How To Make A Home Insurance Claim For Roof Damage – Forbes Advisor
If your roof needs to be replaced, expect an average bill of $31,535 for asphalt shingles and $51,436 for metal roofing, according to 2022 data from remodeling magazine. Of course, this will depend on the size of the roof and its location.
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Homeowners insurance can cover the cost after certain types of roof damage, but insurance payouts can’t always be counted on. Here’s what’s covered, what’s not covered, and tips for filing a roof damage claim.
Reading: How to claim roof on insurance
types of roof damage covered by homeowners insurance
The homeowners coverage portion of your homeowners insurance covers the structure of the home, including the roof.
The types of roof damage covered by your insurance will depend on the terms of the policy and the reasons your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. Typically, a policy covers problems that are sudden or accidental and caused by certain events such as wind, fire, hail, or the weight of snow.
insurance for partial roof damage
In some cases, the life of the roof is shortened due to damage. Your insurer may cover the cost of replacing the entire roof, even if it’s only partially damaged. For example, if a homeowner has hail-damaged asphalt shingles, an adjuster would count how many hits occurred on a section to determine the impact on the life of the roof. if there are enough impacts, the life of the roof is substantially affected and it must be replaced.
“Even if a roof isn’t absorbing water right now, erosion or pounding compromises the roof’s lifespan. This means a roof will never last as long as it should have, so it needs to be replaced,” says Steve Severaid, president of Greenspan Co./Adjusters International.
insurance due to combination problems with the roofing material
If the materials to repair your roof are not available, your insurance company may have to replace the entire roof. For example, if you have slate shingles that you can no longer get, you may need to replace the entire roof to make sure the materials match.
wind and hail damage
Homeowners insurance companies in recent years have been overwhelmed by numerous expensive roofing claims. To combat this, many homeowners insurers have implemented different levels of coverage for wind and hail damage versus roof damage from other causes. you may find that:
- You can only buy “actual cash value” coverage for wind and hail damage if your roof is too old to qualify for replacement value coverage. your insurance reimbursement will be based on the depreciated value of the roof at the time of the damage. this will take into account the age of the roof and its materials. The result is that you could get much less money than you need to replace the roof. you will have to pay the difference.
- If your roof is newer and in good shape, you may be able to purchase roof replacement cost coverage. this will pay you the full amount to get a new roof.
- exclude damage from windstorms or hail that may occur during a hurricane.
- modify a policy with an endorsement that changes what is covered during a hurricane.
- add a separate deductible for damage from windstorms or hail.
- Insist on large up-front payments: If a contractor wants more than 10% or $1,000 down, be careful. Laws often say that contractors cannot require larger deposits for home improvement contracts.
- Check Licenses: While not all states require a roofing license, it’s a good idea to work with a licensed contractor to see if you meet the proper professional standards.
related: replacement cost versus actual cash value
other things not covered
Also, since it is your responsibility to maintain your home, the policies do not cover damage caused by lack of maintenance. That means repairing your roof due to wear and tear, or replacing it because its useful life has ended, won’t be paid for by insurance.
lack of maintenance could also come back to bite you after a storm. If your roof was old or not well maintained before the storm, you may have trouble getting a full refund.
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Homeowners insurance will also not cover damage from floods or earthquakes, including roof damage. If you live in an area at risk for these disasters, consider flood insurance or earthquake insurance.
more problems with the roof
Do you have a wooden ceiling? You may pay more for home insurance. For example, Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. Nebraska charges 25% more for home coverage if you have a wood roof.
Do you have a metal roof? Cosmetic damage from hail may not be covered.
Get a better roof than before: Insurance companies usually don’t pay to give you something better than what you had before. but you may be able to purchase a “fortified roof backup” that will replace your unfortified roof with a better one if the entire roof needs to be replaced. Fortified Roofs are made to meet the standards set by the Institute of Business & home security.
consider your deductible
The home insurance deductible is the amount you must pay for repairs before your insurance company covers the rest of the cost.
In some states, insurers may have a special deductible for wind and hail damage caused by hurricanes. therefore, if your roof is blown off during a hurricane, you may have a higher deductible. the normal deductible still applies to other types of damage, such as fire.
do you want to exclude wind and hail?
Homeowners generally want good, comprehensive coverage for their homes. but wind and hail are a different ball game in many states. Insurers pass on the costs of past wind and hail claims to current homeowners. you may be able to choose to exclude wind and hail from your policy coverage in order to save money.
for example, state farm offers these options:
tips for filing a roof insurance claim
Do you want to file a roof claim with your insurance company? that’s how it’s done.
check your insurance policy
The first good step in making a roof claim is to try to understand your policy. There’s no point in fighting for coverage you never had. For example, is roof damage really covered or did you choose to exclude wind and hail damage? Is your coverage for replacement cost or actual cash value?
If you suspect roof damage from a storm, inspect your entire home, not just the roof. you’ll want to know the extent of the damage when you contact your insurer to start a claim.
get a quote
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Get a repair quote based on what you had, not how you want to change things. do not rely on the adjuster to determine the cost of roof repair. Be sure to get a written estimate on a roofing company’s letterhead with the company’s contact information.
Time is of the essence when it comes to a roof claim. “The longer a roof stays damaged, the more time and dirt make it less obvious what the damage is, as it looks like wear and tear,” Severid says.
keep a record of correspondence
What starts out as a seemingly simple claim could turn into a nightmare. You’ll be glad if you kept records from the start, including photos, who you talked to, when, and what they said.
tips: what to do if the roof is damaged
Any damage to your home can be cause for alarm. roofs especially serve the vital purpose of protecting the home from the elements. Here’s what to do if your roof gets damaged.
protect the house from further damage
If a tornado rips through your neighborhood and rips off part of your roof, protect your home from further damage. in fact, preventing major damage when possible is often a requirement in homeowners policies, and major damage may not be covered. you may need to drop a tarp while you alert your insurer.
don’t let the insurance company give you orders
Insurance companies are businesses and may not have your best interests in mind when it comes to paying roof damage claims. if you’re not doing a good job of explaining what they should pay you, they have no fiduciary duty.
You are entitled to fair trade prices, so make sure you have a solid repair budget. If you have a large or complicated claim, consider hiring a public adjuster to work on your behalf.
don’t get multiple estimates
If you get multiple estimates, your insurance company will want to see them all and may only accept the lowest. the lowest estimate may not be the best quality.
consider roofing material that can give you an insurance discount
Look for materials that are more durable than your current roof. your insurance company may be willing to offer you a discount for impact-resistant roofs. Check with your insurer about roofing discounts before making a final selection.
beware of roof repair scams
roof repair scams often increase after major storms. These scams have been a significant problem in Florida and are a factor in the rising costs of homeowners insurance in the state.
People looking to take advantage of vulnerable homeowners may go around the neighborhood offering quick repairs and telling you they’ve spotted roof damage you can’t see. watch out for:
frequently asked questions about home insurance roof claims