How to Hire a Roofing Contractor for Hail Damage Repairs

This series is continued from How to File a Roof Hail Damage Insurance Claim.

Roof Insurance Adjustment Estimate

The claim examiner approved my insurance claim for hail damage to the asphalt shingle roof. The claim examiner forwarded a copy of the adjuster’s estimate to me which detailed the roof replacement costs for labor and materials. The adjuster’s estimate is a key document that:

  • Itemizes the roof replacement costs for labor and materials.
    The roofing contractor will use these figures to as the basis for the contract.
  • Calculates the Replacement Cost Value (RCV), Depreciation (DEPREC) and Actual Cash Value (ACV).
  • RCV the full cost of the repair/replacement.
  • Depreciation is the decrease in fair value of the roof due to age.
  • ACV is the Replacement Cost (RCV) minus Depreciation (DEPREC).
  • R&R in the adjustment worksheet means “Remove & Replace”
  • SQ means roofing “square” of shingles, equal to 100 square feet area.
  • LF means lineal feet.

Hail Damage Roof Insurance Adjustment Estimate

The claim examiner sent me a check for the Actual Cash Value (ACV) minus my $500 deductible for a Net Claim of $13,855.78, but this falls far short of the $18,434.43 roof replacement cost! What’s going on?!

The difference is the $4,078.65 depreciation (decrease in fair market value) for an 11 year old roof was withheld from the initial claim payment. The reason for withholding the depreciation is some homeowner’s might take the claim check for $13,855.78 and spend it on something other than having the roof repaired. (If you “take the money and run” it can have severe consequences such as having a claim denied for subsequent storm damage that causes the roof to leak and flood the home!)

I made the responsible decision to have my roof replaced which enabled me to file for the recoverable depreciation of $4,078.65 by having the roofing company send a copy of the invoice directly to the claim examiner after the new roof was installed. The insurance company then wrote another check for $4,078.65 for the withheld depreciation. My final out of pocket cost was $500 for the deductible plus $144 to replace three sections of rotted roof deck discovered during the roof replacement.

Here’s the roof survey – layout and measurements – that was used to estimate the material and labor costs:

Roof Survey – Layout and Dimensions

Your roofing contractor will most likely make his own measurements to verify the insurance adjuster’s figures and may order an aerial roof survey as well.

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

Selecting a roofing contractor is a major decision. A new roof is a “big ticket” purchase and you have to put a lot of trust in the roofing contractor to do the job right because you won’t be able to see what he’s doing on your roof, plus you’re relying on the contractor being in business years from now to back up a 10 year workmanship warranty. Most homeowners won’t to know what to ask for in terms of roofing materials, upgrades and installation details. My goal is to provide you with information to negotiate the best deal and ensure you get a quality job.

The selection criteria and questions you should ask a roofing contractor are:

  1. Never hire a roofer that is out-of-state, i.e. “storm chasers”.
    They won’t be around for warranty service or dispute resolution.
  2. Deal only with a factory-certified roofing contractor in your area.
    GAF and CertainTeed are the two largest shingle and roofing material manufacturers in the USA.
    Find a GAF Master Elite™ or a CertainTeed Premier roofing contractor.
  3. Check the Better Business Bureau report for your prospective factory-certified roofing contractor.
    Avoid roofing contractors with less than an ‘A-‘ rating. A company can be rated an ‘A-‘ minus simply because of the limited length of time in operation, but have an otherwise excellent track record.
  4. Ask for references from other homeowner’s in your area for jobs within the past year.
    Reputable roofing contractors should have dozens and dozens of homeowner’s references.
  5. Request a copy of the contractor’s professional State license and local business license.
    Some States, including Georgia where I live, do not have Professional Licensing requirements for roofers. For example, a plumber in Georgia must pass a State exam to be licensed, but roofer does not.
  6. Request a copy of the roofing contractors Certificate of Liability Insurance.
    Minimum coverage limits should be $1 million General Liability, $1 million Personal Injury and $500,000 for Worker’s Compensation. Higher limits are desirable. Roofing work is dangerous and you don’t want an injured worker suing you or some other accident claim going against your homeowner’s insurance. Call the insurance agency listed on the certificate to verify the policy is in force and the coverage limits are accurate.
  7. How long has the company been in business?
    Roofing contractors tend to come and go due to the ups & downs of the economy and housing cycle. A company that has been in business for many years will tend to be more stable and experienced with adequate cash flow and cash reserves to meet operating requirements.
    Dishonest roofing contractors will quickly open & close business under new names (or disappear altogether) in an effort to distance themselves from a poor reputation, unpaid bills and lawsuits. Should the roofing contractor not pay the subcontractor, the subcontractor may file a mechanics lien against your home for the unpaid labor and materials. If this happens, you will not be able to sell your home until the lien is paid.
  8. Ask if the roofing contractor uses the same work crews and how they train their work crews. Does the company have a training manual?
    The workmen on your roof will most always be subcontractors. The busier roofing contractors will be able to retain the same work crews. Visit the company office and ask to see a copy of their roofing manual which sets the standards of competency, workmanship and quality.
  9. Ask who will be the Job Supervisor.
    The job supervisor will be your point of contact for any questions and issues. You should have the supervisor’s business card with cell phone number and e-mail address. The supervisor should be at the job site at least once each day for quality inspections during and after the job is complete.
    The supervisor for my roof was there when work began, walked the roof each day, took photos and reviewed the photos and progress with me. When the job was finished, the roofing crew waited for 30 minutes while the supervisor walked the roof, lifting shingles to verify the roofing materials were install correctly. The supervisor had the roofing crew replace a couple of marred shingles in a high traffic area and make a few minor touchups with paint and caulking. The supervisor then reviewed the final photos with me and asked if I had any questions or saw something that needed attention. Only then was the work crew released.
  10. Ask to see a copy of the roofing contract to read the fine print.
    A good contract should include a “Standards of Performance” which states among other things, that the contractor will not nail toe boards through your shingles, kick-outs will be installed at all corners, flashing installation requirements, the crew will not walk or step on your gutters, the job site will be cleaned up at the end of each day, etc.
  11. How long will it take to replace the roof?
    This is seemingly innocuous question can be a red flag. If one roofer says he’ll bring a crew of 15 men and do the job in a day or two at most, while the other roofing contractors says 7 or 8 men will require at least 3 days (weather permitting), immediately disqualify the roofer who says he can do it in a day. Why? Because the roofer with 15 men won’t be focused on quality and will cut corners because he’s in a hurry to finish the job and get paid. 15 men on my roof would be in each others way and they’d probably working well past sunset in the dark. Do you really want that for non-emergency repairs? BTW, my roof required 8 men working for 3-1/2 days to replace the roof – but my roof has complicated lines and features.

Roofing Contract Negotiations

You should obtain at least three (3) proposals for your new roof:

  • Prepare a short list of qualified roofing contractors per the above selection criteria.
  • Contact each contractor and explain that you have an approved insurance claim and are requesting proposals.
  • Forward a copy of the insurance adjuster’s estimate to the roofing contractors.
  • Make an appointment at your home to review each proposal.

The roofing contractor sales representative will meet with you to walk the roof, check if the insurance adjuster missed anything on the insurance estimate, and go over a contract proposal. Ask questions such that you understand each line item in the contract proposal and how it applies to your roof. Take written notes as necessary.

Thank the sales rep. for his time, explain that you’re comparing proposals from different companies and will make a decision soon. Do not sign anything at this time!

How to Get the Best Roofing Contract

You want to take the best elements from the competing roofing proposals and negotiate with your preferred roofing contractor include it in the revised proposal. Each contract proposal will have unique specifications and insights that you can use to your advantage.

Note that I was NOT negotiating pricing discounts. Why? Because this is an insurance claim for which I plan to recover the depreciation withheld from the Replacement Cost Value (RCV). The roofing company will invoice me for the full $18,434.43 RCV as listed on the insurance adjustment, which I will present to my insurance company for the recoverable deductible. I will also pay the roofing company $500 for my deductible. It would be insurance fraud for the roofing company to give me a kickback, credit, rebate other incentive such as paying my deductible. The State of Georgia passed a Residential Roofing law codified as O.C.G.A. § 33-23-43 which bans these practices.

Since I can’t negotiate a price discount without committing insurance fraud (and a reputable roofing will point out this fact), what I can legally do is negotiate the material, workmanship and warranty specifications. On one hand, the roofer wants to maximize his profit margin by installing less expensive materials and skipping certain installation details to minimize his labor expenses; while I will be negotiating for higher quality items, requiring things be done in particular way, and asking for better warranties that will reduce his profit margin. It’s up to me to do this because insurance adjuster’s report does not go into these details, nor can the insurance company tell me which roofing contractor to hire.

Example roofing specifications that I negotiated were:

What you will be able to negotiate will be highly dependent upon the total value of your roof replacement insurance settlement. The roofing contractor has more room to make concessions on a high dollar job versus a less expensive job. Be polite during your negotiations and mention the competitor included the item in his proposal. Be truthful or you’ll lose credibility because the roofing contractors are all performing the same profit analysis with a “walk away” threshold at which the job is not worth taking. It took me about dozen phone calls and e-mails to work out the final contract terms over a two week period.

Final Roof Replacement Contract Terms

The following are the summary specifications for my hail damage roof replacement contract:

Standard Services:

  1. Remove 1 layer of shingles
  2. Remove all felt and debris
  3. Re-nail and secure loose decking
  4. Replace rotted, delaminating OSB decking at $48 per repair (not covered by insurance)
  5. Replace board decking at $2.95 per foot (not covered by insurance)
  6. Replace rafters at $6 per foot (not covered by insurance)
  7. Install fiberglass-based deck protector
  8. Install plumbing vent pipe boots & rain collars
  9. Paint & seal HVAC vents
  10. Clean out all gutters
  11. Clean work site and remove all debris

Additional Options:

  1. Install new step flashing at all walls, chimneys and skylights
  2. Advanced Leak Barrier System at: valleys, penetrations, chimney, skylights
  3. Install ridge vents
  4. Distinctive hip and ridge caps
  5. Drip edge flashing
  6. Warranties:
    50 Years Mfg Material Warranty
    25 Years Mfg Defect Warranty
    10 Years Workmanship Warranty

Notes and Specifications:

The following were line items listed on additional pages in the contract at my request so there was no “wiggle room” in the contract specifications and scope of work:

  1. Install GAF Timberline® HD Lifetime Architectural shingles – Pewter Gray color
  2. GAF pro-start starter shingles installed to eaves and rakes
  3. 10 year workmanship warranty
  4. Remove tear off, haul, & dispose of existing shingles
  5. Install GAF ShingleMate® fiberglass deck protector underlayment (comparable to 30lb felt)
  6. GAF Systems Plus warranty (50 year man. defect, 25 year man. defect labor, 10 year workmanship)
  7. Install GAF Advanced Leak Barrier® to three (3) dead valleys
  8. Install GAF Advanced Leak Barrier® to entire deck of 3/12 pitch porch roof (2 year warranty in this section)
  9. Remove first 4 pieces of siding on 3 sides of chimney and 10 pieces on the south face of chimney, install leak barrier from deck up up the side of chimney box. Re-install and caulk pre-painted HardiPlank® siding.
  10. Install new flashing at all walls & chimney: install headwall flashing where roof meets wall
  11. Install new flashing kit for a Solatube sun tunnel skylight
  12. Install kick outs all corners penetrating roof surface
  13. Install counter flashing at all stucco walls (BASF SONOLASTIC NP1 will be used to seal top of counter flashing)
  14. Install white aluminum drip edge to eaves (with no hem) and rakes (with hem)
  15. Install GAF StormGuard® Leak Barrier at all valleys, chimney, skylight & penetrations
  16. Install new plumbing boots and storm collars
  17. Install owner supplied Perma-Boots
  18. Install new HVAC cap, collar, and flashing kits
  19. Paint & seal HVAC vent pipes
  20. Remove box vents and repair related decking
  21. Remove and replace existing ridge vents
  22. Remove and re-attach gutter guards
  23. Remove and reattach satellite dish
  24. Install GAF Timbertex® hip and ridge shingles
  25. Blow out / clean gutter system after roof installation
  26. Clean work site and remove all debris

Deposit and Prepayment

I did not make a deposit, down payment or pre-payment for the new roof replacement contract. Payment in full was due upon completion of the work and I alone was responsible; my insurance company is not a party to the contract.

Before and After Hail Damage Roof Replacement Photos

This is the original 11 year old roof (the roof hail damage can’t be seen from this distance):

Original Asphalt Shingle Roof

The new roof with 50-year GAF Timberline® HD Lifetime Architectural shingles in Pewter Gray color:

New Roof Replacement after Hail Damage

Roof and Stucco Wall Flashing Details

The aluminum headwall flashing (where the porch roof meets the wall) was installed before the stucco was applied, then covered with a layer of shingles. The old flashing will be torn and full of holes when the old shingles are removed, therefore the old flashing should not be reused. You can see the aluminum flashing if you look closely below the window on the right.

Original Roof: Stucco and Porch Roof Details

Apron flashing (also called headwall flashing) is installed on top of the new shingles and against the wall. Black counter-flashing is installed over the apron flashing and sealed with BASF SONOLASTIC NP-1 caulk along the wall:

New Roof: Stucco and Porch Roof – Apron/Headwall with Counter Flashing

The next project series illustrates the new roof installation, explaining the details of the roof tear-off and installation process.

Hope this helps,

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2016   Reproduction strictly prohibited.

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23 Responses to How to Hire a Roofing Contractor for Hail Damage Repairs

  1. Vince Peters November 8, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    Thank you for your article, my question is what if a roofing contractor’s estimate is 50% higher than the insurance adjustor’s/estimator’s ACV? What should the property owner do? Thank you.

    • Bob Jackson November 9, 2014 at 8:14 am #

      The Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is what you should be comparing with roofing contractor’s estimate. Discuss the replacement estimate to your insurance adjuster. If the roof is replaced, the insurance company will honor the RCV minus the deductible.

  2. Doug December 10, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    Wish I’d seen this before….just had mine done by the ambulance chasing roofers….regal. 1day wham bam (well into the night) ….5 yr warranty. I just knew there was a lot of negotiating room….but didn’t have the knowledge. I’m going to link to our HOA webpage.

  3. Kim January 30, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Bob- I had a GAF Master Elite roofing contractor inspect the roof for hail damage but was told I have to sign the “work authorization and assignment” form for them to meet with the claims adjuster. Is this normal practice?? Sounds like you have a roofing contractor and claims adjuster accessing your roof without signing the “Work Authorization and Assignmnet” with the original roofer who did the inspection. Do roofing contractors meet with insurance claim adjuster without me signing this form..??

    • Bob Jackson January 30, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

      Don’t sign anything! The roofing contractor is trying to lock you into a no-bid contract. Find another contractor.

      Inspecting the roof, marking the hail damage areas with chalk and meeting with the claim adjuster to explain the hail damage is a routine part of the sales process.

      I chose a different contractor than the one who initially met with my claim adjuster. The 1st contractor was really helpful and I explained to him why I ultimately chose a different outfit (and negotiated significant upgrades). I gave him $100 for his time and effort.

  4. John February 10, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    I was able to get the new roof put on for less that the amount the insurance company adjuster gave us the check for (State Farm, Texas) do I get to keep the leftover money? Also I did some of the minor repair work myself, (installed shutters) will they pay me for my labor?

    • Bob Jackson February 10, 2015 at 9:29 am #

      You can keep the difference between the insurance adjustment and the actual job. The insurance adjustment is a (usually quite accurate) estimate after all. You won’t be paid for DIY work because that would require filing a supplement claim, submitting an invoice and your insurance company might not recognize DIY repairs – see the terms of your insurance policy. It may trigger an accounting for the insurance payment versus the total charges for the contractor and your work. You’d be expected to compensate yourself or other contractors with the “leftover money” for the shutters. It sounds like you’ve been made whole on the overall claim so I’d let it be.

  5. John February 10, 2015 at 12:34 pm #


  6. Paul Morgan April 2, 2015 at 12:53 am #

    Roofing company showed up with a form.

    I did sign the form stating that if I choose to have another roofing company do the job, I must pay roofing company a commission of 3000 dollars for looking at roof for hail damage and meeting with the adjuster.

    It is a good roofing company but I feel like my hands are tied and I have little to no room to negotiate.

    Can such a document really hold up in court when it was signed early in process and not providing any details of the contract. Seems like there could be many reasons why I might not want to use this company. What if I don’t like the product they are offering. What if they make comments that border on insurance fraud???

    Is there a way out of this if I want to go with another company?

    • Bob Jackson April 2, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

      A homeowner should never sign a roofing contract as a pre-condition to inspect and explain the hail damage to the insurance adjuster, especially a contract with an unconscionable $3000 commission / termination clause. I wonder what other lopsided terms and conditions are in the contract that may make it difficult for you to correct unreasonable delays, substandard work, materials or warranties?

      A roofer may spend several hours inspecting the roof, marking and photographing hail damage and a follow-up visit to meet with the insurance adjuster. Suppose it’s a total of 8 hours and that’s on the high side for an average size home. You’ve just guaranteed your roofer will make $375/hour per the $3000 penalty clause for choosing another roofer. Roofers win and lose job opportunities, it’s a normal part of the sales process and performed at no charge.

      Whether or not the contract is enforceable will require a contract review by an attorney and would be my next step. Perhaps a demand letter from an attorney with the likelihood of filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau, local Building Dept, Angie’s List, and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation will be sufficient cause for the roofer to release you from the contract for being too much trouble.

      Keep all records, phone logs and detailed notes of all conversations; a better move is to let the attorney do all the talking. Your insurance adjuster may have helpful advice as factual claims of insurance fraud are a serious matter.

  7. Matt Newman April 21, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    Can you email me what contractor you used? I have a pending claim with the adjustor coming next week and like the work you had done.


  8. Carmelitta M April 27, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    Hi Bob, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience and tips on hiring a roofing contractor.
    We are in the selection process now and I just finished crossing off all contractors who said they would replace our roof in 1 day with about 15 men. We live in a northern suburb of Chicago, IL – Wood Dale – our house isn’t the smallest, but it sure isn’t the biggest. The roofing contractor who we will most likely hire is GAF factory-certified and he is local and guarantees his work. Thanks again!

  9. Steve Bello August 29, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Colorado Springs has high rate of hail damage and too many questionalble contractors. Don’t sign anything, get a free estimate for equal product from 3 local contractors. Deal directly with your insurance claims agent. Demand a local in house local agent that can write you a check on the spot. Beware of insurance for the roofing that is actual cash value, ACV… Your policy will state this on the front page as a separate line item.. ACV means if the life of the roof is 50 percent you get half value of the cost of your type roof.

    • Bob Jackson August 29, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

      > Beware of insurance for the roofing that is actual cash value
      An insurance policy that doesn’t cover the roof Replacement Cost Value (assuming the homeowner has the roof replaced to quality) would be a bad insurance policy. Good point for everyone to check that their policy provides for roof and dwelling Replacement Cost (i.e. the cost to rebuild adjusted for inflation) versus the simple Actual Cash Value.

    • savannah September 15, 2015 at 6:34 am #


      Who did you end up using, I am in Co Spgs and I couldn’t get an estimate BEFORE the roofers wanted to SEE my insurance paperwork. I found that odd, if not suspect. Why can’t a roofer, climb up on a roof and GIVE you an estimate, w/o needing to KNOW what the insurance company has deemed the amount of the claim??? I had hail damage on a ten yr old house. I haven’t signed anything but I just don’t feel comfortable letting roofers KNOW what I am being given for the claim, shouldn’t they KNOW what a job will cost them? And these are roofers in town, with good reps…I have a simple rancher, nothing difficult.

      • Bob Jackson September 17, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

        I contracted with Dr. Roof who serves the Atlanta, GA area.

        > I couldn’t get an estimate BEFORE the roofers wanted
        > to SEE my insurance paperwork.
        Business must be good in Colorado Springs and the roofing companies can be selective in choosing only those homeowner’s with approved insurance claims. If you do have an approved claim, as stated in the project:

        “The adjuster’s estimate is a key document that:
        * Itemizes the roof replacement costs for labor and materials.
        * The roofing contractor will use these figures to as the basis for the contract.”

        > shouldn’t they [the roofing company] KNOW what a job will cost them?
        They do, but many homeowner’s aren’t willing or can’t afford to pay for roof upgrades (e.g. better shingles, etc.) that aren’t covered by the insurance adjustment. So they know what it will cost them but it’s a question of what materials and accessories can be bid for the job.

        So if you have an approved claim, do share it with the roofer and ask for a proposal. Use that as a basis to negotiate better materials and optionally price upgrades (e.g. new gutters) but never sign anything except the contract after you’ve made a decision on which company to hire.

  10. Wilbur December 16, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

    Bob – I am able to have a new roof replacement with the cost less than the insurance adjuster’s estimate. the Insurance will cut the first check (less depreciation amount) and will release the second check(depreciation part) after the work done with invoice as a proof. Do I still have a full amount from insurance which is more than the actual cost of replacement? Do I legally keep the difference to spend something else ?

    • Bob Jackson December 18, 2015 at 9:19 am #

      Call your insurance company and ask how they handle differences between the estimated and actual replacement cost: If higher or lower than the adjuster’s estimate? I suspect the insurance company will only pay the actual replacement cost if it’s less than the estimate with no cash back to the homeowner.

  11. Jaqui December 19, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    Very helpful info Bob, thank you.

    When your insurance company finalized or settled your claim by payment of the RCV, did they give you a settlement document that listed final claim/adjustment details such as ACV, RCV, deductible amounts, etc?

    • Bob Jackson December 20, 2015 at 9:56 am #

      The ACV, RCV, deductible, etc. are stated in the adjuster’s estimate. The claim was “finalized” when I presented the roofing contractor’s invoice to my insurance company and received a check for the RCV minus deductible. I endorsed the check and handed it over to the roofing contractor’s business administrator.

  12. Bridgette January 19, 2016 at 8:21 am #

    I too was skeptical about providing the approved claim information, so your comments were reassuring and extremely helpful, thank you so much. My approved claim includes amounts to paint the interior of my home due to water damage. I am not a DIY person and will need those funds to get the interior painted. When I provide the roofer with the insurance paperwork, should I withhold the painting information or just make clear to them that funds related to interior repairs should not be factored into the roof replacement? Thank you in advance for the response.

    • Bob Jackson January 19, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

      Call your insurance company and ask about invoicing requirements for splitting the claim payments between two contractors. I suspect they’ll want a bill for the roofing job and pay only that portion of the claim. Later you’ll present a 2nd bill for the interior painting to close out the claim.

      > or just make clear to them that funds related to interior repairs should
      > not be factored into the roof replacement?
      Exactly! The key to dealing with the roofing contractor is the roofing contract must only be for the roof repair line items as stated on the adjuster’s estimate. Ditto for the painting contractor.

      BTW – Should the roofing contractor offer to subcontract the painting job for one-stop-shopping, I’d refuse that. The roofer will be taking a cut of the painter’s profit margin and you’ll probably end up with a lower quality paint job and/or paint.

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