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How to Get Insurance to Pay for Your Roof Replacement

roof replacement insurance

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 and Insurance

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.

Depreciated Value

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.

Deductibles

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.

Getting Your Roof Replacement Covered by Insurance

roof replacement insurance

Capitol Improvements recommends these five steps when you're filing a roof replacement claim.

1. Understand Your Policy

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.

2. Take Pictures and Detailed Notes

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.

3. Call Your Insurance Company

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.

4. Call an Experienced Roofing Contractor

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. 

If the private contractor’s estimate is higher than that of your claims adjuster, you will need to pay out of pocket. The insurance company will only replace the roof "as-is".  Roofs today are built differently than 20 years ago so you will generally have to cover the overages to get a Lifetime Warranty. 

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.

5. Hold Onto Receipts

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.

Take Precautions to Get Roof Replacement Insurance

cost of a roof replacement

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.

How to Cover the Cost of a Roof Replacement

how to cover the cost of a roof replacement

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.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Flat Roofs: Materials, Application, Design and More

flat roof guide

Flat roof systems require special attention that pitched roofs do not. If you own a home with a flat roof, it’s important to understand flat roof materials and construction, maintenance requirements, and everything else involved in taking care of your roof.


  1. Flat Roof Materials & Construction (top)
  2. Maintenance
  3. Flat Roof Myths and Facts
  4. Flat Roof Financing and Warranty with Capitol Improvements

Flat Roof Materials & Construction

flat roof materials

Homeowners can choose from several different types of flat roof materials, each of which has its own application and construction process, as well as its own pros and cons. The three main types of flat roofs are:

  • Modified Bitumen Systems or MBS, including:
    • Torch-down systems
    • Self-adhering systems
  • Thermoplastic polyolefin or TPO
  • Ethylene propylene diene monomer or EPDM

1. Modified Bitumen Systems (MBS)

Modified Bitumen Systems (MBS)

Modified bitumen roofs are one of the most popular types of flat roof systems in commercial/industrial applications, and they're used residentially, as well. Modified bitumen systems (MBS) have become a popular alternative to built-up roofs (BUR) because MBS is lighter and more durable.

Modified bitumen is a type of bitumen (tar or asphalt) combined with a modifying compound, thus improving its performance. The two most common compounds used to modify roofing bitumen are: atactic polypropylene (APP) and SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene).

The two common methods for applying modified bitumen flat roof systems are:

  • Torch-Down Application (Torch Application)

Torch-down roof application is the process of adhering levels of modified bitumen (APP type) through the application of high heat.

  • Self-Adhering or Mop Application

SBS modified bitumen can be applied “cold” or without the use of high heat because of the addition of the styrene-butadiene-styrene compound. This process consists of applying self-adhering sheets or mopping the bitumen onto the roof platform.

Lifespan

10-12 years when properly applied in appropriate settings.

Benefits

  • It comes in a variety of different types/applications to suit each home and homeowner.
  • It is less complicated and requires less labor time to install than built-up flat roofs.
  • Less complicated installation also means there is a smaller possibility of errors during installation.
  • It is relatively low-cost.
  • Modified bitumen is more flexible than built-up roofs, making it more elastic and durable against freezing temperatures.
  • It can be recycled at the end of its lifespan.

Drawbacks

  • Torch application requires an open flame to apply, which requires special safety considerations.
  • Extra attention must be paid to overlapping joints and pieces to avoid leaks.

 

2. Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)

TPO roofing is a type of synthetic “rubber roof”, consisting of a single-ply layer or membrane of thermoplastic polyolefin material. TPO is a popular material used in residential flat roofing applications because it is light-weight, highly reflective, and weather-resistant.

It comes in a standard white color, which helps prevent the absorption of heat. TPO roofing is also a popular choice for homes and buildings which have low-pitched (as opposed to flat) roofs because it can improve curb appeal with a unique appearance and is highly energy-efficient.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of TPO roofing is 20 years with proper installation and maintenance.

Benefits

  • It has superior water resistance and leak protection.
  • It is resistant to heat and UV rays.
  • It is relatively cost-effective.
  • TPO is relatively low-maintenance and easy to repair.
  • TPO roofing is 100% recyclable.
  • It offers reduced energy costs, especially in cooling costs.
  • Relatively resistant to tearing and scratching.
  • TPO is very lightweight, so roof decks and joints do not need reinforcement.

Drawbacks

  • TPO will age faster in regions with hotter temperatures.
  • It’s important to make sure your TPO roofing product is high-quality and installed by a qualified professional, since many poor-quality TPO roofing products exist in the market.

 

3. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

 

EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer, is another type of synthetic rubber roofing material. Like TPO, EPDM is commonly used as a single-ply membrane. However, EPDM differs from TPO in several ways.

EPDM is an older roofing technology than TPO, so it is considered more time-tested and trusted. However, EPDM does not offer the same heat-resistance and energy-saving technology as TPO roofing.

Over the years, EPDM roofing has evolved and is now available in peel-and-stick membranes, making for quick application.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of an EPDM rubber roof is 25 years when properly applied in appropriate settings

Benefits

  • EPDM rubber roofing is waterproof (leaks are rare) and highly durable -- EPDM roofing doesn’t scratch easily.
  • Repairs are relatively simple.
  • EPDM is lightweight, so the roof deck typically doesn’t require reinforcement.
  • EPDM roofing has a longer lifespan on average than either TPO or MBS.

Drawbacks

  • Exterior pipes, HVAC systems, chimneys, etc. can cause leaks unless properly flashed.
  • It can be damaged by branches and storm damage.
  • It is more prone to damage from foot traffic during and after installation.
  • EPDM does not reflect heat like TPO.

 

Maintenance

flat roof maintenance

One of the biggest reasons homeowners avoid flat roofs is because they require more maintenance than pitched roofs. However, if you know how to properly maintain a flat roof, you can mitigate this issue and enjoy the benefits of your flat roof without worry.

The following are the most important considerations when it comes to maintaining your flat roof.

1. Traffic Damage

This is number one our list because, to perform any type of maintenance or check on your flat roof, you’ll need to climb up and step foot on the roof. Your weight shouldn’t be enough to cause damage if the roof is properly installed. However, scuffing, scratching, or digging into roofing materials with sharp tools can damage a flat roof’s moisture-protectant layers.

2. Drains and Scuppers

Keeping the roof’s drains and scuppers clear is the second-most important step in maintaining your flat roof. Clogged drains make it impossible for water to drain off of the roof, forcing water to pool up on the roof instead.

3. Leaves and Debris

Gently sweeping the roof to prevent leaves and debris from building up can go a long way in maintaining your flat roof. Especially in the autumn months when leaves begin to fall, you’ll want to make sure you remove them from your roof before they turn to mulch.

4. Low Branches

Check the trees surrounding your house for low-hanging branches that touch--or come close to touching--your roof. These can easily begin to scrape and damage the roof before you have time to notice.

5. Caulking and Flashing

When you check your roof for damage, always check the caulking and flashing. These two parts are easy to replace, but if not maintained, can damage your entire roof system.

6. Professional Help

While some minor damage can be fixed DIY with patch kits from your local home center, larger or deeper cracks and splits require professional tools, experience, and equipment. If you’re not confident that you can seal any damage in a way that is completely watertight, call in a professional contractor for help.

 

Flat Roof Myths and Facts
flat roof myths and facts

 

Flat roofs improve energy savings.

Fact:

TPO flat roofs work to repel UV rays and prevent heat absorption, which means you can spend less money on cooling your home during the hot summer months.

 

Maintenance and repairs are easier on flat roofs.

Myth:

While it may be easier to climb up and walk around on a flat roof, they also require special equipment and knowledge to maintain and repair. Flat roofs also require much more regular maintenance than pitched roofs.

 

Flat roofs add usable space to your home.

Fact:

If you’ve ever been in the upstairs or attic space of a home with a steep-pitched roof, you know just how much space those roofs can take up. Valuable square feet can be saved by choosing a flat roof, which leaves all of the space underneath fully usable.

A flat roof also adds extra usable space to the exterior of a home, whether that means attaching the HVAC unit to the roof or installing a garden or rain buffering system atop your home.

 

Flat roofs are less expensive to install or replace.

Myth:

Because they require special training and expertise to install correctly, flat roofs are typically more expensive to install or replace than pitched roofs.

 

Flat roofs are perfectly flat, so they can’t shed water.

Myth:

Building codes usually require even “flat” roofs to have a minimum pitch of at least 1%, or ⅛” per 1’. Some building codes even require a slope of at least 2%. This minimum slope is enough to accommodate water runoff and to help prevent water damage. Flat roofs also utilize waterproof membranes to deter moisture.

 

Flat roofs don’t last as long as pitched roofs.

Fact:

Because they are more prone to moisture, debris, and heat damage over time, flat roofs must be replaced more frequently than pitched roofs. However, modern materials like TPO and EPDM have extended the lifespan a great deal in recent decades, and flat roof technology continues to improve.

Flat roofs are a bad idea in hot regions.

Myth:

While they may not last as long in areas of extreme heat, flat roofs made of materials like TPO can work well in even the hottest regions. We recommend TPO because it is white in color and works to reflect heat away from the home. Issues like cracking and blistering usually occur from improper application of roofing materials like modified bitumen and synthetic rubber.

You can replace a flat roof yourself.

Myth:

DIY sites may claim that installing new flat roof materials like TPO and EPDM is simple enough to do yourself, but doing so can result in leaks, damage, and a roof replacement that lasts no more than a few years. Correctly replacing a flat roof requires the proper equipment, as well as professional training and experience.

 

Flat Roof Financing and Warranty with Capitol Improvements
Flat Roof Financing and Warranty with Capitol Improvements

With Capitol Improvements, you can trust your new flat roof to last for years or decades to come.

 

Capitol Improvements Flat Roof Warranty

Material Warranty Period
Modified bitumen 12 years
TPO 20 years
EPDM 25 years

 

Capitol Improvements also offers easy financing for projects like flat roof replacement, with options for great and not-so-great credit.

If you live the DC area, contact us at Capitol Improvements to learn about how you can finance or get started on your flat roof project.