How to claim a new roof on your homeowners insurance
A tree growing in the middle of your house or hail damaging the shingles on your roof will make you glad to have homeowners insurance. However, a lawsuit can cause you a lot of stress. Although it may seem like a never-ending process, knowing a few things to do when claiming a replacement roof on your insurance policy can ease the process.
What you’ll need.
1. Contact your insurance company. You need to notify your insurance agent as soon as possible about roof damage. Depending on the type of damage (high wind, hail), it can take a considerable amount of time because other homeowners in the area may have filed the same type of claim with the insurance company.
2. Take photos of the damage. There may not be any point in waiting for the claims adjuster (the person who is going to investigate your insurance claim). If this is the case, take good clear photos of the damage before you start repairing it, as once you start doing things, it can be difficult to prove what happened.
3. Cover the damage temporarily with tarps or wood. Your insurance coverage might cover your roof, but not your household items if they get wet. It is your responsibility to minimize future damage should it occur. Subtract value elements from the area below the span.
4. Document all costs and repairs. Once the deductible is met, you may be eligible for reimbursement of your expenses. Keep all receipts and bills for your expenses so you can be reimbursed.
Can insurance cover roof damage?
A new roof can be prohibitively expensive for many homeowners. In the United States, a new roof costs just over $7,000 on average, but it can cost up to $30,000 if your house’s roof is made from expensive materials, is particularly large, or has a complicated shape or pitch.
A storm or falling tree should be covered by a home insurance policy in the case of roof damage (also read what is home insurance deductible). However, your insurance company may deny your claim precisely because roof replacement is one of the most expensive repairs.
#1: Your roof is too old
Your home insurance policy should cover roof damage in the event of fire or theft, and in most cases, this is a reasonable assumption. In some cases, roof coverage may not apply if the roof is considered to be “too old”.
A roof is usually considered too old if it is 20 years old or older, as this is the typical lifespan of most shingle roofs in the US. In addition, the roof can also be considered too old if one of the lower layers is 20 years old and a new layer is added on top of it instead of paying for a complete replacement.
Why is this the case? Basically, an insurance company will not pay full price to replace a roof that had probably reached the end of its depreciable lifespan, regardless of whether it was damaged.
In the alternative to not providing coverage, your insurance company may pay for the repair, but not a replacement. The owner can also pay for the replacement roof at its actual cash value, taking into account depreciation instead of the original value. In this case, you will be responsible for paying the remainder of the replacement bill.
#2: you caused the damage
Home insurance generally covers roof damage resulting from unusual circumstances out of your control. However, roof damage is unlikely to be covered when you can reasonably be blamed for a roof malfunction.
In many cases, roof damage is considered to be your fault if you have a roof leak due to normal wear and tear. If, for instance, a shingle came loose and fell off your roof, exposing the underlayment to rain, but you never fixed it, your insurance probably won’t pay for the water damage. Your company believes you should have called in a professional roofer to inspect and maintain your roof.
Furthermore, your insurance company may decline to cover roof damage if you attempt a minor roof repair and end up doing more harm than good. It is possible, for example, that some roof tiles can break when stepped on, or that you can try to reattach a shingle and cause a leak by poking the roof in the wrong place. Since you caused or aggravated the damage rather than contacting a qualified professional, you will be liable for the repair or replacement.
#3: Roofing Material Is a Too Big a Financial Risk to Insure
A company’s ultimate goal is to make money, so they generally will not cover roofing materials that are extremely expensive, easily damaged or both. Clapboard shingle roofs are particularly high risk because they cost a fair amount of money, have a similar or shorter lifespan than tile roofs, and tend to burn easily. Most companies do not cover wood ceilings because they are prone to fire and water damage. Before purchasing an insurance policy, you should do your research thoroughly regarding your wooden ceiling.
Metal roofs are fire-resistant but also quite costly to replace and easily dented by hail. Stone ceilings are luxurious, but heavy and expensive to install. In this type of roofing, insurance companies tend to write off damaged roofs as a “cosmetic” problem in order to avoid having to replace more expensive roofing materials. They may also charge a premium for more expensive roof coverage.
For example, insurance companies often reward homeowners with impact-resistant or wind-resistant roofs with better coverage and other incentives. This is because these roofs reduce the risks of hail damage and gales.
#4: The damage was caused by a risk that was excluded or not covered by the policy
It’s always a good idea to check your home insurance policy carefully. So, you must know what types of damages or “risks” are covered and excluded from the policy. If you sign the policy, you have agreed to the terms including the roof coverage exclusions.
What happens if my insurance company refuses to pay a legitimate claim?
If your roof has been damaged and you believe it is covered by your policy, but your insurance company refuses to pay your claim, you should consult an attorney. If you hire an attorney, he/she can help you gather evidence, build a case for your claim, and, in the best-case scenario, get the repair or replacement that you deserve.