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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How Insurance Companies Evaluate the Grade of Roofing You Have

They do a poor job. Often they call all laminates 30 year when until recently the 40 year was the most commonly sold product.

When the laminated shingle craze began was in the era of cedar shingles and many were installed over the cedar shingles. When subsequent damage occurred the replacement roof was the middle quality or heavy. The lightweight looked horrrible over wood shingles.
Let me digress. GAF introduced a thick 340 lb. Timberline organic product in the 1970's which failed because it was thick and full of paper , ergo organic. In about 1980 the fiberglass version arrived at about 300lbs. per square with a 30 year warranty..

Here came the idealistic and innovative folks at Elcor, with their Woody Wood Pecker mascot, and new market strategies. Thus was born the Elk Presique II, a 240 lb. 25 year little brother to the 320 lb. Prestique  (I) 30 year. They had hoped to upgrade homeowners from the basic three tab model to the PII but has inadvertently cost them the PI business. So they came up with the 375 lb. Prestique Plus 40 year and completely dropped their Sunseal 25 year three tab.

Over at GAF all sorts of convulsions were going on. The Timberline continued for years as a 5" exposure 30 year but then came a Woodline 25 year, a Woodline Plus 30 year and the Timberline 30 year.

Times were good. The 25 year was about 250 lbs., the 30 year was about 300, and the 40 was about 400 lbs.

In 2001 Atlas upgraded its 30 year to a 35 and it's 40 year to a 45. So everyone started to leap frog and the old 25-30-40 years became 30-40-50 respectively.

So here we are with all the insurance companies calling every roof a 30 year and as the margins are about the same the storm roofers don't care what they put on. They make the same whether it is a 30, 40, or 50 year. Ethical and concerned contractors will fight for months to get the insurance to pay for the right grade, which costs the insurance more but makes him the same. That  is bad because when your costs go up and the profit in dollars is the same, then the percentage of margin goes down, increasing risk.

The plot thickened last year when all the roofing manufacturers discontinued their 40 year, the middle grade. all the insurance carriers except for Allstate will pay for the next grade better, the 50 year. That is enough to get the class 4 laminated. Allstate stands alone stating they pay for what is on the roof whether or not it is available.

My friend Adela told me that her roofing company was having problems because some 25 year three tabs were gauging out at 20 year and that is all the insurance would pay for despite her copies of her invoices stating she bought Royal Sovereign 25 year.

An Allstate adjust told me that she didn't care if the code said I had to replace certain flashings and when I mentioned that the roof was on reduced exposure, using 20% more product to compensate for a low slope, she asked me to show her the code for that. I left her on the roof and told the homeowner to sue them. She basically called me stupid. That....

Now that we have established that they use the code when they want and ignore it when they want, we know they ignore thickness whenever, no, all the time. There are no standard laminates that match the Prestique Plus for thickness. Period! You have to go to specialty roofing to match them. They won't go there.
One USAA adjuster, and don't get me wrong because they are excellent for the last two years, told me they wouldn't go from a 30 to a 50 year. Ii told her she wasn't. They were going from a 40 to a 50.

So use a micrometer and ask for a comparably thick product. Size matters when it comes to looking at a roof. That Haag gauge is good but even they admit it is flawed. As Captain Barbossa said: 'And thirdly, the code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules." and in no way can the gauge apply to class 4 roofing.

The way to determine your roof quality is with an invoice or actually sending it to a lab. When we sent one to Farmer's Insurance lab, they lied through omission. They said it was a 30 year, and it was prior to 2001, but it is not today. Now it is a 40 only replaced with a 50, unless you have Allstate. They you are treated differently than all other insurance companies treat their customers.

Jon Alan Wright
Jon Wright Roofing, Siding, and Windows
1915 Peters Rd., Suite 310
Irving, TX 75061
972.251.1818 Office
214.718.3748 Cell
972.554.8090 Fax
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1 comment:

Jsalazar said...

Great article Jon. Funny.........but true.