seems like many people have issues with State Farm. All the best, Jeff


Clint Blackman on November 30th, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

Dear Jeff:
As a consumer lawyer, I can tell you that you have been miss-informed by insurance spokesmen. Storm claims are not to be “charged” against the homeowner for rate increases. Hail claims are an “act of God” under most policies. And regardless of the age of the roof, insurance companies have contracted to repair or replace their insureds roof if a loss occurs. Period. We don’t let insurance companies not pay fire claims “BECAUSE THE HOUSE WAS OLD.” If insurance companies paid their claims…they would not get sued. Best advice: Hire a lawyer when your insurance carrier denies or short-pays your claim. Don’t let rich insurance companies destroy the value of your neighborhood by not paying storm claims. Sue them and vote for pro-consumer legislators who will make rich insurance companies abide by their contracts to insure you.


chris on December 2nd, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

As a HAAG Certified Roof Inspector, and a “DRUMMER”, I can assure you that “some” insurance companies will fight to NOT pay legitimate claims.
The right of the Homeowner is to have their roof / property put back in pre-storm condition, regardless of the age of the shingle.
I am a trained inspector, and do not tell the homeowner to call in a claim that I do not feel is legit. It can cause major issues. In fact, there are over 15 roofing companies being investigated for insurance fraud in Georgia. They are serious about this.
However, as a professional roofing contractor and from one man’s opinion, the insurance companies watch their bottom line. More than likely, rates will go up. It will be across the board and regardless of if you received a new roof or not, your rate will probably go up anyway to offset the claims from the recent storms. So, in my opinion, if you are in a CAT Zone, you more than likely got hit by damaging wind or hail, so take advantage of the policy that YOU pay for.
There are NUMEROUS storms that hit the Southwest. We have never seen such regional damage, so that is why it seems strange. Of course, everyone needs to watch out for those “storm chasers”, but there are good roofing companies out here.
Oh, by the way, we are stimulating this economy !


Jeff Aughey on December 3rd, 2009 at 8:46 am #

Hi Clint,

I appreciate the correction of my bad information regarding insurance rate increases for filing an insurance claim. Thanks for the heads up, Jeff


Jeff Aughey on December 15th, 2009 at 8:31 am #

Hi Chris,

I am certainly learning quite a bit about hail damage insurance claims from all of the responses I have received. I have been impressed by the knowledgeable responses from those in the industry such as you. I feel bad that my article seemed to indict roofing contractors for dishonest dealing. We all know there are dishonest people in all businesses and I should have been more careful to point out that most roofing contractors are doing a great job for their clients. I suppose I need to do a better job policing myself sometimes. All the best, Jeff


Joe Hoffman on January 15th, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

I have a couple of comments about your posting. I am a roofing contractor with an office in Denver and yes, there is definitely some fleecing happening to the insurance carriers, but not as much as your article makes it seem. Just like in any industry, there are some unscrupulous contractors out there willing to do anything to make a quick buck, but I personally believe the majority are pretty good people. Certainly there is a higher percentage of honest contractors in 2009 than, say, honest mortgage brokers in 2004.

A theory I have heard that sounds plausible regarding this situation is that the recent change in weather patterns is causing more storm cells capable of carrying larger hailstones, and this is the reason for the large up tick in hail claims in the last decade.

The best advice I’ve heard from an agent is to spend a little time finding a quality, reputable contractor and then let them make the call as to whether or not file a claim with the insurance company. If a roofing company has any ounce of integrity they will give you a straight opinion as to whether the damage is there.

As far as different insurance companies being “tough” that is spot on. Different carriers have different requirements for what constitutes hail damage, how much is necessary to total a roof and how much they are willing to pay for it. I have been on many roofs with crystal clear, textbook hail damage and they were denied. There is s definite pattern as to which companies deny and which ones authorize.


Jeff Aughey on January 17th, 2010 at 8:06 am #

Hi Joe,

I appreciate your level headed opinion and I was not trying to denigrate all roofing contractors. The reason I wrote this article in the first place stemmed from my frustration towards those that take advantage of a situation at others expense. I realize that there are bad apples in any business/industry and Realtors are certainly included in that bunch too.

It makes me equally mad to hear homeowners brag about getting their roof replaced when they did not really suffer much damage. I have been at neighborhood parties and heard first hand accounts of what must be close to insurance fraud. Those telling the stories felt like since it was a big insurance company no harm was done by taking advantage of them.

I detest dishonest dealing wherever it comes from. It is apparent from the responses I have received that some homeowners with legitimate claims are getting poor service from some insurance companies. State Farm seems to be the one that is complained about most.

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your views.


Denise on January 25th, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

I just recently started in roofing sales and to my understanding State Farm pretty much denies every storm damage claim 90% of the time the first time the adjuster assesses the roof. You have the right to call the claims dept back and request a 2nd opinion with a different adjuster. Then if you know and your roofing company knows and documents there is in fact damage you can also request a 3rd party come and assess the roof. The 3rd party assessment is not done by State Farm.
You can also contact your States Insurance Commissioner and they will send the an Adjuster from the State out to assess the roof and if the State determines there is infact damage and your insurance company denied your claim then they will be in trouble.


Jeff Aughey on January 30th, 2010 at 8:11 am #

Hi Denise,

Thanks for your tip regarding a 3rd party assessment. I was not aware of that and will pass that info on to my clients that are having trouble with legitimate claims. All the best, Jeff


Cindy M. on February 18th, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

I wanted to comment on the experience we are having with our insurance company – State Farm. Our home & roof is almost 10 years old. We have never had any roof leaks. After the hail storm that came through Milton/Alpharetta in April 2009 & again a few months later we began to have roof leaks in 3 rooms. The hail damage from the 1st storm ranged in size from pea to golf ball (we took pictures). Neighbors all around us in our community were getting their roofs replaced so I finally contacted State Farm towards the end of the summer & asked them to come out and look at our roof. I also had a roofer come out at the same time. The roofer said we had hail damage – State Farm said we didn’t. State Farm said it was normal wear & tear for the age of the home. There was evidence of hail damage on the vents & ac unit but State Farm said there was no damage to our roof. A few months went by & still more neighbors were getting their roofs replaced. With the heavy rains our roof started to leak in several rooms. I called a different roofing company (reputable company that is highly recommended) & they came out & said we did have hail damage & that we should contact State Farm again & ask for a 2nd opinion. The roofing company said that the granules were completely missing from our shingles so the hail dings were not showing up but it was from hail damage that caused the loss of granules. We called & State Farm sent out a 2nd adjuster. The second roofing company met with State Farm. Again, State Farm said our damage was from normal wear & tear & not hail damage yet the roofing company said differently. I have several neighbors who also have State Farm and their claims have been denied yet our other neighbors are getting their roofs replaced (who have different insurance agencies). I don’t understand how State Farm can do this to their customers. We have had State Farm for over 25 years & no claims. They gave us a check for the interior damage but would not do anything about the roof so we have to pay to have our roof repaired/replaced just so we can finally repair the damage inside. Our youngest son has mold growing in his closet while our other son has water leaks going across his entire ceiling. Does anyone know if there is a class-action lawsuit against State Farm in GA? I know there is one in IN because State Farm was refusing to pay claims for hail damage victims there.


Jeff Aughey on February 19th, 2010 at 9:29 am #

Hi Cindy,

These State Farm stories are becoming all too common in response to my initial posting. I hope all of this works out for you and I hope you check back in and let us know if you ever got a reasonable response from State Farm. I will have to review my policy becasue I am seriously thinking of switching from State Farm after hearing about all the problems that people have been having. I wish you all the best. Jeff


Kelly on June 10th, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

Several months ago my home in KY got caught in the wind storm. Shingles were blown off the roof and gutters were torn halfway off my roof. I called my State Farm agent’s office and they assured me that because of my $1500 deductible, it wasn’t worth filing a claim because by filing, I would lose my “claim-free discount” and my premium would go up. Yesterday we had major rain/flooding which caused a first time ever water leak into my kitchen. We now have stained damp carpet in two rooms and the laminate flooring in my kitchen has come loose because of the water damage. (My house sits on a slab.) State Farm tells me today that it’s most likely due to the gutters, which is my negligence for not keeping the gutters maintained, and probably won’t cover any of it. Also, I was told again that if I file a claim or ask for an adjustor to come out, that I would lose my “claim-free discount” and would end up paying more for my insurance! Something doesn’t seem right here!


Jeff Aughey on June 12th, 2010 at 9:17 am #

Hi Kelly,

Sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope it will all work out for you in the end. It is interesting how many people talk about the problems they have had with State Farm. I am not sure yet what to make of it all but I will be checking to see if I need to make a change for myself. I currently have State Farm and they were great when I had and auto accident issue but I am not so confident about the home owners policy I have. I wish you the best, Jeff


Jeff Aughey on July 21st, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

Hi Kelly, Sorry to hear about your problems with State Farm. I never imagined that the simple post I made initially has created such a great deal of interest in insurance issues and specifically about State Farm. I have been with State Farm for many years but have only had to file a claim regarding an auto accident. I had no problem but obviously there have been many people that are not happy with State Farm and homeowners policies. Maybe I need to reconsider my homeowners policy. I wish you all the best in getting things resolved in your favor. Jeff


Jeff Aughey on July 21st, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

Hi Cindy, Wow, these stories about trouble with State Farm and hail claims keep coming in. That was not the reason for my initial blog post but obviously it struck a nerve. After hearing all of these problems I would be hard pressed to recommend State Farm for homeowners policies. You story sounds extremely frustrating. Please let us know how it turns out. The only thing I have heard that may be helpful is to keep the pressure on them and to insist that they cover their obligation. Become the squeaky wheel. All the best, Jeff


Jeff Aughey on July 21st, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

Hi Denise, Thanks so much for stopping by and lending you opinion on this topic. It sounds like good advice to me. I am not one to bash businesses but it seems that State Farm may be making things more difficult than should be for their clients. All the best, Jeff


Ken on August 26th, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

Jeff
There are crooks in every business. I am a roofing contractor and deal with adjustors all the time and most have enough sense to know when roof has been tampered. Reason for you seeing more roofing companys more and more claims is becuase catastrophic storms that hit in araes that have not seen the kind of storms in years. And yes State Farm is by far the worst company out there to deal with I reccommend any gone with them lose them get new ins and may get roof after next storm.


Jeff Aughey on August 27th, 2010 at 8:45 am #

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the input from someone who sees it everyday. I was not trying to disparage roofing contractors in general. You guys earn every dollar you make. You are correct with your “crooks in every business” comment. Plenty in the real estate brokerage business too. All the best, Jeff


Jeff Aughey on August 29th, 2010 at 8:58 am #

Hi Ken,

I totally agree that there are crooks in every area of life, including real estate agents. My goal was not disparage all roofing contractors. I have a used a few excellent ones over the years that I am happy to recommend. I was just trying to point out instances of homeowners and contractors that were taking advantage of insurance companies. The insurance industry is doing a better job of screening now than when I wrote the article. I am also not trying to defend all insurance companies as I know they do not always honor their obligations or always treat their clients fairly. I appreciate you stopping by to share your thoughts. Jeff


Todd Prather on August 30th, 2010 at 11:17 am #

Jeff,

You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about here. I look forward to your future blogs on the ins and outs of the body shop industry and what we should look out for there. After all you probably drive a car, right? That should make you an expert….blog away


Jeff Aughey on August 31st, 2010 at 8:51 am #

Hi Todd,

What an absolute pleasure for you to drop by with your insightful and witty comments! I wish you could have written more to enlighten me on what you disagreed with. It would be fun to debate with you but I am sure I would quickly succumb to your wit and intelligence. All the best, Jeff


LAURA on September 16th, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

I am actually a commercial/residential sales manager for a roofing company and here is what happens on my end…we have many jobs that we get by referral, phone book, internet; etc. However, we do drive and when we see someone that has possible roof damage or obvious wind damage to their roof (whether it is residential or commercial) we stop. We go to the door/office and tell them that they may have damage to their roof. We, as well as many other roofing companies, work for insurance money. We will check out a roof for hail damage or wind damage. If it is obvious, like missing shingles, we do not go on the roof to double check. We give the customer a form to fill out and all that we ask for is name, address, phone number and insurance company name, phone number and a claim number. IN THE STATE OF GA, INSURANCE PREMIUMS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GO UP DUE TO A CLAIM RIGHT NOW. Once we get a claim number, we contact the insurance company and schedule a time to meet them at the home. We go on the roof with them and show them what we see. If it is approved, we start the job. We do not require any money from anyone until the job is complete and the customer is satisfied. You are able to file a claim 3x. If it is denied once, don’t give up. You MUST hold the insurance companies liable for damage you have on your roof. If you wait too long, the wood gets damaged and insurance companies WILL NOT pay to replace the wood. On the insurance there is replacement coverage for your roof. We have never seen an insurance that did not include replacement coverage in the state of GA. We have been in business 30 years and have done it this way for 30 years. We are a very reputable company, we do GA and all the surrounding states (minus FL) and never had a problem with getting insurance to pay out that we could not fix. So, for people saying that premiums go up, that is not true right now. It is different from my perspective :)


Jeff Aughey on September 18th, 2010 at 8:40 am #

Hi Laura,

Thanks for your very informative post. It sounds like you do a great job helping people with not only their roof problems but helping guide them through the claims aspects of the issue. All the best to you and I will be sure to keep you as a contact for possible future business.


Kathryn on March 31st, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

Hi Jeff,
I just read through this thread. Very interesting! I wonder if you moved your insurance coverage from State Farm or not? I live at Zetella, where we were hammered by 2-inch hailstones Saturday. My roof is 9 years old and the shingles looked good before the storm. I have a window that overlooks my porch roof so I notice each day how the shingles look. I also go out that window to clean my gutters, which I had done just a couple months ago. Just after the storm Saturday, I saw that my porch roof has lots of small holes that go deep into the shingles. Clearly, the roof was damaged from the beating it took from the hailstones, but I wonder if it will meet State Farm’s definition of hail damage. I also have photos of the size and number of hailstones in my yard. Many, if not most of the hailstones were larger than golf balls. I have had State Farm for homeowner’s coverage since 1976, and had one claim when someone broke into an outbuilding and stole a few thousand dollars worth of tools. After reading this thread, I wonder if I’m about to get screwed by State Farm.


Jeff Aughey on April 27th, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

Hi Kathryn, I have not moved it yet but I am in the process of collecting quotes from other companies. Not due to the hail damage issue but because I just need to make sure I am not paying too much. I will post here again after I get all of my quotes. Thanks for checking in. Jeff


willinois on August 16th, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

State Farm appears to deny all roof damage claims. I have evident damage cited by several roofers. SF claims adjuster says not hail, but faulty shingles. He won’t put in writing so I can’t go after the shingle company. Then he fell off my roof causing more damage then the hail did. Now I am looking to change insurance after all this.


Leslie Gutkowski on August 16th, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

I actually just had someone come to my house and tell me that they would replace my siding ( which is super old anyways) for what the insurance company would give me for the hail damage. It really did get damaged, our shutters in the front actually have holes in them and there are divits and marks all around the house but you can’t really tell unless you look close. I am questioning if I should file a claim or not, there is damage which we notice before these gentlemen arrived. But I can see them thinking we are just trying to get new siding since it is so old? We have Allstate by the way… do you think I should contact them?


Dave on July 8th, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

Hello all, I am a roofer. Let me say this. The damage that occurs during these storms are very legitimate. Why should you as a home owner pay a premium, have damage to your home after a storm, and not have an insurance company cover it? Bottom line, its damaged…Period. And as far as your premium goes in going up. If there’s been enough claims in your area regardless of whether or not you file a claim, your premium is going to go up just like everyone else’s. Unfortunately, there are roofers out there that are just trying to make a fast buck on roofs that aren’t damaged. Thats what gives the good guys trying to make a living the right way a bad name. A lot of cases insurance companies ask you to get several quotes, this way they can go with the least expensive. Guess what it takes to make it really inexpensive??? Cutting corners. The work I do and quite a few other roofers is excellent, considerate, and we actually do care about the quality of our work, but on the same side of things, that costs a little more money. So if you legitimately do have damage don’t go with the least expensive claim, you’re only taking a really good chance at having shotty work done. You get what you pay for, or you get what your insurance company pays for. Also, you DO NOT need several estimates. Please don’t misunderstand me in saying that I want to gouge the insurance company, but it is there job to replace what is damaged in the best possible way to insure you don’t run into other issues later on down the road. Check with the better business bureau. Make sure theyre legit. Make sure they do good work thats all.


Trinity Storm Restoration on August 10th, 2012 at 9:52 am #

st got home from meeting with a State Farm adjuster in Sachse,TX., Ive worked for a roofing company for two years, assisting Home owners get new roof replacements. State Farm bt far is the most difficult coompany to deal with, they will deny a roof before getting up on it. If a roof has enough hail damage, they should pay the claim, not ever roof has tezxt book hail hits on it, I believe it’s there policy to deny everything. The home owners loses out on getting there property replaced. I also feel, State Farm has it out for any roof company. Think of all the money they save by denying everyone???? The adjusters for the most part have thier minds made up before they even get on the roof. We look out for the home owners best interest, they look to save State Farm money by denying claims. I havent had this ongoing problem with any of the other carriers??????????


Devin on October 8th, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

I am a roofing contractor and about 25% of our business is storm damage. We deal with many insurance companies over the years, and try to predict which ones payout better, easier and quicker. In my opinion no insurance company blatantly denies claims for hail damage/wind damage worse than any other. Most of the time it seems to be the adjuster that is easier or harder than the other. Most of the companies use CAT team adjusters and work for multiple insurance companies for bigger storms. I have worked with the same adjuster for multiple insurance companies in certain storm areas. Most of these adjusters get to know what companies are pushing questionable claims and which companies are asking for legitimate damage. I strongly recommend going with a well established LOCAL company to handle your claim. Have your roofer meet with the adjuster to point out damage. Most companies that know how to work with insurance companies will have the roof premarked and a eagle view with a exactimate estimate ready for the adjuster upon inspection. From my conversations with adjusters it seems that insurance companies will soon start to exclude hail damage on roofing in the near future. They will require additional riders for coverage. My recommendation is to look into using a SBS rubberized shingle for replacement which is hail resistant and my lower your premiums.


Jeff Aughey on October 11th, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

Hi Devin,
Thanks for your informative post. This thread has really grown and improved since my original posting four years ago. I appreciate the insight from someone that in currently working these claims. Best wishes to you and your company. Jeff


Jeff Aughey on October 11th, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

Thank you very much for your thoughts and experiences. I think it is very helpful to have input from roofing companies that deal with these issue everyday. All the best, Jeff


Jeff Aughey on October 11th, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

Thanks Dave, I appreciate your input and you made a number of good points. It is always important to shop for value instead of only focusing on price. Excellent point! Best wishes for continued success, Jeff


Jeff Aughey on October 11th, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

Hi Leslie,

I wish I could give you a good opinion but I am not an expert in this area. If you had coverage that will pay a claim for legitimate damage then it sounds like it would be good to pursue. Good luck with your issue. I hope it gets resolved to your satisfaction. Jeff


Jeff Aughey on October 11th, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

It seems State Farm does not have as many fans as they would wish to see here. I still have State Farm but may need to reconsider my coverage. All the best, Jeff


Carmen Sanchez on November 13th, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

Thanks for sharing this information. Hail damage calgary is not uncommon and this makes me think about insurance seriously. Thanks again for opening my eyes to this situation.


Chris B on January 9th, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

I work for a company that specializes in storm repair. Most people think that using a local company is always the best option. That is not necessarily true. Local contractors are all different just as are “storm chasers.” In CT we have Aspen, Expert, Vanguard, Economic, and Armor Shield. Aspen is under investigation for insurance fruad. Expert uses inferior quality materials. Each company is different. Do your research and don’t assume anything. Each insurance company has different standards for determining whether a roof is a total loss. Typically and adjuster will mark all hail hits in a 10 x 10 area of each slope. Some insurance companies approve for 7 others for 17. Some want bruised matting. Some want brittle test. If your roof life was shortened by the hail storm it is damaged. It doesn’t matter if it is leaking or the age of the roof. You never get a free roof. You pay your deductible for years faithfully. The only company that I have seen an unreasonable deny over and over is Allstate. Just look there BBB rating up and read all there complaints. State Farm has been pretty fair. I have replaced a few roofs with them and not had any problem. Our company is GAF certified. Your experience working with any company could also have a lot to do with the particular salesman you deal with. Some are better than others.


Jeff Aughey on March 22nd, 2013 at 8:18 am #

Hi Chris,

I appreciate you additions to the discussions. I have learned quite a bit since I first posted this blog. Thanks for sharing your expertise. All the best, Jeff


Jeff Aughey on March 22nd, 2013 at 8:20 am #

Hi Carmen, Thanks for dropping by. I am glad you learned a few things from this thread. I have learned quite a bit from the good folks dropping by here and posting their thoughts and experiences. All the best, Jeff


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