For the longest time, I dreaded making an insurance claim, especially if it was roof related. Maybe the fact that there’s no clear-cut procedure on how to handle this process is the main reason behind this. And it doesn’t help that insurance companies have different (read confusing) rules on the matter!
It would be easier to simply ignore the issue altogether. But the bottom line is that you are paying premiums on your homeowner’s insurance in part in the event that your roof is damaged.
But no need to worry! If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this problem, you’re in luck. I decided to take it upon myself to research the roof insurance claim process and simplify it for you.
In this article, I’ll give you a simple step-by-step guide on how to go about the process the correct way. Of course, there will be slight variations depending on your individual insurer, but you’ll be on the right track–for the most part!
Along with breaking down the actual process, I’ll also give you a few examples of the possible roof coverage at your disposal. Let’s get right into it!
Why Are There Different Roof Claim Processes?
Before I go any further, let me start by addressing the elephant in the room: Why do insurance companies have varying procedures when it comes to the roof insurance claim process? Insurance can be confusing—especially for homeowners!
What you need to know is that not all roof damage is covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Whether or not the insurer honors your roof claim depends on the following factors:
- Type of roof coverage you have
- Your location
- Cause of damage
- Type of roof
- Age of roof
- Previous insurance claims
That’s why it’s very important to know what exactly your homeowners insurance policy covers. And that’s essentially your first step: to familiarize yourself with your type of roof coverage before you submit any claims. Failure to do so may result in your claim being denied under the guise of an administrative error.
Go over your insurance policy to gather this information. But what if you can’t seem to find your copy of the insurance policy? Feel free to request it from your insurer!
Whether your roof claim is accepted or not is pretty dicey at best. Most roof claims are honored only if there’s damage to your roof as a result of natural disasters such as blizzards, floods, or hail. Even so, having your claim honored after a natural disaster isn’t guaranteed.
For example, if your roof is damaged by a storm, and you live in an area that does not experience frequent floods, your claim may be honored. If, however, you live in an area where floods occur regularly, your claim request might be denied. Why? The insurer might penalize you for not applying for hurricane insurance or taking the necessary precautions to protect your home.
What Are The Types Of Roof Insurance?
First things first, know that there are two types of roof insurance coverage: repair and replacement.
Roof repair coverage usually reimburses you for a certain percentage of the roof repair costs you incur.
Roof replacement coverage comes into play if your roof is damaged beyond repair.
As you can imagine, the latter is the more expensive of the two types. And consequently, the most difficult claim to have honored. My advice to you is to first contact your insurer and get more information on your type of coverage before making a claim.
Filing An Insurance Claim For A Roof: 5 Easy Steps
Now that you know the type of roof insurance coverage you have at your disposal, I’ll discuss the steps involved when filing your claim.
1. Inspect For Damage Right Away
As soon as a natural disaster like a snowstorm or hurricane occurs, call an experienced roofing contractor to inspect your roof right away. That’s of course as soon as it is safe to enter your home. In this case, the contractor will inspect your roof for the following signs:
- Leaks on your underlying roof membrane
- Visible cracks
- Water damage
- Mold formation
Remember that any other visible damage, whether big or small, should also be noted. What may appear as a minor imperfection now might escalate into a complex issue, so it’s better to nip the problem in the bud!.
Be sure to call in an inspector even if your roof is only leaking from outside. There could be an underlying issue that only a skilled contractor can identify, so don’t leave things to chance. In some cases, you may not even have to conduct thorough inspections. A hail storm might completely disintegrate your roof, making it clear to see that a roof replacement is your only option.
2. Document Your Findings
Roof process claims require a lot of documentation and can take a while before they are concluded. That’s why it’s extremely important that you document all of your findings at each stage.
Take clear videos of the damaged area so that you can walk your insurer through the extent of the roof damage. Also, take plenty of pictures of the affected area from the onset. Make sure you take the pictures from multiple angles and upload them to a safe place. Uploading images onto your cloud account or hard drive are safer options than leaving them only on your phone.
Along with your video and images, you must write a list of the items that need to be fixed as well as the estimated costs. Such documentation will make your roof claim process go much faster than if you don’t have documented evidence. Having visual evidence on hand makes your case valid.
If you decide to hire a contractor to conduct repairs in the interim, take pictures of the area and be sure to keep the receipts of the job done. Insist that the contractor put a date stamp on the receipts and documentation.
Again, it’s best to hire a professional roofing contractor for this task. Why? Only a skilled contractor will know the following:
- Exactly what damage or potential damage to look for
- How to identify weakened spots on the roof that you can’t see with the naked eye
- How to explain to you the extent of the damage and how much you can expect to pay if you decide to repair the roof yourself in the interim
3. Decide On An Action Plan: To Claim Or Not To Claim?
Understand that not all roof damages can be claimed. A contractor or insurance agent is better able to give you sound advice on your possible action plan after inspecting the damage.
There are cases, though, where it may not be worthwhile to make an insurance claim. In such scenarios, you can work out a payment plan for the repair job with your contractor that you’re both comfortable with.
Naturally, if the damages are more extensive, you can go ahead with the claims process. If you do decide to start the claims process, be sure to have the following in order:
- Your pictures and videos
- Measurements of the damaged area
- The event of a natural disaster responsible for the damage
- Date and time the event occurred
4. File Your Claim
The next step is to contact your roof insurance company and file your insurance claim. Always remember that no matter how helpful or courteous the insurance company representatives are, they’ll always be on the insurance company’s side. Your best bet is to have all the documentation listed above so that the process counts in your favor.
Also, it’s important to file your claim as soon as possible. Most insurance companies have a timeframe that you must stick to regarding the claims process.
5. Wait For The Verdict
After filing your claim, there’s not much you can do besides waiting for the decision. Of course, you can do follow-ups every now and again if you feel that the process is taking too long. If your claim is denied, feel free to appeal the decision with the help of a public adjuster.
How To Claim Roof Insurance Replacement
The process of claiming for roof replacement is pretty much similar to the steps outlined above. Just keep in mind that even if your roof is completely damaged, the claim can still be denied.
For example, if your roof is too old, maybe exceeding 20 years, then chances of the claim being approved are pretty slim.
That concludes the article! I sincerely hope the information listed here will come in super handy when it’s time to file for your roof insurance claim. I’ll leave you with these key points that you must always keep in mind:
- Roof insurance claims will only be processed if your roof is damaged because of natural disasters. And even if the damage is caused by nature, your claims will not be automatically honored.
- A majority of home insurance policies don’t cover a roof that’s damaged as a result of general wear and tear.
- Always keep incident reports, pictures, and videos of your roof’s damaged area for evidence.
Last but not least, file promptly!
With that said, do you have all the information you need regarding the roof claim process?