If you have homeowners’ insurance, you expect the coverage to protect your property and roof from potential damage. After all, you pay monthly premiums and hope no harm will befall your home. Unfortunately, weather events and natural disasters can strike and damage your roof to the point where you must file an insurance claim.
The aftermath of a natural disaster can be confusing and stressful, particularly when dealing with insurance that’s hell-bent on paying the least compensation possible.
It’s crucial to know what to expect when filing an insurance claim, even before contacting your insurer. Here’s what you can expect when filing an insurance claim with your insurance company.
Insurance claim process is pretty long
One misconception is that repairs and replacements happen as soon as they file a claim with their insurance companies. That’s far from the truth and now always the case.
Some homeowners expect their roofs to be repaired or replaced when they file an insurance claim. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Expect the insurance process to drag for weeks, possibly months. It all comes down to the steps and different people who play a part in the claims process.
Here are some of the steps and the people involved in the insurance claims process:
You contact the insurance company
The insurer sends an adjuster to inspect the roof
If the adjuster approves, they write a claim
You find a local roofing contractor
They review the claim and add anything that’s missing
Supplemented claim is sent back to the insurance company for approval
If the claim is approved, money is paid out for roof replacement
The claims process may vary depending on the insurance company, policy, and roofing contractor. So, the steps won’t be the same for every homeowner. The bottom line is insurance claims process takes time, and what happens behind the scenes varies from one insurance company to the next.
2. Your homeowner's insurance policy determines the payout
While homeowners insurance covers roof damage, the payout usually depends on your type of policy. It’s essential to check the policy whenever the roof gets damaged to know what you can expect as a payout.
When filing an insurance claim, you’ll either have an Actual Cash Value (ACV) policy or a Replacement Cost Value (RCV) policy. Both guarantee a payout from the insurer, but their values differ. The way an ACV works is you get a depreciated value of the entire roof. This means, your insurer only pays for the roof based on its present value. With the RCV, you get a payout equivalent to the actual cost of replacing your damaged roof. However, they won’t pay the total amount upfront.
Your insurance company will initially send you a check for the actual cost value of your roof and hold back the rest. They use the balance to calculate the recoverable depreciation. Once the roof replacement is complete, you’ll submit proof that the job is done in line with the terms of the claim. The company will finally send you the balance to cover the rest of the cost.
Ensure your roofing contractor completes the work; otherwise your insurance won’t second the check for the deprecated part of your insurance claim. While both policies cover the roof, it’s the RCV policy that ensures the insurance pays for the cost of the entire roofing replacement.
3. Insurance adjuster has the final say on your roof damage claim
Call your insurance company the moment you suspect roof damage. Your insurer will send out a claims adjuster or ask you to contact a roofing company to assess the damage. A local roofing contractor will check the roof and document signs of storm damage. They will create a report of their findings and send it to your insurance company for review.
At this point, compensation for roof damage is now out of the roofer’s hands. Some people think the insurance company will automatically approve their claims just because a roofing contractor finds storm damage. That’s not the case.
Be patient when pursuing insurance claims with your insurance company, and keep the line of communication open. Remember, the insurance adjuster is the one who ultimately approves your claim, whether the roofing contractor is certain your roof needs a replacement following storm damage.
4. Your roof damage insurance claim can be declined
One thing to keep in mind when pursuing insurance claims for roof damage is the possibility of a denial. Remember, the insurance adjuster has the power to say NO, regardless of your roofing contractor’s findings. Improper roof insulation, poor attic ventilation, and waiting for too long are all grounds for denial of insurance claims. If roof damage isn’t covered, your claims won’t sail through. Don’t panic if the insurance denies your claims because they think the roof has no apparent damage.
You can still double-check just to be sure storm damage happened. Or you can ask the insurance company to send a different claims adjuster. They can approve the claims or agree with the findings of the first adjuster. If you want to pursue the claim further after the second adjuster returns a NO, get in touch with a structural engineer.
This person will examine the roof and submit proof to the insurer that our roofing structure is in bad shape and needs a replacement. As a last resort, you can seek legal redress. But, it’s unlikely your claims case will go this far.
What kind of roof damage is covered by insurance?
Your insurance company won’t cover any type of roof damage. They only cover damage due to an extreme weather event. Damaging winds, hailstorms, snowstorms, and tornadoes are usually covered. Your policy should also cover roof damage from fallen tree limbs. If any of the above events occur, you're eligible for a payout to replace the roof. Ultimately, it’s up to the insurance adjuster to determine whether there’s sufficient proof of roof damage to warrant a full replacement.
If your roof was damaged by a nasty storm and in need of replacement, contact our roofing experts to inspect the roof. We can assess the damage and supplement the findings of the adjuster to add weight to your claims.
Roof damage? We can fix it!
Roof maintenance and repair aren’t fun. The longer you wait before you fix the problem, the more problems you’ll face. There’s only so much you can do as a homeowner, meaning you may need a professional roofer to address the problem.
The Phoenix Roof Company has years of experience repairing and replacing residential roofs across the Valley. Whether you have a minor roof leak or a major one, we’ve got your back. Call (602) 800-7663 to schedule a free roof inspection in Phoenix AZ.