Roof replacement options after a storm: home insurance
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The saying “keep a roof over your head” is synonymous with the very concept of a house. Maintaining that roof and repairing or replacing it when it is damaged can easily be one of the most expensive aspects of owning a home.
Snow, hail, rain, ice, and falling branches or debris can all damage your roof, and roofs aren’t cheap to repair or replace; the typical range for a roof repair project is between $ 5,569 and $ 11,413, depending on 2020 data collected by the HomeAdvisor home improvement site.
But here’s the good news: Most home insurance policies cover replacement or repair of the roof if the damage is the result of a natural act or sudden accidental event. This is one of the main reasons people buy home insurance.
“If lightning comes out of the sky and damages the roof, it will be covered because you didn’t cause it yourself,” says Stacey Giulianti, legal director of Florida Peninsula Insurance Company, a home insurance company based in Canada. Florida.
Here’s how to get home insurance to pay for repairs or for a new roof if it’s damaged in a storm.
How home insurance coverage works for your roof
The roof is an essential part of your home’s structure, so your home insurance policy usually protects it against certain situations beyond your control, such as fire, hail, falling objects, etc.
If your roof is damaged by a risk covered by your policy, you can file a claim with your insurance company for a full or partial roof replacement. But your insurer won’t pay to replace or repair a roof that is gradually deteriorating due to general wear and tear or neglect.
“Home insurance is not a maintenance policy. You are responsible for maintaining your own roof just as you are responsible for maintaining the rest of your home, ”says Giulianti.
If you’re wondering what most insurers cover for your roof, here are some common examples:
- Falling objects
- Natural disasters
Insurance companies may not cover roof damage if:
- You have an older roof (10-20 years or more)
- The roof was not maintained, which caused damage to the roof
- There has been intentional or accidental damage caused by the owner
- You live in a state excluded from wind or hail storms, such as Florida and Texas, where hurricanes and hailstorms are common
Be aware of disaster deductibles
Every time you file an insurance claim, you have to pay a deductible. This is the amount you pay for an insurance claim before your coverage takes effect and pays the rest.
It is normal for wind, hail and hurricanes to be covered by home insurance; Flood and earthquake policies are usually purchased separately. But each of these disasters can have their own franchise rules, depending on the insurance company and where you live.
For example, hurricane deductibles tend to be higher than other home insurance policy deductibles and typically take the form of a percentage of policy limits, depending on the policy. Insurance Information Institute. So if you live on the coast or in a hurricane-prone area, you may have to pay a completely different deductible than the one you choose.
Being aware of these various types of disaster deductibles, from hurricanes to wind and hail, will help avoid unexpected costs down the road. Check your policy and talk to your insurance company to find out exactly how your deductibles work.
How to file an insurance claim for a damaged roof after a storm
There is a standard process you can follow to file an insurance claim for a damaged roof. In an ideal world, filing a claim would still be a smooth process, but dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating and unpleasant at times. In order to prepare you for both, here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.
1. Contact your home insurance company
If you suspect that your roof is damaged after a storm, it’s important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
Take detailed notes and several photos of all the damage to the house on the ground floor, both inside and out. This documentation will be important when you file the claim.
Try to avoid climbing on your roof to inspect for damage, as you can easily get injured.
2. Find a roofing contractor
Now is the time to contact at least three roofing contractors. Each will assess the cost of repairing or replacing the roof and will offer quotes that you will later give to your claims adjuster.
“Most insurance companies prefer a homeowner to hire a roofer first before filing a claim,” says Ami Feller Wells, owner of Feller Roofing in New Braunfels, Texas. “They don’t want to ruin the trip if there is no damage.”
3. File an insurance claim
If the contractor confirms that there is sufficient damage to the roof, the next step is to file a claim with your insurance company. It’s usually best to contact your insurer by phone, but depending on your insurer, it may be easier to file the claim online.
Keep in mind that time is of the essence when submitting a claim. Typically, homeowners have one year to file a claim. Some states give you more time, two to six years to file a claim. While this can vary widely, generally the earlier you file the application the better.
Record your conversations with your insurer and important details along the way. While you are filing the claim, submit photographic documentation of the damage and all receipts for the charges you incurred. For example, your insurer will cover any additional living expenses if a covered incident has temporarily made your home uninhabitable.
4. Make an appointment with an insurance expert
Your insurance company will schedule an appointment for a claims adjuster to come to your home and assess the damage to the roof. The expert will go to the roof, assess the damage, determine what is covered and what is not covered for your roofing claim and give you an estimate to provide to the roofing contractor. Ask the claims adjuster to share any documentation with you.
Try to get at least three quotes from a roofing contractor before meeting with the expert to get a general idea of the cost of the project.
“Roofers do not have the right to negotiate with insurance companies. There is a law about it. If you really want to argue with an insurance company as a landlord, you have to bring in a public adjuster, ”says Feller.
But a good roofer will come to your appointment with your claims adjuster to make sure you get a fair appraisal and estimate. “As a service to our customers, we will go and represent them on the roof if they wish,” explains Feller. “It usually works best when your roofer is looking at things as well. “
5. Replace or repair your roof
The roofing contractor will determine whether your roof needs to be replaced or repaired, depending on the severity of the damage.
If there are any changes to the original estimate, be sure to get the documentation. It usually takes a day to replace or repair a roof, Feller says, and the project is officially complete once it has passed a city inspection.
“Usually the insurance company makes the payment to the customer. If there is a mortgage company, they will also put them on the check, ”says Feller. “The owner must endorse the check, the deposit, and then pay the contractor.”