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Hail vs. Wind vs. Hurricane | 3 Things You MUST Know About Roof Claims

There are three things that you MUST know whether you’re selling hail, wind, or hurricane damage roofs. I get a lot of questions about this, so I’m going to address those here, answering:

  1. What are the similarities between hail, wind, and hurricane claims in roofing sales?
  2. What do I need to know in retail and how do I start when it comes to adding these losses on to my business and learning how to take advantage of them?
  3. This is a big one — I’ve been familiar selling wind but not hail (or hail but not wind, hurricane but not hail, etc.), so how different are they really?

I’m going to answer each of these questions, highlighting 3 key facts about hail, wind, and hurricane claims. Then, I’ll share a very important tip at the end because it will make sense.

Whether you’re brand new to roofing sales or you’re more experienced, this information will highlight those facts and help you serve your customers even better because that’s what it’s all about.

Welcome or welcome back, by the way. My name is Adam Bensman, The Roof Strategist. I’m here (and on my YouTube channel and my podcast, on Apple and Spotify) to help you and your team smash your income goals and give every customer an amazing experience.

And to give them an amazing experience, that’s on you. It’s not up to the insurance carrier. Quite frankly, I don’t think the insurance carrier cares that much.

That’s why we need to understand this process intimately, so we can best serve our customers. Because when all of these things align, you go to bed feeling fulfilled, excited, and honored to serve. And you feel really good about yourself.

So, let’s talk about the three things that you must know about hail, wind, and hurricane claims in roofing sales.

A Quick Shoutout: All-In-One Roofing Sales Training & Strategy System

Before we get into everything, I want to address a related question I get a lot, and it’s this:

Adam, will your all-in-one roofing sales training, strategy, and sales system work for hail, wind, AND hurricane claims?

YES. My Battle Pack works for hail, wind, and hurricane claims, plus I have specific material for storm claims, retail, Florida, and Spanish speakers (more on my Battle Pack and other programs below).

Now, let’s dive into the 3 facts about hail, wind, and hurricane claims.

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Roofing Sales Fact #1: The sales process is the same.

Whether you’re dealing with hail, wind, or hurricane damage, the fundamental background system or process you use in roofing sales is the same, no matter what. That’s because the sales system covers the same key touch points, including what you do and how you process that customer.

In fact, there are only two pieces here that will change, and those are:

  1. What exactly is stated in the roofing sales materials you use: In other words, the communication can be different in different areas of roofing sales.
  2. The direct dealings with the insurance company: About 9 out of 10 of these dealings are behind the scenes, which means it doesn’t change the sales process or the sales flow from the customer experience. That’s why thousands of folks are using our all-in-one sales training, sales strategy, and sales system called the Roofing Sales Success Formula, which is available for individual sales reps and entire teams. If you have questions about my programs, just call or text (303) 222-7133.

So, regardless of whether you use my roofing sales strategies and system or your own, here’s the key point — the sales process with the customer doesn’t change much across hail, wind, and hurricane claims.

Roofing Sales Fact #2: You need to know how to identify the damage.

As I mentioned above, the sales process for hail, wind, and hurricane damage is essentially the same. Let’s walk through what that roofing sales process is:

  1. We show up and identify the hail, wind, or hurricane damage.
  2. The claim is filed.
  3. The adjuster comes out and (hopefully) approves the claim.
  4. We review the approved scope with the homeowner.
  5. We start the work, usually with a deposit check.
  6. When we’re done, we invoice the insurance company to release any depreciation that may be due, along with any supplements.
  7. We collect the final payment.

Again, that’s the same with hail, wind, and hurricane claims.

In fact, from a sales standpoint and a claim standpoint, the process is identical. So, don’t be afraid or timid about going from one to the other. The fundamental process is identical.

Where things start to get different is in identifying the actual damage.

Now, it’s really important for us to get into some details here. So, I’m going to get into the weeds a bit first. Then, I’ll give you a couple of recommendations and resources that I trust to help on this front.

Roofing Sales Reality Check: Can You Identify the Damage?

What does it mean to identify the damage for hail vs. wind vs. hurricane claims? And is that enough?

I’m going to share a quick story with you that will answer those questions.

I’ll never forget the very first roof that I was on that got covered by hail damage. I’m up there, doing the hail damage inspection, bent over, staring, poking, and feeling. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack if the damage isn’t as evident.

I remember being up there and thinking, Why are they replacing this roof? It seems fine to me.

And that’s because I did NOT know what to look for. With an untrained eye, I didn’t realize the significance of:

  • The bruising to the matting
  • The granule loss that exposed the matting to UV light and rotted the shingle from the inside out
  • How that damage compromised the roof’s lifespan and voided the manufacturer’s warranty
  • Why this damage is really covered

So, it’s not just about understanding what to look for.

It’s also important to understand the reasons WHY it’s covered.

How to Identify Damage in Roofing Sales: Two Excellent Resources

I have a couple of recommendations for you if you or your team want some more training on how to identify hail, wind, or hurricane damage in roofing sales.

Roofing Sales Recommendation #1: NCI Training with Mat Mulholland

First, I recommend the National Claims Institute (NCI). Mat Mulholland, a fellow mentor inside the Pitch Pro Movement, is the Dean of Students at the NCI (and, by the way, I’m not affiliated with NCI; I do not get kickbacks or referral fees for mentioning them).

I’m sharing this because I’ve had people go through training offered by Mat at NCI. They’ve reached out to me and told me how much they love it because Mat’s training covers:

  • What to look for in terms of damage: He literally walks you through mock structures that show you exactly what damage to look for and why it’s covered.
  • The insurance side of things: This can give you a better window into how the insurance company thinks and acts when it comes to hail, wind, or hurricane damage.

That can be a really great resource for you or your team on all different types of losses.

Roofing Sales Recommendation #2: NTS ID Assessments from John Senac

Another great resource to help you identify damage comes from another fellow mentor in the Pitch Pro Movement, John Senac. John teaches about compatibility, accessibility, and repairability issues in roofing.

That’s important when you’re:

  • Looking at less obvious damage, like maybe one shingle that’s lifted up and creased
  • Evaluating damage in regions with a high saturation of homes that have discontinued shingle products, meaning there are compatibility, accessibility, and repairability issues

John co-founded NTS ID, which is a laboratory that you can actually submit shingle samples to and get back indisputable evidence that a roof cannot be repaired and that it, therefore, needs to be replaced. John also runs a Facebook group called Name That Shingle.

So, those are two incredible resources for identifying hail, wind, and hurricane damage in roofing sales. But if you want to go even deeper inside the Pitch Pro Movement, folks have been putting up their documentation on how to use NTS ID, sharing a lot more about that behind-the-scenes process of working with insurance carriers to get those claims approved. And John’s been extremely resourceful, by the way, helping some of our members identify shingles, even with pictures of the roof.

So, again, it’s really important to deeply understand:

  • How to identify that damage 
  • The fact that hail and wind are really the two different categories (with hurricane being a lot of wind)

Of course, it can be easy for roofing sales reps to get fixated on just hail or just wind, but you have to be well-versed in understanding both sides of the equation, so that:

  1. You know exactly what to look for and how to identify that damage when doing hail vs. wind vs. hurricane claims.
  2. You understand the nuances of how to get those different claims approved.

Roofing Sales Fact #3: Deductibles & time limits differ.

This final key fact about hail, wind, and hurricane claims focuses on a couple of differences between these claims, namely:

  1. The deductibles
  2. The time limits

I’m going to share some examples to explain both the differing deductibles and time limits here.

Different Deductibles for Hail vs. Wind vs. Hurricane Claims

When there’s a named event, like a hurricane, more often than not, there is going to be a specific hurricane deductible for that named event. Typically, those deductibles are quite high. In fact, they’re usually a percentage of the home value or a fixed amount that would be different than all other insured losses. So, even if your deductible is $X normally, it’s going to $Y if it’s a hurricane.

That means that the type of loss will dictate the deductible amount.

Likewise, we are seeing more and more that there can be hail- or wind-specific deductibles.

For example, on my personal residence with our previous insurance carrier, we had our:

  • General insurance deduction
  • A wind deductible, which was a percentage of the home value

Why? Because we were in a high-wind area, so the insurance company slapped us with this big old deductible, which I don’t even think would have covered the roof. Frankly, we would have been paying out of pocket for it. So, we switched carriers, and now we’re back in the same fixed deductible for hail and wind.

That’s why it’s SO important for you to understand this. Because you could go through all this work for a homeowner only to find out that they have a deductible that’s like 5% of the home’s value — meaning it’s essentially not going to be covered because the deductible costs more than the roof (and so the homeowner is going to end up paying cash for it).

In that case, it’s treated like a retail deal.

So, the deductible amount is important for you to understand based on the type of loss.

Different Time Limits for Hail vs. Wind vs. Hurricane Claims

Like deductibles, time limits for claims will also vary, based on the type of loss. In fact, for:

  • Hail claims: You generally have 6 months to 1 year from the date of loss to file a claim. So, if a storm hit July 1st, you’d have until the following January 1st (for a 6-month time limit) or July 1st of the next year (for a 1-year window) to file the claim, get it approved, get the work done, and invoice the insurance carrier.
  • Hurricane claims: You often have a number of years to file these claims, BUT that changes by state and by insurance company. Still, though, that gives us a wide window of opportunity, and it’s why we work those hurricane-hit areas year after year after year, combing through and looking for that damage. And even if you’re in one of the outlying areas, if you can link that damage to the named event, it opens up a window of opportunity to work that claim.

By the way, I know that time limits are different in Florida, and that Florida Senate Bill (SB) 76 shortened those limits. Nevertheless, it’s still a number of years there too.

Recap: 3 Essential Facts to Know About Hail, Wind & Hurricane Claims

Now, you know the three most important facts to understand about hail vs. wind vs. hurricane claims.  Just to recap, those are the facts that:

  1. The process is identical: Both the sales and claims processes flow the same whether you’re dealing with hail, wind, or hurricane damage.
  2. You need to know how to identify the damage: For training and more help with this, again, I recommend the National Claims Institute and NTS ID (and I do NOT make any money off these recommendations because I do NOT take referral fees). There’s also a Facebook group called Name That Shingle and the Pitch Pro Movement, with interactive training sessions, discussion boards, and a lot more.
  3. There are different deductibles and time limits for different claims: And you need to know the difference, so you can get those claims approved.

Final Roofing Sales Tip: Describe the Damage Right (Say ‘Storm Damage’)

This brings us to the last roofing sales tip I promised to share with you at the beginning. And this is a critical takeaway, no matter what type of roofing sales you do.

Oftentimes, when homeowners call in a claim and they’re asked what caused the damage, the insurance company is trying to pigeonhole them into the path that saves the insurer money.

Example: About 7 years ago, later into my roofing sales journey, I’m on this roof that has hail and wind damage. Actually, the entire side of the house was ripped off from a wind event. It’s a laydown deal, and I’m really excited for this homeowner because we’re about to get the whole roof approved, plus a full wrap of siding.

But when the adjuster comes down off of the roof, he says:

All right, Adam, well, homeowner called in a hail claim, and we found this wind damage. So, the hail date of loss is X, but the last wind date that we have is Y. So, that means the homeowner’s going to have a $2,000 hail deductible and a $2,000 wind deductible.

That absolutely put a knife in my heart. I had to go to the homeowner and explain it. And I could have prevented that and guided her to file that claim the right way by telling her to say “storm damage” instead.

Why? Because “storm” is a loose term. No one can say you called in just for hail. But I told her to say “hail” because that’s what I thought of first. And that adjuster took it literally and had to put down dates for the different types of damage.

So, when you discover storm damage, I would encourage you to advise your homeowners to say, “storm damage” (Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney, and I’m not a public adjuster. But what I can say is that when we paint ourselves into a corner, we can’t unpaint the corner).

“Storm damage” is an all-encompassing, ‘umbrella’ term that can put us into a more favorable position where the insurance company doesn’t try to do something sleazy like this (because it does happen). And, obviously, two claims and two deductibles are NOT a win.

So, those are the key facts to know about hail, wind, and hurricane claims in roofing sales. And remember, the most important takeaways are:

  1. How to file those claims moving forward, so you don’t end up in a situation that jeopardizes your homeowner
  2. Understanding that the sales system stays the same, regardless of whether you’re working hail, wind, or hurricane damage

Get More Roofing Sales Strategies, Tips & Videos

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It’s affordably priced and comes with a 100% money-back guarantee. There’s also a playlist of instructional videos in there, explaining every single thing. So, you can watch the videos, and you’ll know exactly what to do.

Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the next blog.