The roof is your home’s first line of defense. Damage in the roof can quickly lead to damage elsewhere in the structure of the home, calling for more costly repairs in the future. Fortunately, most insurance companies appreciate the importance of an intact roof system. But roof replacement insurance is a complicated topic, and it isn’t always easy to tell whether your home insurance will cover the cost. So how do you get insurance to cover the cost of a roof replacement?
- Roof Replacements Insurance
- Getting Your Roof Replacement Covered by Insurance
- Take Precautions to Get Roof Replacement Insurance
- How to Cover the Cost of a Roof Replacement
Insurance companies have different rules when it comes to replacing or repairing damaged roofs. However, there are some general rules that apply to most policies. You will always need to check your homeowners insurance policy to confirm whether these are true in your case.
- Most insurance companies cover severe damage that was outside of the homeowner’s control. This includes damage from fire, extreme weather like a tornado or hurricane, or vandalism.
- Damage caused by a lack of roof maintenance is considered the responsibility of the homeowner and is not covered.
- Coverage for damage from normal weather like wind, snow, and hail often depends on your roof’s age.
- A typical homeowners insurance policy will only cover roof replacement if the roof has been damaged by an act of nature. Replacing a roof that has exceeded its intended lifespan is considered the homeowner’s maintenance responsibility and is not eligible for coverage.
Many policies base their reimbursement rates on a roof’s depreciated value. This takes the age and wear of your roof into account, meaning the value of your roof decreases over time. Other policies cover the full roof repair cost—whether that means repairing or replacing your roof fully or partially.
Your insurance policy may have a deductible, which can be a consideration when you file a claim. This means that even if your insurance covers the cost of a roof replacement, you could still end up paying a certain amount out of pocket.
A common deductible is 2% of the home’s value for inland homes or 5% of the home’s value for coastal homes. If the repairs to your roof will cost less than your deductible, you do not need to file a claim since you won’t be reimbursed.
Capitol Improvements recommends these five steps when you're filing a roof replacement claim.
The first and best step in getting a roof replacement covered by insurance is making sure you understand your policy. The particular details of your homeowners insurance policy could surprise you, so it’s important to go over the fine print.
When you understand your insurance policy and what it covers, you can be better prepared to file a claim with all of the information they require.
Look for specific information in your policy about deductibles and depreciated value. Also look for information about their timeframe for filing claims and how they assign adjusters.
If you have questions or concerns about what your insurance policy covers, contact the insurance provider to clarify. You can do so after damage to your roof has already happened, but it’s even better to get those questions answered before you’re preparing to file a claim.
When you file a claim for your roof replacement, you will need to provide certain information about the damage. This can include written information as well as photo documentation.
As soon as you notice roof damage, take down the date and time it occurred. Often, this will be after a storm or weather event, so it’s important to write down the exact date for the insurance adjuster’s reference.
If you can safely get a view of the roof damage, take a few clear pictures of the damaged area, as well as the surrounding area. If pooling water or debris (like a fallen tree limb) caused the damage, take pictures of the roof before removing the debris or soaking up the water. This will help your insurance company clearly identify and verify the cause of the damage.
It’s also important to pay attention to and document any potential damage below the roof. For example, if you have a leak that’s reached the attic or even through to the ceiling, take pictures of the leak and document when it began. Insurance companies appreciate the importance of a secure roof in avoiding more extensive damage.
This documentation can also include photos and written evidence you get from a roofing contractor.
As soon as possible after any damage occurs, you’ll need to call your insurance provider. (If your roof or home has been damaged by vandalism or an illegal act of any kind, call the police to report the incident first.)
Contacting your provider will begin the claims process, and you’ll be assigned a claim number. Make sure to keep track of this number. In the case of roof replacements or extensive repairs, insurance companies will usually assign an adjuster to your case.
The adjuster is responsible for assessing the damage to your roof and estimating the cost of repair or replacement. While your insurer will likely assign an adjuster, it can also be a good idea to hire your own contractor to provide you with an independent estimate.
The next step is contacting a roofing contractor with expertise in insurance claims and policies. Like the insurance company’s own claims adjuster, a private contractor will come to your home to examine the damage and determine the cost of the roof replacement.
Another reason to call a contractor you trust if you’ve experience roof damage is to make repairs. If the damage in your roof is causing damage elsewhere in the home, the contractor can make a temporary repair. This will help reduce damage while you wait for your insurance company to approve the claim.
Working with a locally-known and well-certified contractor when it comes time to have the roof replaced will also increase your chances of getting the cost of a roof replacement covered.
At Capitol Improvements, we’re experts in assessing roof damage and helping you file your claim, as well as in replacing your roof in a timely manner. If you’re ready to begin the estimation process and you live in the D.C. area, call us at 301-769-6909.
Throughout the claim and roof replacement process, make sure to hold onto the receipts for everything. This includes anything you spend money on related to the roof damage, such as the following:
- Temporary repairs or tarping done by a contractor.
- Lodging bills if the damage made your home unlivable for any period of time.
- Work invoices by your roof replacement contractor.
- Receipts for anything else you paid for as a result of your roof’s damage.
You'll need to give these receipts to your insurance company to ensure you get a full reimbursement for the money you paid out of pocket.
The steps above will help you prepare and file a claim if you want to get your roof replacement covered by insurance. However, one of the best things you can do to make sure your roof replacement is covered is take precautions ahead of time.
Taking precautions to protect your roof will not only show your insurance company that any damage was outside of your control, but it will also extend the lifespan of your roof. That means you won’t need to worry about replacing it as often.
Check for damage.
Whenever your roof goes through a storm or other weather event, it’s important to check and make sure the roof is still intact and undamaged. Look for any signs of damage to the shingles and other roofing materials, as well as debris and pooling water. You can also investigate your attic or crawlspace to make sure no moisture is coming through.
Have your roof inspected regularly.
While you can check for obvious signs of damage yourself, it’s still a good idea to have a professional roofing contractor give their stamp of approval on a regular basis. This can help show that you’ve been practicing good roof maintenance, improving your chances of having a roof replacement covered by insurance.
Take care of your trees.
Nearby trees can pose a big risk for your roof, and a fallen tree limb may or may not be covered by your insurance policy. This depends on whether the tree fell as a result of a storm, or whether it fell due to negligence.
If your claims adjuster finds that the tree was dead or unhealthy, and it did not fall solely as a result of severe weather, you could be stuck paying for your roof replacement yourself.
The best way to avoid this is to take care of the trees on your property and around your house so that they can withstand even severe storms. If a tree near your home is dead or dying, have it removed as soon as possible so that it doesn’t pose a liability to your home.
Fix small problems now.
The best way to avoid your insurance company denying your claim is to practice good roof maintenance. That means keeping an eye on your roof and taking care of problems as soon as they arise, no matter how small they are.
Piling leaves and debris, for example, can quickly lead to a leak, which can quickly lead to more extensive damage. If you notice debris on your roof or in your gutter system, make sure to fix the problem quickly.
Similarly, if a leak or other problem does occur, call your roofing contractor as soon as possible to fix the problem while it’s still fairly small. You may choose to file an insurance claim for the roof repair cost, but it’s only necessary to do so if the cost of repairs exceeds your deductible amount.
Take pictures after maintenance.
When you file an insurance claim for a roof replacement, you can provide pictures to show the severity level of the damage. It’s an even better idea to provide pictures of your roof before the damage occurred, alongside those pictures of the damage. That way, your insurance company can confirm that your roof was in good shape before the incident.
You should take pictures of the condition of your roof—or have your roofing contractor do so—on a regular basis. Make sure to take pictures after you or your contractor perform any maintenance.
Your roof replacement may not be completely covered by your insurance policy. Fortunately, there are still ways to make the cost for roof replacement more bearable.
If you’re replacing your roof because it has reached its intended age limit, you’ll most likely need to pay for the roof replacement yourself. Additionally, if your roof needs more minor repairs that don’t surpass your deductible, your insurance won’t pitch in to cover the cost.
Capitol Improvements offers special financing that can reduce the stress of replacing your roof when it comes time. To receive a free quote or learn more about how we can help you with roof replacement insurance, call us at 301-769-6909.