If there is one part of our homes that we never pay attention to until it is too late, it has to be the roof. Think about it, unless you find a leak or a tree falls on it, most homeowners don't take care of them the way they should.
Roofs should never be taken for granted. Proper maintenance is the key to prolong their useful life, and it also helps to avoid the nightmarish scenario of having to deal with your insurance company when your roof needs to be replaced. Anything involving these companies is a long and winding process filled with claims and inspections that just take too long.You must follow all the necessary steps in order to avoid having problems with your insurance company, and so that you can ensure the process can go as smoothly as possible. Pay close attention to these four steps if you need to file for a roofing insurance claim.
Understanding your Homeowners Insurance Coverage.
The first thing you need to do is to read your insurance coverage thoroughly. This is a case where "knowledge is power" applies because insurance companies will always try to escape their responsibilities. Depending on the state you are currently living in, there are two types of roofing coverage. Repair Coverage and Replacement Coverage.
Replacement Policies are more common to have, and they are also the most expensive. Basically, replacement policies get you the right to a brand new roof if and when an event covered by your insurance policy happens.
Repair Coverage, the company takes into account property depreciation over the years. This means once you filed a claim, the company will only cover a percentage of the total replacement cost. The calculation is based upon the material the roof is made out of, and how old it was at the time.
The aforementioned policies are the main reason why you need to read your Homeowners Insurance Policy before you do anything else. If you don't have yours at hand, call your insurance agent and ask for a copy. If you don't understand the language, talk to your agent, and ask all the questions you want. If, like most homeowners, you have a natural mistrust of insurance agents, call a couple of roofing contractors. They are experts in their field and know how the process works.
- Step 1. Find a Roofing Contractor.
Once you are clear about how your roofing coverage works, the next thing to do is to find the ideal roofing contractor. It goes without saying, but a fully licensed, experienced, and reputable roofing contractor will be the best ally in your quest to fix your roof.
There are a couple of things you need to focus on during the search, reputation, and experience dealing with insurance companies. Not only will a good contractor repair your roof but, before that, they will help you prevent further damage, as some insurance policies state that you must cover the damaged roof as soon as possible. A not-so-fun fact about insurance companies is that they will oftentimes deny secondary damage claims because homeowners don't take the necessary measures to protect the rest of the roof.
- Step 2. Filing your claim within 30 days.
You have to make sure you file your claim within 30 to 60 days as required by law. Failing to do so is the number one reason for claim denial. Another good reason to file all the proper paperwork on time is to get your claim approved quicker.
- Step 3. Third-party Inspection.
It may be seen as an extreme measure, but, as a matter of fact, it is not. Ordering your own inspection is the wiser move.
Roof repairs and replacements are thoroughly revised by insurance companies across the country because of all the fraudulent claims unscrupulous people file each year. They want to make absolutely sure that natural causes are behind the damage.
Insurance companies send their own inspectors to investigate the claims. Yes, you read that right, they send their own people, and these inspectors have two main jobs, making sure their findings are favorable to the company and finding reasons to deny your claim.
Among the most common reasons to get your claim denied are:
- Your roof wasn't installed right, so it's the roofer's fault.
- The roofing material was wrong, so the manufacturer is to blame.
- The roof wasn't maintained properly, so it's your fault.
- The attic didn't have the right vents, so the builder is to blame.
- The roof was at the end of its useful life at the time of the damage.
- The damage isn't deemed serious enough.
Any of those reasons will get your claim denied. They are also the main reason why you MUST pay for your inspection.
- Step 4. Get a complete report from the Independent Contractor.
The professional you hire for the previous step has to give a detailed report detailing the extent of the damage, the cause, and the current condition of the rest of the roof. The inspection and report are not going to be cheap, but don't forget, you are spending this money so you can get your insurance claim approved.
One last thing to keep in mind, when the insurance company approves your claim, it will give you a nice sum of money so you can replace your roof with the same quality materials as the original. But here is a warning, some of these companies only offer enough money for inferior quality replacement materials.
One thing many homeowners neglect to consider is the insurance deductible you have to pay when you’re going through the replacement process. Regardless of the mechanics of the claim, you WILL have to pay an insurance deductible. Roofing contractors who solicit free roof replacements or repairs via insurance are likely committing fraud. It also benefits you to check your local state’s laws to learn of the many protections that are disposable to you.