Roof damage can hit your wallet hard. Everyone wants to believe their roof can withstand storms or severe weather, but that’s not always the case. Luckily, homeowners insurance can and will provide coverage when you need roof repairs or roof replacements when necessary.
The question is: how to get insurance to pay for roof replacement? If it’s not handled correctly, your insurance company may deny your claim, forcing you to pay these expenses out of pocket. This guide will explain how to properly file claims with your homeowner’s insurance to ensure that damages to your roof will be covered.
Understand Your Policy
Before you file a claim, understand whether your claim has a chance of being approved. Ask your insurance company for a copy of your policy so you can understand everything that your policy covers. Understanding your policy is the only way to ensure you get as much out of it as possible.
Researching what policy is best for your home before you purchase coverage prepares you for insurance claims in the future. With Dwelling Coverage, your homeowner’s insurance policy should pay for a new roof when there is damage resulting from wind, hail, or fire. Additional coverage options change by area.
Your insurance agency probably separates repair coverage and replacement coverage. If you submit a claim for your insurance to cover the replacement of your roof, but you only have repair coverage, they will likely deny the claim altogether. If you know ahead of time that you only pay for repair coverage, you may be able to submit a claim that will pay for some of the damages.
An old roof may only be eligible for limited coverage, so it might make sense to replace the roof as soon as possible. Even though your policy may not cover everything you need it to, there may be other costs your policy can cover.
Potentially damaging weather events include:
- Wind damage
- Hail storm damage
- Lightning damage
- Tornado damage
- Hurricane damage
If you live in an area where any of these phenomena occur, your insurance might already cover these events. If not, they might qualify as uncovered damages.
Avoid Uncovered Damages
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not cover all damages. Situations where your insurance company may not cover a roof replacement or roof repair:
- Damage caused by you
- Damage caused by an unlicensed or an inexperienced roofer
- Inadequate prevention measures
- If the roof has suffered general wear and tear without maintenance
- If the roof is over 20 years old
Inadequate prevention measures could mean, for example, that you live near the Florida coast, but you did not install hurricane protective roofing or maybe you did not pay to include hurricane damage in your coverage. Taking preventative measures ensures your insurance will cover your roof.
Homeowners’ insurance usually covers events that are unpredictable and unpreventable. Certain weather events in certain areas may not be unpredictable, but the amount of damage they cause could be. Avoid paying extra costs by taking all necessary precautions before, during, and after weather events.
Additionally, if you neglect your roof while it experiences years of weathering before actually filing a claim for repairs or replacement, the insurance company could deny you. Your insurance company will want to see that you have maintained the roof to increase and sustain its lifespan.
Contact Your Insurance Company Immediately
As soon as you recognize that you have a damaged roof, contact your insurance agent. While you prepare the data and documentation, learn how to submit the claim. Submitting a claim is time-sensitive, and companies want you to submit it as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your insurance company could deny your claim.
Keep track of everything they tell you and ensure that any documents, such as an inspection report that’s usually done by a roofing contractor, match what you were told. Stay in frequent contact with your insurance company throughout the process.
After you file your claim with the correct documentation and evidence, there’s still a chance the insurance company will deny your claim.
If this happens, follow up with your insurance agent about appealing the decision. There may have been an issue with the claim or missing documentation that prevented the company from approving your claim.
An insurance adjuster will come to your house to evaluate the actual cash value your roof is worth.
Let’s say the damage to your roof is worth $25,000. The actual cash value will be 25,00 minus your tax-deductible and the roof’s depreciated value. Let’s say your tax-deductible is $3,000 and the depreciated value is $5,000. You would receive reimbursement of $17,000.
If you’re wondering how to get insurance to pay for roof replacement, an imperative step to take is to document everything about your roof damage. The more information you can provide your insurance company, the more likely that your insurance claim will be accepted.
Take as many photos as possible, even of things like a few missing shingles. Provide the insurance company with photos, any related news articles on things like storms, and dates of the damage caused to both the outside and inside of your home.
It may be best to call a roofing company at this point to complete the inspection, as the insurance company will require one eventually.
Keep a record of any repairs, inspections, and regular maintenance you did on the roof throughout the years. This will be important for both the roofing company and the insurance company.
If Approved, Find an Experienced Roofing Company
Your insurance company will want an official inspection done on the roof damage. If you do not hire a reputable company, your insurance company will send someone for you. The professional roofer will look at what roofing materials were used to see what damages it protects against.
The roofing expert that your insurance company sends will usually favor the insurance company.
To avoid extra costs, research what roofing companies near you have experience working with insurance companies. These companies will be the best fit for your claim inspection. Many roofers will ask for contingency contracts, which ensure that all parties involved stay faithful to their word.
Many states require roofers to be certified. Choosing a state-certified or licensed roofing company decreases the chances that your insurance company will have issues with the inspection.
Otherwise, you risk complicating the claim and getting denied altogether. A trusted and reputable roofing company will provide the evidence you need to get your insurance company to cover your roof.
There are many steps involved in filing an insurance claim to get your roof fixed or your roof replaced, but being diligent, recording everything, and communicating with your insurance company and roofing professionals should make the process as painless as possible.