After a storm or other weather event that leaves your home’s roof damaged, it is tempting to start repairs immediately to keep your family and all your personal items safe and dry. You certainly don’t need to remain exposed to the elements while waiting on your insurance company it is important to take the correct steps before you schedule or begin any repairs to make sure you can prove the cause and extent of the damage to ensure your get the most from your claim. Fortunately, most insurance companies view your home’s roof as being as important as you do and homeowners insurance policies cover roof damage in most cases. But it is important to check your own policy to see how your insurance provider handles roof damage.
Most insurers cover the following types of damage regarding your roof:
- Lightning strikes
- Falling objects (such as a tree in a windstorm)
- “Acts of God” (generally considered events outside human control, like natural disasters)
Your Roof damage may not be covered if any of the following are applicable:
You have an old roof (10-20 years or older)
The roof has not been maintained, which leads to the roof damage
Intentional or accidental damage on the homeowner’s part
You live in a state with windstorm or hail storm exclusions (states where hurricanes and hail storms are common, such as Florida and Texas)
How To File A Roof Damage Insurance Claim
If you have roof damage that needs repairing, you have to file a claim with your homeowners’ insurance company. Starting the process of filing a claim can vary somewhat depending on your insurance company but the steps typically include:
- Thoroughly Document The Damage.
- Be sure to take as many pictures as you can of the roof’s damage.
- Make sure you take these photos before you make any temporary repairs to the roof, such as tarping it to protect your home.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Call your insurance company as soon as you can to let them know there is damage to your roof, what the extent of the damage is, and what caused it. At this time you will want to confirm whether the damage is covered by your policy and how long you have to complete your claim. In the event that the roof damage is from vandalism, you will want to file a police report before contacting your insurance company.
- File the paperwork. The insurance company will provide you with the paperwork you need to file a claim.
- Save all of your receipts for repairs.
- Save all of the receipts that relate to securing the roof from further damage and any repairs made by you or a professional.
- Avoid having a roofing company make the roof repairs until the insurance company approves your claim in the event that they have a list of approved contractors that you have to use for repairs and going outside that network could mean they won’t cover the cost of your repair.
- If your home is damaged and you and your family can no longer stay you may be forced to stay in a hotel, your insurance company might reimburse you for your stay.
- You should expect a visit from an insurance adjuster. The insurance company will most likely send out an insurance adjuster to assess the damage to your roof. The adjuster is going to take a lot of photos of the damaged roof, what caused it as well as the exterior of your home. The adjuster will work with the insurance company and the roof repair company to determine the amount of the damage and the cost to repair or replace your roof.
Your Appeal Rights
Depending on the circumstances, your insurance company could deny your claim or offer to pay less than the repair or replacement cost. You have the right to hire a public adjuster to assess the damage and provide that assessment report to the insurance company in order to appeal the payout amount or denial of your claim.
Do I Have To File A Claim Before Repairing My Roof?
It is always best to file a roof damage claim before beginning the roof repair or replacement. In the event that the insurance company requires you to work with an approved roof contractor to make the repairs. Also in some cases, the insurance company might decide to replace the roof rather than repair it. You are reimbursed for hiring a professional to tarp the roof to protect it and your belongings until the full repair or replacement is made.
Can Filing A Homeowners Insurance Claim For Roof Damage Cause My Premiums To Go Up?
In some instances, YES, but in most cases, your premiums should be unaffected. Many different factors go into deciding on a possible increase in your insurance premiums for a roof damage insurance claim. The main factor is; how many insurance claims you have had in the last 10 years. If you have had multiple claims in the past few years, then your insurance premiums are likely to increase. If it is the only claim you have made in the last 10 years then your premiums should not increase. Other factors are the cause of the claim, the total cost of the claim, and the state you live in.
How Long Will It Take To Receive The Payout On My Claim?
Claim processing times will vary based upon the type and severity of the damage as well as how many other claims the company is processing, in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane then the process could take longer. Once your claim is settled, it can take up to 60 days to receive your check, although some states have laws that require the check to be delivered within 30 days of the settlement.
Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?
Your homeowners’ insurance may or may not cover roof leaks, depending on what caused your roof leak. If the roof leak was caused by something within your policy coverage then homeowners insurance should cover it. However, insurance typically will not cover roof leaks if the leak is due to an aging roof, neglect, or a poorly maintained roof.
Can My Claim Be Denied Because My Roof Is Old?
The short answer is Yes, It is possible and likely that an insurance claim for a damaged roof to be denied because of the age of the roof. If the roof is too old or the damage is caused by normal aging then it is unlikely that your insurance policy is going to cover the cost to repair the damage or replace the roof.