It’s that time of year again.
The one where your phone keeps ringing thanks to the numerous storms that have made their way through the local area.
While it seems like all these insurance claims are keeping your schedule of roofing jobs completely full…
It is important to ensure you’re writing an estimate that is as complete and accurate as possible.
After all, the claims adjuster assigned to the property has a duty to try to not pay out and save their company money in any way they can.
Just accepting their numbers can leave way too much money on the table and may not be enough to finish the job with the materials and resources you need.
To help you out, our team has put together this comprehensive guide for the whole process.
Keep reading to learn how to write an estimate for an insurance claim.
How to Write an Estimate for an Insurance Claim
Writing an estimate that accurately includes all of the labor and materials necessary for an insurance claim job can sometimes be a bit confusing.
To ensure you’re getting your maximum value for insurance roofing and restoration projects, it is important to follow a few key steps.
STEP ONE – Document All Damage
The first part of writing an estimate for an insurance claim is to give the roof a thorough inspection and document all damage fully.
In some cases, the property owner might be able to point out a few problem areas.
Other times, the insurance adjuster might have already come up with a damage report or taken pictures to determine an approximate reimbursement cost.
Either way, make sure you get up on the roof and physically inspecting for damage yourself or with your own team.
Mark out damage areas with chalk.
Take note of each item while taking photos to create your own photo record.
Most insurance companies try to make a determination between items that are old damage and new damage.
So, be sure to notate anything that you see is old or new based on what you view during this step.
STEP TWO – Review Property Owner’s Policy
In order to create an accurate insurance claim estimate, you’ll need to see a copy of the property owner’s policy.
This can be either a homeowner’s policy or a commercial policy depending on the type of structure you’re estimating repairs for.
From there, you’ll want to determine if they have an actual cash value (ACV) policy or a replacement cost value (RCV) policy.
There’s quite a big difference between the two…
ACV policies subtract depreciation from replacement cost.
Replacement cost is the actual cost associated with what it would take to bring the roof back to where it was before the storm or other incident.
As you can clearly see, one is more reasonable than the other.
But not every property owner has a replacement cost policy.
Furthermore, some older or grandfathered policies with certain carriers offer ACV on the roof and replacement cost for everything else.
That’s why it is so important to be aware of the different property insurance carriers and how they handle roof replacement claims.
STEP THREE – Create Roofing Estimate
The actual process of this step will likely vary depending on the extent of the damage.
If you’re just replacing a few shingles, you probably won’t need to go as far into detail as you would with a full roof replacement.
You’re probably already familiar with creating a retail roofing estimate, and perhaps you are using a good roofing estimate template.
So, we won’t go into detail here about that.
But writing an estimate for an insurance claim is a whole different ballgame.
Most insurance company adjusters use a program called Xactimate to create estimates.
It is a software program that is considered the gold-standard pricing and estimating system to create estimates for all kinds of projects with locally updated pricing for regions all over the country (and world).
If you want to get the most out of writing estimates for insurance jobs, you should be preparing your roofing and restoration estimates in Xactimate.
So you and the insurance company are speaking the same language.
This is where it pays to have experience…
Or to use a professional estimate writing service to make sure you are including all the little (often overlooked) line items that make up the entirety of the job’s requirements.
STEP FOUR – Present Estimate to Property Owner
This is where you’ll actually give the estimate and your repair recommendations to the property owner.
From there, they’ll ultimately forward your response to their insurance company adjuster.
Many times the insurance company’s adjuster has already come up with their own damage estimate in Xactimate.
While others are okay with the property owner getting their own estimates, which is usually a more common option during catastrophic storm season.
Either way, the adjuster will determine whether or not your estimate is reasonable and upon approval will issue a check.
Or they’ll deny the claim and ask for more information.
If that’s the case, then you might have to go back to the building and get more details, which takes time and effort.
In many states, it is not legal for roofing contractors to negotiate directly with the insurance company on the property owner’s behalf.
Again, here it helps to have a professional third-party insurance estimate writer and public adjuster who can help with claim negotiations to help substantiate each line item of the claim.
Some insurance claims can seem like they take forever.
Be patient as your partners work through the process of back and forth negotiations with the insurance company.
STEP FIVE – Wait for Payment
On many claims, the property insurance company will issue several checks.
There may be a check to cover initial repairs that mitigate further damage.
Subsequent checks will cover the approved claim amount, minus the property owner’s deductible.
If you run into unanticipated job requirements or replacement needs, you may also receive separate checks for insurance supplements that need to be submitted and approved.
A Better Way to Write an Insurance Claim Estimate
While what we’ve mentioned above is certainly one way to handle the process…
You really need to consider working with a highly experienced team of insurance claim estimators.
Professionals like QuikClaims… who do this day in and day out.
In fact, our process could increase your job accuracy and profit by as much as 20% to 30%.
By letting our QuickClaims team handle the whole thing for you.
All you have to do in this instance is get a few photos and measurements of the roof.
You’ll send us the information…
And we’ll write the estimate on your behalf.
Not only do we use our decades of field experience to inform the detail of our estimates.
But we also include line items required by the most current code changes for your local area.
What’s even better is that we use Xactimate, the same claims software that all major insurance carriers utilize.
Then we combine it with our extensive knowledge of the industry and come up with estimate reports more likely to get approved the first time around.
Plus, we even have service options that allow us to negotiate directly with the insurance company.
This keeps you out of that portion of negotiations and makes the overall process so much easier for the property owner.
In addition, we also write supplementals to make it easier to get paid for added work needed on on the job.
What’s not to love about any of that?
Wrapping Up How to Write Estimates for Insurance Claims
Whether you’ve been in the roofing industry for decades or are in the process of just starting out…
Learning how to write an estimate for an insurance claim is a crucial aspect to your success.
However, keeping up with all the different types of policies, processes, and regulations of major property insurance companies can be pretty time-consuming.
To make the process easier, QuickClaims offers Xactimate writing services to ensure your insurance estimates are complete and accurate.
The end result?
More money in your pocket and a more streamlined approach to roof restoration projects.