Receiving the bad news that your roof needs to be replaced can be stressful. Tight budgets and a lack of savings can make it difficult to cover the cost of a roof replacement which can range from $260 to $700 per square foot depending on the type of roofing material used. Fortunately, most homeowners have insurance in place to cover such costs. Learn how to get your insurance company to pay for a new roof by meeting certain requirements that are outlined in your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Act Quickly When Damage Occurs
One of the worst things you can do is allow roof damage to get worse following a major storm. An insurance company will often deny your claim if you allow a small problem to turn into a more costly problem by waiting weeks, months, or even longer to have repairs completed. Following a storm, it is wise to contact a certified roof inspector to identify all storm damage, document details, and take photos. You should then promptly file a claim with your insurance company. It can also be useful to find a reputable roofer who has experience working with insurance companies.
Read and Understand Your Policy
Homeowners’ policies do not always cover the cost of a new roof replacement. That is why it is important to carefully read and understand your policy long before roof damage occurs. Roof damage is generally covered by your insurance policy’s hazard insurance, meaning if your home or roof is damaged by a covered peril, you may receive compensation for repairs or replacement. However, roof damage can occur in numerous ways and not all of these causes are covered by homeowners insurance. For example, if your roof has deteriorated over many years due to neglect, your policy will likely not cover a replacement.
To be covered under homeowners insurance, the damage must have been caused by an act of nature. The weight of heavy snow and ice, hurricane-force winds, large hail, and similar perils are often covered. Depending on the cause, leaks, fallen tree limbs that cause damage, fire, and similar hazards may also be covered by your policy. However, your insurance will usually not cover damage caused by a lack of maintenance. As the homeowner, it is your responsibility to properly care for and maintain your roof, home, and property.
Be Aware of Depreciated Value
If your roof has surpassed the ten year mark, you may not receive the full value of the roof even if the damage was done by a covered peril. As hail and wind storms become more common in areas across the U.S., many insurance companies are starting to offer homeowners the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the roof instead of the Replacement Cost Value (RCV). With ACV, the insurance company only pays the actual cash value of your roof at the time of the incident. That means that if your roof is close to reaching or has surpassed its expected lifespan, you could receive a small amount of compensation that is not enough to cover a roof replacement.
Get an Estimate from a Third Party
When you file a claim with your insurance company for a new roof following damage, the insurance company will usually send out their own inspector to examine the damage and determine if it is covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy. The inspector will look at the new damage, as well as the overall condition of the roof. They will also take the age of your roof into account when creating their report. Any findings that are found to be normal maintenance may not be covered by your policy.
If the damage is found to be covered by a covered peril, the inspector will recommend that the insurance company pay for the roof repairs or replacement. To determine the cost of replacement, the insurance company may require the homeowner to obtain an estimate from a licensed roofing contractor. By providing the insurance company with an estimate for roof replacement from an experienced roofing replacement company, you can help speed up the claims process and receive compensation even sooner.
File a Claim and Submit Documentation
If you have read through your homeowner’s policy and determined that your roof should be covered based on the type of damaged incurred, you can make a claim with your insurance company. When filing your claim, you will want to ensure that you have followed all instructions and procedures outlined in your policy. Failure to do so could result in a swift denial of your claim. If you have had a roofing contractor inspect your roof, it can be advantageous to provide this information to your insurer. Also send over any photographs you may have, as well as an estimate from your contractor.
It is important to understand that the insurance process can take time to go through. On average, you can expect to wait up to two months or more for an approval from your insurance company, depending on where you live and the number of claims in the backlog. If your claim is eventually denied, or if you think that the quote given is too low, you have options, including the right to appeal your insurer’s decision. However, just keep in mind that the quote may be lower than what you were expecting due to depreciation.
Learn More About the Roof Replacement Process
It is never easy to learn that your roof needs to be replaced. However, you may not have to pay for the entire cost of replacement yourself. Oftentimes, your insurance company will pay for some or all of the damages to your roof if the damage is covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. If you do not understand your policy, speak to your insurance agent. For more information about how to get your insurance company to pay for a new roof or to schedule a roof inspection, speak to the roofing replacement contractors at Beyond Exteriors.