In North Texas, we’re no strangers to severe weather. Strong thunderstorms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes make fairly regular appearances here, and these storms can be scary. What can be even scarier? Trying to deal with your insurance company to get a claim for a new roof paid.
How do you get your insurance company to pay for a roof replacement? Is there anything you can do to make the approval process go more smoothly? Yes, you can, but you’ll need to be armed with the right information and take specific steps in order to do so.
What Information Do I Need?
You need to review your insurance policy carefully and understand what kind of coverage you have: repair coverage or replacement coverage.
Replacement policies are common, but more expensive than repair coverage policies. Replacement coverage provides for returning the roof to new condition when an event that is covered by the insurance policy occurs.
Repair coverage generally factors in any depreciation of the roof and your settlement will be a percentage of the replacement cost based on what kind of roof you have and its age. If your roof is nearing the end of its expected lifespan, it could be as low as 15%.
Don’t have a copy of your policy handy? Request an emailed copy from your insurance agent. If you find the language of the policy confusing, talk to your agent. It’s their job to help you understand the coverage of your policy.
How Do I Prepare to File a Claim?
Do your homework and find an experienced, reputable roofing contractor. You’re looking for a licensed contractor with a strong reputation and experience in dealing with insurance claims. Your roofer will be your partner in getting your roof repaired or replaced. They’ll also guide you in preventing further damage to your roof in the meantime. Severe storms can damage thousands of homes in an affected area, and it may take some time before your claim is processed and your repairs are made. Experienced roofing contractors will help you prevent further storm damage to your roof because they are aware that claims for secondary damage can often be denied if appropriate measures to protect the roof have not been taken.
The Claim Process
Most states require a homeowner to make a claim within 30-60 days. Failure to make a timely claim is justification for claim denial. Other reasons for claim denial can include:
The roof wasn’t installed properly by the roofer
The roofing material is faulty
The roof wasn’t maintained by the homeowner
The attic isn’t properly vented by the builder, so the shingles were cupped and susceptible to wind damage
The damage is only cosmetic and the roof is still functional
The roof is simply old
Your insurance company will send out its own adjuster. If the storm damage is widespread, “independent inspectors” are brought in to help process the large number of claims. Because these adjusters are employed by the insurance company, their objective is to find justification for claim denial.
This is where your partnership with a reputable, licensed roofer comes into play. Your roofer can provide documentation for that roofing materials on the undamaged part of the roof are correctly installed and not defective. Therefore, there are no problems with installation or the materials used. They can also often provide documentation that the roof was maintained appropriately, the attic is properly vented, that the damage is more than cosmetic, and that the roof was within its expected lifespan. If it you have to fight with your insurance company, or if you end up in litigation, the report of the inspector working for the insurance company will be compared with the documentation provided by your roofer contractor.
Acceptance or Denial of Your Claim
When an insurer accepts a claim, it offers the homeowner a sum of money. Some insurance companies will offer a settlement that will not cover the full cost of professional installation of a new roof with materials of the same quality as your original roof.
Again, this is why it’s important to select a roofing contractor who will be your ally in this process. If the insurance company’s settlement won’t pay for a replacement roof of the same quality, a reputable roofer will contact your insurer and explain why a larger amount is needed to properly and fully replace your roof. While this response is not always successful, it often is, and you’ll be glad to have contracted with a roofer who would fight for you.