Roof replacement after storm damage can be a financial and logistical nightmare for homeowners. Roof damage alone is responsible for about 41% of homeowner’s insurance claims. Use this to your advantage by learning how to get insurance to pay for roof replacement.
Related: Before you file your claim, learn how long a roof should last by reading our complete guide now.
Let’s walk through the roof replacement process step-by-step and cover the different reasons your homeowner’s insurance could choose to cover the cost or deny your claim.
If you’re prepared and have the right information and proof to show your insurance company, your odds of getting the replacement or repairs covered will drastically increase.
How to Get Insurance to Pay for Roof Replacement
The need for roof repairs or replacement starts with what insurance companies call an act of nature. Some companies call this an “act of God”. This can be a damaging storm with high winds and heavy rain, a tornado, hurricane, and hail damage.
Large amounts of snow and ice can also strain your roof to the breaking point. Verisk Analytics found that hail damage is the fastest-growing cause of roof damage since 2007.
Once an act of nature occurs and causes roof damage, it’s time to take action and start documenting everything. Start by finding a great roofing contractor. They will be an important ally for you during this process.
Find the Right Roofing Contractor
An experienced contractor who has successfully worked with insurance companies and adjusters is the best support you can have in this situation. Ask around to see if friends or family have recommendations. When you find a good contractor, tell them your situation and and ask for their advice.
You’ll want to review your policy to review with your contractor and make sure it covers the kind of damage you’re dealing with. Experienced roofing companies will have dealt with hundreds, if not thousands, of customers and their insurance policies over the years.
They won’t mind reviewing yours and giving a free quote in order to get your business. With the right contractor or company on your team, you’re ready to get started on step number two.
Cover the Damaged Roof Right Away
Most likely, your homeowners policy will require you to cover the damaged roof immediately to protect the roof from further storm or water damage. Make sure this is done right away. This way you have the best chance at having your claim accepted.
Roofs that are damaged by storms and then left vulnerable to the elements are usually denied for repair and replacement claims. Your contractor will understand the importance of this and ensure the roof is covered properly and safe from further damage. Once the roof is properly tarped and covered, it should be secure until you are able to get the actual repairs done.
File an Insurance Claim Within 30 Days
If your roof was damaged in a storm, chances are that many other roofs in your area were damaged too. To make sure you are at the front of the line when it comes to claim approval, submit your claim as soon as possible after covering the damaged roof – and definitely within 30 days.
Most states give you anywhere from 30-60 days after the damage occurs to file your claim. Filing later gives your insurance company a valid reason to deny your claim. Unfortunately, many claims end up being denied for easily avoided reasons like this.
Do whatever is in your power to increase your chances of getting your claim approved and your roof replacement cost covered. As one law firm notes, “Insurance companies view your claim and the adjusters who handle your claim as an expense. Claims do not make the insurance company money. They lose money.”
Prepare for the Insurance Adjuster
It isn’t that you shouldn’t trust your insurance company. After all, you wouldn’t be a customer if you believed they were dishonest. But knowing that their main objective is making money, not paying claims, it’s important to act in your own best interest.
Your claims adjuster will come to your home and inspect your roof, as well as review any other documentation you have ready. This is why it’s important to have all your documentation and independent roof inspection before your insurance adjuster comes out.
What will the insurance adjuster look for during their inspection? There are several things the adjuster will assess. Your roofing contractor will use the same criteria to inspect your roof, and having two professional opinions will only make your case stronger.
Roof Inspection Criteria
Before you file a claim, you should understand a few things that would disqualify you from having insurance pay for your roof replacement. A few of them include:
- Was your roof correctly installed to begin with?
- Were the roofing materials defective?
- Is your attic vented properly?
- Is the damage only cosmetic?
- How much of the roof needs to be repaired or replaced?
- Has it been adequately covered and secured after the damage occurred?
Along with this inspection, your adjuster is going to want some additional documentation. Having a few photos taken before and after the damage is fine, but to ensure your claim has the best chance of being approved, it’s better to “over-prepare” and have at least 5 forms of documentation ready. These include:
- A copy (digital or physical) of your homeowner’s insurance policy
- Before and after photos of your home and the roof
- Close-up photos of the damaged areas
- Written assessment of the roof damage by your contractor
- Receipts for any repair work up to this point
- Last home inspection date, reports, and findings
- Documentation of premiums paid on-time
- Accept or refuse the settlement
If you’ve taken the steps above to file your roof claim, your claim will likely be accepted by your insurance agent and you will be offered a settlement. This is a sum of cash to help pay for the cost of the repairs or replacement.
This settlement is meant to cover the cost of replacing your roof with materials that are the same quality as your old roof. Your roofing contractor will be able to walk you through this process, as they will know exactly how much those materials will cost.
They can help you determine whether or not your insurance company’s offer is good enough. If it isn’t, your contractor can put pressure on your insurance company to increase the settlement amount.
So, How Do You Get Insurance to Pay for Roof Replacement?
If you’re unable to come to an agreement with your insurance company, you’ll be forced to accept the settlement amount they’ve given you. If you are unhappy with that amount, or if it doesn’t cover the full cost of the materials and labor to get your roof fixed, consider moving to a different insurance company.
It’s overwhelming when a storm or act of nature damages your roof. You can make the process less painful by aligning yourself with an experienced roofing company and documenting everything.
Once you’ve wrapped up your claim and received your settlement, continue to be a responsible homeowner by doing a few things. These include having regular roof and home inspections, documenting with photos, and reading the fine print in your insurance policy. Should you ever need to file another claim, you’ll be better prepared and more confident.
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