What to do when the contractors estimate is higher than the insurance estimate.

The storm passes, your roof gets tarped, your wait for your insurance adjuster who gives you a check and an estimate.  When you contractor gets there to replace your roof his bid is higher than the insurance estimate.  What do you do now, do you have to pay the difference? Absolutely not, but do not proceed with repairs to quickly. There are some steps that must be taken to reconcile the estimates.


First, you want to make sure the contactor provided you with a detailed estimate.  Their estimate should include the quantity of shingles they are replacing, the type of shingles they are using, and a detailed breakdown that includes all vents and per unit pricing. 

Without this information the insurance company will not be able to compare the two estimates.  So before you talk with the insurance company, make sure your contactors bid includes those items. This way the adjuster and the contractor can have a meaningful conversation and attempt to work out the discrepancies.

Secondly, review your insurance estimate again.   Make sure the insurance estimate is for the same work that the contractor priced out. Did the insurance company allow for just the roof over the garage that was damaged, while the contractor estimated for the entire roof?

If there are more items in your contractor’s estimate, why did they include them, because there was more damage, or just because they want a bigger job? If there is additional storm damage that is not included in the initial insurance estimate, the insurance company may need to inspected your home again with your contractor.

Lastly, you may consider getting additional estimates. One or two high estimates from contractors does not mean that is really prevailing market pricing. Get a few estimates to see what really is a fair price. Sometimes after hurricanes roof contractors are so busy they just bid very high prices because they are too busy to keep up with the work.

Remember, your insurance company does want to work out a pricing with your contractor. They want the repairs to be made so the home they continue to insure is repaired. Adjusters cannot just pick a number, they must make sure it is consistent with prevailing market prices (which insurance companies know increases after a large weather event).   Once you have completed the steps above submit the roof replacement estimates to your adjuster who will call and negotiate a settlement with your contractor.