Filing a Roof Replacement Claim with your Insurance Company
There are more than 10 million roof claims submitted each year. Roofs are essential for protecting your home because they stop the water. Water damage is the worst nightmare of home insurance companies. Consider the following carve-outs or exclusions in your homeowners policy:
- Flood - excluded, a separate policy required
- Water Backup from Sewer/Drains - excluded, can be added for an extra fee
- Water Damage - excluded in some states (TX, FL), can be added for an extra fee
- Slow Seepage from Standing Water - excluded
- Mold - the child of water and time - excluded, can be added for an extra fee
Insurance companies want to make sure your roof is in excellent condition as it is the MVP when it comes to protecting water from above. Most roof materials have a useful life of 15-20 years, and since most home insurance companies do not want to be in the business of giving customers a free roof every 15 years, the claims around roof repair are a little tricky.
Assessing damage to the roof is never easy. Seasoned roofing repair experts even have difficulty measuring the loss and evaluating how to fix it. Add to that the type of roof covering you have on your policy and the amount of your deductible, and the situation can get expensive. Below is a simple checklist to help you know what kind of coverage you may have on your roof, and the best way to file a roof replacement claim should damage occur.
- ACV vs. RC - There are two main types of coverage for your roof: Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Cost (RC). ACV means that the insurance company will pay the depreciated amount that your roof was worth at the time of the covered claim. Example below.
Actual Cash Value: assume the average roof replacement is around $15,000. If your roof is 10 years old and it should only last 20 years, you are only going to get $7,500 from your insurance company if ACV covers it. (half a roof)
In this same scenario, if your policy covered the roof at Replacement Cost, the insurance company would pay the full amount to replace the roof $15,000 (minus your deductible). If you aren't sure which coverage you have, the time to call your insurance company is NOW…not after you have a claim. The reason being, you don't want to file a claim on a 17-year-old roof with a $2,500 deductible policy. You will likely get paid nothing but still have a claim notated on your insurance record.
- Know your deductible - Insurance deductibles on homeowners policies range from $500 to $10,000, with $1000 being the most common choice. However, some plans have higher wind/hail deductibles. If you see 2% Wind/Hail Deductible, that means you need to take your dwelling coverage (Coverage A) and multiply by 0.02 or 2%. If you have $300,000 in coverage on your home with a 2% wind deductible, when the wind blows off your roof, you are looking at a $6,000 deductible.
- Scrutinize your roof following a weather event - Following a wind or other weather-related event, scrutinize your roof for any damage. If damage has occurred, you will want to mitigate further damage to your roof or any content in your home. Failure to take precautions to prevent further damage can void part or all of a usually covered claim.
- Take pictures of all damaged areas - In 2021, it can be possible to email or even text photos of your roof damage to an insurance claims adjustor or roof repair specialist to help speed the process of roof replacement along. Take pictures from a safe vantage point, note the date and time, and any info about the incident that caused the damage.
- Call your insurance company immediately - Even though the insurance company may not be able to send a claims adjustor out today, notify them as soon as you spot the damage. Performing your due diligence as a client will let the insurance company know that taking care of your home is of the utmost importance to you.
- Make a note on which direction the lousy weather or projectiles were coming from - this can help diagnose the damage and repair needed when the roofers arrive.
- Lookout for Contingency Contracts at Inspection - When the roofer comes to inspect your roof and give an estimate, they often do it for free, but ask you to sign a Contingency Contract or Assignment of Benefits. This contract says if your insurance claim is approved, you agree to hire them for the job. The assignment of benefits says you allow them to recoup the cost directly from your insurance company. You should not need to sign this, do your research before selecting a roofer.
Even though a complete roof replacement claim is never a smooth experience to go through, following the steps above can help the process go as smoothly as possible and ensure your home is back to normal in no time. Best of luck!
At your service,