The price tag for a total roof replacement is high enough for many homeowners to go into shock—especially when the need for a replacement is completely unexpected.
However, your insurance company isn’t going to seek you out and excitedly hand out money after a storm. You will need to file a claim. And if you’ve never filed an insurance claim for roof damage, it can feel intimidating. This homeowner’s guide should give you the confidence you need to file a roof claim when the time comes.
Roof Damage Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance
Coverage of roof damage depends from policy to policy. More situations will be covered if you choose a more comprehensive insurance policy, such as wind and hail damage. You can reference your roof coverage in the “dwelling” portion of your homeowner’s insurance.
Most homeowners insurance policies cover problems that are accidental or sudden and caused by outside events like:
- Heavy snow
- Other inclement weather
Depending on your situation, insurance may pay for repairs or a replacement. Most commonly, insurance covers total roof replacements in two situations (beyond your entire roof being torn off by a tornado):
- Partial Damage
- Matching Issues
Sometimes, storm damage shortens the lifespan of your roof. If this is the case, your insurance company may cover the cost of an entire replacement, even if there is only partial damage— usually 30% or more of the roof needs to be damaged to be eligible.
Hail damage, granule loss, or damaged flashing can all impact a roof’s lifespan. A skilled adjuster will assess the damage and determine how much the lifespan has been shortened. Any substantial damage often constitutes a total replacement.
If you are opting for roof repairs but the proper materials to fix your roof aren’t available, insurance may need to replace the entire roof instead. You can’t repair a portion of a slate roof with asphalt shingles because the materials wouldn’t match.
This would not only cause your roof to look strange, but it also would cause performance issues. A total roof replacement may be granted to ensure all roofing materials match.
Damages Typically NOT Covered by Insurance
The number one rule of thumb is that homeowners insurance covers damage outside of your control.
While certain tiers of insurance policies cover different levels of damage, you can assume that most policies will NOT cover damage caused by a lack of maintenance. Maintenance is the homeowner’s responsibility, so regular wear and tear will not be covered by insurance.
Maintenance is very important because you could lose out on storm damage coverage if your insurance company deems that your roof was not well-maintained before the storm.
Also, homeowners insurance does not cover roof damage caused by floods or earthquakes. If you live in an area that is at risk of these natural disasters, you will need specific flood or earthquake insurance.
5 Steps to Filing the Most Efficient Roof Claim Possible
If, based on the above information, you have reason to believe that you would be eligible for a payment from insurance, you will need to file a claim. If you’re not quite sure if your situation perfectly applies, call your insurance company with any questions.
(You don’t want to frivolously file multiple claims throughout your homeownership. Too many claims are a red flag to insurance companies, so you may lose out on coverage.)
Step 1: Act Fast
Time is of the essence when it comes to roofing insurance claims. You need to act fast after a storm because the longer your roof sits with damage, the less likely it is that you will receive maximum compensation. Or any compensation at all.
Waiting too long allows your roof to experience more weather, debris, and dirt, in turn making it less obvious what the original damage was.
Step 2: Review Your Policy
Before you start making phone calls, reference your insurance policy. There will be no point in battling with an insurance provider over coverage you never paid for in the first place. Check to see if you chose to include wind and hail damage in your plan. Your policy may also detail if your coverage is for “replacement cost” or “actual cash value.”
- Replacement Cost: This coverage is typically meant for newer roofs. It will pay you the full amount to get a new roof.
- Actual Cash Value: You are eligible for this coverage if your roof is too old for replacement cost coverage. The reimbursement is based on the depreciated value of the roof at the time you sustain damage. There’s a chance this coverage wouldn’t cover the full amount of a new roof, and you would have to pay the difference.
Step 3: Assess the Damage (A Roofing Contractor Can Help!)
You will need to have a full understanding of the amount of damage on your roof and your entire home. The scope of the damage will greatly impact the reimbursement you’re eligible for.
It is best to hire a trusted roofing contractor to perform a storm damage inspection on your roof. This way, you’ll have a professional’s opinion to back up your claim.
Step 4: Get a Cost Estimate
Don’t rely on an insurance adjuster to determine the repair or replacement cost of your roof. Be sure to get a qualified written estimate from a trusted roofing company.
Some insurance companies may require that you obtain multiple estimates so that they have a fair understanding of your damage, but they also may require that you accept the lowest bid. For this reason, avoid getting multiple estimates unless it is necessary.
Step 5: Document All Communication
When your home’s integrity and a lot of money are on the line, you don’t want to lose any communication records. Log all communication with your insurance company and roofing contractors from the very start so that there is no confusion down the line. Documentation includes:
- Who you spoke to
- The date and time you spoke
- What they told you
- Any photos taken during the process
Ohio’s Most Trusted Name in Storm Damage
Insurance claims can be intimidating, so why not work with a roofing company that will help you through the whole process? The friendly experts at Gouge Quality Roofing have helped hundreds of homeowners just like you file roofing insurance claims and receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.
When a storm rolls through your neighborhood, make sure Gouge is your first phone call. Contact us today to receive a free estimate and all the help you need!