From small, localized flat roof damage to a major insurance claim, you want prompt, professional service after a storm. What should you do first? Will the call to the insurance company slow down roof repair?
First Call: Insurance
Even if you are unsure your commercial low-slope roof sustained enough damage to file an insurance claim, call your insurer. Get an adjuster out to your business quickly.
On the telephone, you can start the claims process, talk over your business coverage, learn what is not covered, and get a firm idea of your deductible.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) reminds us that filing a business insurance claim is different from the more familiar process of filing a homeowner’s claim:
- Contact your insurer as soon as possible with your policy number, loss location, cell phone number and any back-up contacts; schedule to meet the claims adjuster at your property, if safe to do so.
- Make temporary repairs and secure your business, if you can do these actions safely; such safety and security measures will not harm your insurance claim.
- Collect your business records from the storm-damaged site if necessary, to minimize business disruption and speed claims for business interruption.
- Keep records of all expenses the business incurs to protect the property; make temporary repairs as needed; make permanent repairs.
- Document everything with photographs, from damaged interiors and equipment to the damaged roof exterior, if safe to do so.
- Ask the insurance company about debris hauling — once photographed, can ruined inventory, equipment, and building infrastructure be removed and hauled away?
- Stay organized throughout the claims process, so telephone numbers, claim reference numbers, photographs, receipts, invoices and estimates all stay in one place.
- Maintain a single point of contact between the adjuster, roofer, and business.
Another way to think of the business claims process: a homeowner is concerned with one family. A business owner is concerned with the business, all the employees’ families, and the supply chain vendors. Recovering from storm damage on a commercial roof is a far more involved insurance claim than recovering from a few storm-blown shingles on a ranch house.
Second Call: Roofer
You need your local, reliable commercial roofer on site as soon as safe and possible. Your dependable roofer can inspect the damage on the exterior and interior. This can only be done safely by trained and well-equipped roofers, not your facilities crew or front office staff members.
Your friendly, experienced roofer will uncover damage the layman may not notice:
- Roof deck stresses, mold, water damage or leaks
- Roof drainage problems caused (or made worse) by the storm
- Dislodged flashing, broken mechanical fasteners, torn seals or caulking around HVAC curbs, or shattered internal drain strainers
- Blunt force damage from falling limbs or wind-borne debris
- Cracked, crazed or damaged BUR
- Blistered membrane
- Missing ballast
The list really is nearly endless; only a commercial roofer can accurately inspect and catalog storm damage to a low-slope roof. Your roofer will provide an estimate for roof repair or full replacement.
Safety is first, of course, but during storm damage repair safety must always be a priority. That vital second call brings a roofer who can prevent further damage and avoid safety issues. Short-term safety challenges are structural — is the roof deck secure? Is water leaking into interior spaces? Long-term safety challenges include problems with indoor air quality from mold and mildew.
Waiting to call a roofer worsens any storm damage. No commercial roof is self-healing, and a delay in getting expert advice and taking action could lead to more damage. A metal roofing panel which has ripped away becomes a liability if it is sitting on a roof, ready for the next wind gust to carry it into your parking lot. An open seam can allow water to start dripping into an electrical closet. Every day that passes with a damaged roof increases your chances of mold and mildew spreading inside.
Roofers usually take clients as the calls come in, so calling right away shortens the time until your roofer can make temporary fixes (and — later — permanent repairs). Even a tarp over your roof the day after a storm is better than waiting six days for full repairs.
Your roofer, insurance adjuster, and you can also inspect your roof’s warranties to fully understand if and how storm damage is addressed. Prompt action may be required to keep the warranties in force.
Major storms bring out shady storm chasers, of course. Avoid them; always work with a local, reputable roofer with a physical address.
After a major storm, your reliable flat roof expert is Damschroder Roofing, Inc. in Fremont, Ohio. Contact us today to allow us the opportunity of giving your low-slope roof a thorough pre-storm inspection. We can help ready your roof to weather the next big storm.