Filing a Roof Replacement Claim with your Insurance Company

Filing a Roof Replacement Claim with your Insurance Company

There were more than 6 million roof claims between 2008 and 2013 from hail alone. Roofs are essential for protecting your home because they stop water. Duh. Water is the worst nightmare of home insurance companies. Don't believe me? Consider the following carve-outs/exclusions from your homeowners policy:

  • Flood - excluded, separate policy required
  • Water Backup from Sewer/Drains - excluded, can be added for extra $
  • Water Damage - excluded in some states (TX), can be added for extra $
  • Slow Seepage from Standing Water - excluded
  • Mold - the child of water and time - excluded, can be added for extra $

Insurance companies hate covering damage from water, which is why they also want to make sure your roof is in good condition as it is the MVP when it comes to protecting water from the sky. Most roofs 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 always a little tricky

Assessing damage to the roof is never easy. Even seasoned roofing repair experts can have a tough time finding the exact nature of the damage and then assessing how to fix it. Add to that the type of roof coverage 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.

  1. ACV vs RC - the first thing to know about your homeowners policy as it pertains to roof replacement coverage, regardless of whether or not a claim exists, is what kind of coverage your policy provides for. There are two main types: Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Cost (RC). ACV simply means that the insurance company will pay the depreciated amount that your roof was actually 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 it is covered by ACV. (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. Reason being, you don't want to file a claim on an 17 year old roof with a $2,500 deductible policy. You will likely get paid nothing but still have a claim go on your insurance record.
  2. Know your deductible - Insurance deductibles on homeowners policies range from $500 to $10,000 with $1000 being the most common choice. However, some policies 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%. So if you have $300,000 in coverage on your home with a 2% wind/hail deductible, if wind blows off your roof, you are looking at a deductible of $6,000 for that claim.
  3. Inspect your roof carefully following a weather event - Following a wind or other weather-related event, inspect your roof carefully 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.
  4. Take pictures of all damaged areas as soon as they are discovered - These days, it can be possible to email or even text pictures 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 pertaining to the incident that caused the damage.
  5. Call your insurance company immediately - Even though the insurance company may not be able to send a claims adjustor out today, it is important that you notify them as soon as you feel damage may have occurred. This is your due diligence as a client and will let the insurance company know that taking care of your home is of the utmost importance to you.
  6. Make a note on which direction the bad weather or projectiles were coming from - this can help diagnose the damage and repair needed when the roofers arrive. 
  7. 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." This contract basically says if your insurance claim is approved you agree to hire them for the job. You shouldn't need to sign this, do your research before selecting a roofer.

So, even though a complete roof replacement claim is never an easy 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,
Young Alfred