The Ice Dam Insurance Claim – Xactimate Writer WriteLoss
If you are a Contractor or Public Adjuster, chances are good, you have heard of an insurance carrier saying “Ice Dams Don’t Cause Roof Damage.” The last time I was told this by an insurance carrier, I told him “the Jedi mind trick isn’t going to work when the roofing system is actually compromised.”
Ice dams on roofs form when accumulated snow on a sloping roof melts and flows down the roof, under the insulating blanket of snow, until it reaches below freezing temperature air, typically at the eaves. When the melt water reaches the freezing air, ice accumulates, forming a dam, and snow that melts later cannot drain properly through the dam.
Reasons Ice Dam Insurance Claims Require a Public Adjuster or Contractor Scope that shows the science behind the roof failure.
- The casual way the insurance industry looks at ice damn claims means small settlements.
- The building is comprised of systems; roof, insulation, walls, structure. These systems have to be addressed in the repairs and damage assessments for ice dam insurance claims.
- Insurance carriers will often deny or otherwise limit claims based on faulty information of neglect by the owner to report this timely.
As the winter sets in, I was thinking about the hundreds of ice dam claims I have handled for with Contractors and Public Adjusters last year. I have found a simple method of winning the Ice Dam Claim:
- Set a narrative that shows the damage flowing from a point outside to a point inside.
- Show multiple points of entry of the water dam.
- Show the failure of adhesion of shingles and adhesion of flashing which caused the damage.
- Take special care to set the narrative where the carrier will cover the roof. Other code issues should not be pushed until the the general repairs are agreed.
Occasionally a Public Adjuster will say how contractors cannot negotiate insurance claims. This is absolutely true. As a Contractor, you cannot take any proceeds from the contact for working with the carrier. You also cannot discuss the policy, only the scope of the loss that you are bidding.
We provide line item estimates for contractors that simply allow the contractor to “speak insurance” and get the best dollar for their work. When it comes to negotiating the claim and advising the client on what to do, a Public Adjuster is the way to go. As a contractor, having a Public Adjuster you can call in, often makes great sense as well.
Ice Dam Insurance Claims require detail to prove, sharp eyes, sharp pictures, and a strategy. New England is going to have a wet winter. It won’t be colder, but a lot more snow and ice. I suspect we will be dealing with ice dam claims through the summer.
If you need help building your business, getting some sleep, or just want a really qualified partner to help you get the scopes out, let us know.
by David Herring, Estimator and Insurance Claim Specialist