How To Make A Home Insurance Claim For Roof Damage – Forbes Advisor

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Video How to claim roof on insurance

If your roof is in need of repairs or replacement, you can expect a hefty bill. According to 2022 data from remodeling magazine, the average cost for asphalt shingles is $31,535 and for metal roofing, it’s $51,436. Of course, the total cost will depend on the size of your roof and its location.

While homeowners insurance can cover the cost of roof damage in certain cases, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll receive a payout. In this article, we’ll explore what types of roof damage are typically covered by insurance, what’s not covered, and provide tips for filing a roof damage claim.

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Types of Roof Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance

The structure of your home, including the roof, is covered under the homeowners insurance policy. The specific types of roof damage that are covered will depend on the terms of your policy and the reasons behind the need for repair or replacement. Generally, insurance policies cover sudden or accidental problems caused by events such as wind, fire, hail, or the weight of snow.

Insurance for Partial Roof Damage

In some cases, the lifespan of a roof can be shortened due to damage. Even if only a portion of your roof is damaged, your insurer may cover the cost of replacing the entire roof. For instance, if your asphalt shingles have been damaged by hail, an adjuster will assess the number of hits on a section to determine the impact on the roof’s lifespan. If there are enough hits, the roof’s longevity will be significantly affected, necessitating a complete replacement.

According to Steve Severaid, president of Greenspan Co./Adjusters International, “Even if a roof isn’t leaking at the moment, erosion or pounding can compromise its lifespan. This means that a roof won’t last as long as it should have, so it needs to be replaced.”

Insurance for Combination Problems with Roofing Material

If the materials needed to repair your roof are no longer available, your insurance company may need to replace the entire roof. For example, if you have slate shingles that are no longer in production, replacing the entire roof becomes necessary to ensure a match in materials.

Wind and Hail Damage

In recent years, homeowners insurance companies have seen a surge in expensive roofing claims caused by wind and hail. To address this issue, many insurers now offer different levels of coverage for wind and hail damage compared to damage from other causes. Here’s what you need to know:

  • If your roof is too old to qualify for replacement value coverage, you may only be able to purchase “actual cash value” coverage for wind and hail damage. This means your insurance reimbursement will be based on the depreciated value of the roof at the time of the damage, taking into account its age and materials. As a result, you could receive significantly less money than you need to replace the roof, leaving you responsible for covering the difference.

  • However, if your roof is newer and in good condition, you may be eligible for roof replacement cost coverage. This type of coverage will reimburse you the full amount needed to get a brand new roof.

Other Things Not Covered

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It’s important to note that homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by lack of maintenance. This means that repairing your roof due to wear and tear or replacing it because it has reached the end of its useful life will not be covered by insurance.

Additionally, damage caused by floods or earthquakes, including roof damage, is not covered by homeowners insurance. If you live in an area prone to these types of disasters, it’s advisable to consider purchasing separate flood insurance or earthquake insurance.

Additional Roof Considerations

  • If you have a wooden roof, be aware that certain insurers may charge you 25% more for home coverage. This additional cost is imposed by Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. Nebraska.

  • Cosmetic damage from hail may not be covered for metal roofs, so keep this in mind when selecting your roofing material.

  • While insurance companies typically don’t pay for upgrades, you may be able to purchase “fortified roof backup” coverage. This means that if your entire roof needs to be replaced, your insurance will provide a better, fortified roof to replace the existing one. Fortified roofs meet the standards set by the Institute of Business & Home Safety.

Considering Your Deductible

Before filing a roof insurance claim, it’s important to understand your home insurance deductible. This deductible is the amount you must pay for repairs before your insurance company covers the rest of the cost.

In some states, insurers may impose a special deductible for wind and hail damage caused by hurricanes. This means that if your roof is blown off during a hurricane, you may have a higher deductible. The normal deductible will still apply to other types of damage, such as fire.

Should You Exclude Wind and Hail?

In many states, wind and hail damage pose unique challenges, which insurers pass on to homeowners through increased costs. To potentially save money, homeowners may choose to exclude wind and hail from their policy coverage. Here are some options offered by State Farm:

  • Exclude damage from windstorms or hail that may occur during a hurricane.
  • Modify your policy with an endorsement that changes what is covered during a hurricane.
  • Add a separate deductible specifically for damage from windstorms or hail.

Tips for Filing a Roof Insurance Claim

If you’re considering filing a roof claim with your insurance company, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it successfully:

1. Check Your Insurance Policy

Before starting the claim process, review your insurance policy to understand what’s covered. Make sure you know if roof damage is included and whether you’ve opted to exclude wind and hail damage. Confirm whether your coverage is for replacement cost or actual cash value.

2. Assess the Damage

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If you suspect roof damage following a storm, inspect your entire home, not just the roof. Understanding the extent of the damage will help you provide accurate information when contacting your insurer to initiate the claim.

3. Get a Quote

Obtain a repair quote based on what you had before the damage, not on any changes you might want to make. Don’t rely solely on the adjuster to determine the cost of the roof repair. It’s advisable to obtain a written estimate from a reputable roofing company, including their contact information.

4. Act Swiftly

Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a roof claim. Delaying repairs can make it harder to prove the extent of the damage and may give the impression of wear and tear rather than a recent event. As Steve Severaid warns, “The longer a roof remains damaged, the more time and dirt obscure the damage, making it appear like wear and tear.”

5. Keep Records

Throughout the claim process, it’s essential to keep detailed records of all correspondence. This includes notes on conversations, dates, and the names of the individuals you spoke with. Additionally, take photos of the damage as evidence.

Tips for Dealing with Damaged Roofs

Any damage to your home, especially the roof, can be alarming. Here are some tips to follow if your roof gets damaged:

1. Protect Your Home from Further Damage

If a storm or other event causes significant roof damage, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent further harm. In fact, many homeowners insurance policies require you to mitigate damage when possible, and failing to do so may result in limited coverage. Consider placing a tarp over the damaged area as a temporary solution while you notify your insurance company.

2. Advocate for Yourself

Remember that insurance companies are businesses, and their primary goal may not always align with your best interests when it comes to paying out claims. Don’t hesitate to assert your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for the damages. If you’re dealing with a complex or substantial claim, you may want to consider hiring a public adjuster to advocate on your behalf.

3. Be Cautious of Multiple Estimates

In some cases, insurers may request multiple repair estimates. However, keep in mind that they may only accept the lowest estimate. This approach can compromise the quality of the repair work, as the lowest estimate may not necessarily reflect the best craftsmanship.

4. Consider Impact-Resistant Roofing

When selecting a roofing material for your home, look for options that are more durable than your current roof. Impact-resistant roofs may qualify for insurance discounts, so be sure to check with your insurer about any available discounts before making a final decision.

5. Beware of Roof Repair Scams

After major storms, the occurrence of roof repair scams tends to increase. These scams have become a significant problem, particularly in states like Florida, and have contributed to the rising costs of homeowners insurance. To protect yourself, be wary of the following red flags:

  • Contractors insisting on large up-front payments exceeding 10% or $1,000. Many laws prohibit contractors from requiring larger deposits for home improvement contracts.
  • Verify the licenses of contractors. While not every state mandates a roofing license, it’s wise to work with licensed professionals who meet professional standards.

Frequently Asked Questions About Home Insurance Roof Claims

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