Most homeowners do not make a habit of filing insurance claims for roof replacement or storm damage. You cannot be expected to know all the ins and outs of insurance, coverage, and claims. Common questions are, when does insurance cover roof replacement? And, how does roof replacement work with insurance? And, how can a roofer fall off a 30-foot ladder and not get hurt? We’re here with all the answers!
When Does Insurance Cover Roof Replacement?
Most homeowners insurance companies do not seek to deny claims as a default position. We’ve all heard the horror stories about health insurance and denied claims. We seldom hear such tales connected to roof damage, storm damage, or roof replacement.
Insurance companies know several key facts, as delineated by the Insurance Information Institute (III):
- Only about 5 percent of homeowners make a claim each year
- Only about 2.5 percent of homeowners file a property damage claim related to wind or hail annually
- A mere 2 percent of homeowners annually claim damage from water or from freezing
For all homeowners’ insurance companies, income far exceeds claims nearly every year, so denied claims are rare. Storm damage is largely self evident, so a claims adjuster has little to argue about. With a reliable, local roofer at your side, there’s even less to argue over, since your roofer can provide plenty of clear evidence a full roof replacement is needed.
Many homeowners do not know when their insurance actually applies. Should you call if only a few shingles are ripped loose by the wind? Should you call if your detached garage roof suffered from a falling branch? What if my child uses his homemade trebuchet to launch a flaming ball onto my roof?
To know when to call your insurance company about roof damage or full roof replacement, take these proactive steps:
- Read your insurance policy to become familiar with your coverage.
- Know what your deductible (out-of-pocket) is, so you can decide whether to file on a small claim (a few loose shingles) or absorb the cost.
- Ask for an appointment with your local agent so you can review the policy together, to know exactly what is and is not covered.
- Ask about the typical timeline for filing a claim after a storm or other major damage to a roof.
- Remember nearly every homeowners insurance policy covers acts of nature and human-caused accidents, so the tree branch on the garage is covered; even your kid’s medieval siege weapon is probably covered (but don’t give them any ideas).
When does insurance not cover your roof’s replacement? When it is simply worn out and when no act of nature or accident caused it to fail. Keep accurate records, including warranty information, so you know precisely how old the roof is. Hold onto any estimates and invoices for routine maintenance and repair, too, so your insurer knows you performed due diligence and maintained your roof.
Some policies will not pay out on a shingle roof 20 or more years old, despite so-called “lifetime warranties” by manufacturers.
The other pervasive condition which prevents insurers from covering full roof replacement is flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program is not a product issued by your homeowners insurance company, but is bought through it. The policy comes directly from the NFIP.
If you live in a known flood plain or susceptible area (and these areas change year to year), you are responsible for obtaining and maintaining flood insurance through the NFIP.
How Does Roof Replacement Work with Insurance?
If you do need to file a claim, the typical process (working with your friendly roofer) works like this:
- You contact your roofer to assess the damage.
- Your roofing contractor inspects your home’s roof and determines a replacement is necessary.
- You call your insurer to start a claim.
- Your helpful roofing contractor and your insurance adjuster meet.
- Your adjuster approves the full roof replacement.
- Your roofing contractor begins work while the claim processes.
- You receive a claim check, minus your deductible.
- When the roofing job is finished, you pay the roofer.
- Enjoy your safe, solid, new roof!
How Can a Roofer Fall Off a 30-Foot Ladder and Not Get Hurt?
He was on the bottom rung.
We know, it’s silly, but it’s a handy way to remind everyone to stay off their roofs! Falls are not a laughing matter, so please, never try to walk on your roof to assess storm damage or decide if you need to file a claim.
When you do decide to file an insurance claim, turn to us at Bill West Roofing for fast, courteous service. We repair, maintain, and replace residential roofs. We handle insurance claims every day, and know how to work with agents and adjusters. Please contact us today to learn more!