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Over two months ago, hail, high winds and heavy rains caused many problems here in Erie for many local residents. Today, those same residents, along with insurance companies and contractors are still hard at worktrying to get things back to the way they were. JET24 reached out to ask our very own Bob Lafaro to answer some questions that you may still have. Here is what he had to say.
JET24:Let’s start off by asking if you have any idea how much work still needs to be done before people affected by the damages are fully restored?
Bob:So, from what I understand, between the amount of damage incurred and the number of people affected, some people may be waiting up to a year to have their damage fixed.Now do realize that part of this is due to that fact that this many of these claims are aesthetic issues, versus damage requiring immediate repair.Although the hail has caused damage to a large number of roofs, the consolation is, a majority of these homes have not been left susceptible to further damage.
 
JET24:From what you see, are there any coverage issues arising, similar to what we see when extensive flood damage occurs?
Bob:The good news is, unlike water, determining coverage for damage caused by wind and hail can be very straightforward.Not so much when it comes to determining if a roof has actually BEEN damaged by hail.In addition, you also have one of the greatest pain-points with homeowner property claims, that being the issue of replacement shingles and siding, not actually matching.
 
JET24:Would this involve a situation in which only a partial portion of either siding or shingles are damaged, but either due to availability or age of the current materials, replacement causes a mismatch?
Bob:Exactly.When you look at the standard ISO policy language, there are two issues that come into play.The verbiage states we insure against DIRECT PHYSICAL LOSS, and the settlement section states TO THAT PART OF THE DAMAGED BUILDING.Therefore, the carrier is only responsible for the portion that sustains damage by direct physical loss.Another caveat to that is the settlement language also states the policy will pay the lesser amount, either of the actual amount spent to repair or replace the property, or replacement cost of the damaged portion with like kind or quality.Therefore, carriers will argue, replacing the undamaged portion does not fall under the language.
 
JET24:Are these potential issues also causing delays in getting claims settled?
Bob:Absolutely! They are causing issues for consumers, insurance companies, and even for contractors. We also have firms coming in from out of town, that local residents are not familiar with.We are getting some reports of questionable repair estimates, as well as circumstances of homeowners getting pushed to authorize repairs, based on unfounded senses of urgency.Some are even being told not to worry about the insurance, it will be taken care.
Bob did have some other thoughts and tips that he would like to share with those who were
affected or for those who want to be prepared just in case this were to ever happen to them.
 
He advises to never give the okay for work to begin without prior approval from your insurance
company. The last think you want to do is get stuck with a bill that you weren’t planning on
paying. Along with this, he also strongly urges people to only work with licensed contractors
who have experience and an established reputation. Also, he says to always be leery of door-to-
door solicitors, and anyone who attempts to pressure you into services you aren’t completely
sure of; these can be signs of a scam. Bob would also like to let people know that Erie Insurance
does offer coverage that you can purchase to provide allotments for matching. If you do not
have homeowner’s insurance with Erie Insurance, he urges you to reach out to your current
carrier. There also may be other markets out there that have created a solution to this
challenge as well, so make sure to do your research!

Posted 1:50 PM

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