Replacing a roof is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. If you’re in need of a new roof, you may have the option of dipping into your insurance coverage to cover some or all of the replacement costs.
Let’s see when you might want to talk to insurance about roof replacement, and what that process looks like.
When to File a Claim
There are very few instances related to your homeowner’s insurance policy that will allow for roof replacement coverage under insurance. Mainly, there are just two instances where you might be able to file a roof claim.
First, crazy weather can create insurance claims. If you have a damaged roof from a natural disaster, like a hail storm or wind storm, you might be eligible to file a claim.
Second, if you’ve had unforeseeable damage due to things like structure flaws, insurance may cover replacements for this reason too.
Aside from these two instances, there really aren’t any other circumstances where an insurance company is likely to step in and provide the homeowner some assistance.
When Filing a Claim Is a Lost Cause
Unfortunately, insurance adjusters aren’t going to look kindly on roof replacements that aren’t rare and unusual circumstances.
Basically, insurance will not cover replacing a roof because it’s “time,” or just due to general wear and tear.
This seems pretty restrictive, but insurance’s primary purpose is to help after the occurrence of a sudden accidental event. That’s why normal wear and tear doesn’t constitute a new free roof courtesy of your homeowners insurance.
For example, if your roof is twenty years old and the shingles are beginning to peel, don’t bank on the insurance adjuster to step in.
Even when your roof starts leaking at some point throughout its life, that doesn’t guarantee you can file a claim.
Whereas you might perceive a leaky roof to mean that Mother Nature has wrought havoc on your roof, an insurance company may interpret the leak as normal wear and tear, and they might not cover the roof replacement.
How to Talk to Your Insurance Provider
Okay, let’s say a big storm rolls through town and the extremely high winds take out a majority of the shingles on your roof. The storm damage is extensive and unrepairable. You know you need to replace your roof, and you plan to file a roof insurance claim.
So, how do you do that, and where do you start? There are four crucial steps to successfully speak with your insurance company.
Five Steps to Success
First, call your insurance company even before you meet with a roofing contractor. At that point, insurance companies might ask you if you’ve taken any action on your roofing problem – like removing the debris, etc.
Second, be upfront and honest about the damage when talking to insurance. Honest communication is crucial in receiving help from a roof replacement claim.
The best way to handle insurance is to tell an insurance company about problems as soon as they arise. Anytime there is a gap in between when something happens and when it’s reported to insurance, it can lead insurance companies to suspect an act of insurance fraud has occurred.
Third, it’s a great idea to take photos of the damage to your roof as soon as you can after the damage has occurred. Pictures are offer proof of what happened.
Fourth, learn about what kind of replacement coverage your policy comes with. In other words, ask about your deductible, when the coverage kicks in, what limits are on a total or partial replacement, etc.
It might be wise to talk with an insurance agent about details like this before you move forward with insurance on a roof replacement.
Fifth, stay calm and avoid making threats. Insurance agents are well versed in dealing with homeowners who aren’t happy about their insurance rates or how much help is offered through insurance during times of need.
Avoiding arguments and feeling frustrated can go a long way toward getting the assistance you deserve quickly.
Okay, so after taking photos of the damage and talking on the phone with your insurance company, you decide you have a good chance of them accepting your claim. What’s next?
How to File an Insurance Claim
Every insurance company has a different method of handling insurance claims, but the process is generally the same.
Most insurance companies will request that homeowners file an online form with pictures attached through an email or website submission.
The insurance company will likely respond back with their decision after looking over your claim information. And, if approved, they’ll issue instructions on what needs to happen next.
Likely, the insurance company will then schedule a visit to meet you at your home and inspect the roof damage. Your photos can also come in handy here.
They may not be able to get out to your house for a couple of days, so if you have to make some emergency repairs, you don’t want the insurance adjuster to think your roof is less damaged and lessen the amount of coverage they offer.
Make sure you have photos of the original damage in your back pocket so they can see how bad that storm really was.
After the inspection, they will use the damage to your roof to offer an insurance estimate, or they may ask you to obtain your own estimates from local roofers in the area.
After a bid is accepted, the contractor can get in there and replace your roof.
Read the Fine Print
Before fully committing though, make sure you understand all the fine print involved in submitting a claim.
You’ll want to know if there’s anything that could disqualify you from obtaining insurance coverage, like hiring roofing companies that don’t do the repair properly. Insurance companies don’t look favorably on jobs that have to be done twice, so find a reputable company.
Roll With It
At the end of the day, every insurance company has its own claims process. You’ll find the best results if you do what they ask and go through the proper channels.
Always be open and honest about the damage. Be sure to take pictures, and report the damage right away.
When your claim is accepted, use a reputable roofing company in your area, like Peak to Peak Roofing, to do the replacement right.
Dealing with insurance can cause a major headache, but it might save you thousands of dollars in the end.
So, be patient and go with the flow.