When your home gets damaged by an act of nature (water, wind, fire, or other catastrophes), it’s a good idea to file a claim. However, your ability to effectively negotiate a roof replacement with your insurance company depends on many factors.
In this article, we’ll discuss the vital information, preparation, documentation, and key negotiation tips you need to get your insurance company to pay for your new roof.
Make Sure You Have a Legitimate Claim
All homeowners insurance policies are different, so definitely pull up your policy and read through it before filing a claim. Additionally, you should schedule a roof inspection for a professional opinion. RoofClaim offers free roof inspections if you need one.
With that said, here are some things that insurance companies will NOT cover:
General wear and tear is not covered. You’re going to need to show more than general wear and tear issues to win an insurance claim.
Lack of maintenance is not covered. The insurance company expects you to maintain your roof. This is why we recommend regular roof inspections. Showing a track record of inspections and maintenance makes you more likely to win a claim when you file one.
Mold and mildew in and of itself is not a covered peril. Some homeowners think that because they have mold on their roof they should be able to file a claim, but this isn’t the case.
Damage from pests or birds is unlikely to win you an insurance claim. It may seem like this type of damage is caused by “nature,” but most policies don’t offer coverage for this. In these situations, you’re advised to not file.
Damage caused by a contractor is not covered. Make sure that anyone who works on or near your roof has their own insurance in case something is damaged.
Earth movement, such as earthquakes, landslides, mudslides or sinkholes, are typically not covered. You’ll need to check your policy to verify, though, because these events are covered in some states.
With that said, many homes have damage caused by many different factors. Having damage from the above factors may not exclude you, it just can’t be the reason you’re filing your claim.
Prepare to Negotiate With Your Insurance Company
Prepare your documents such as receipts of any previous work or repair done on your roof, home inspection reports, a copy of your current policy, and before and after photos of the roof.
The insurance company will send an adjuster to assess the damage and determine what should be done. Having as much documentation as possible will help you get the best outcome.
What do insurance companies look for?
Whenever you file a claim, an adjuster will be sent by the insurance company to assess the damage and the condition of your roof. They'll be looking for damages brought about by natural causes like hail, wind, and other weather-related conditions.
The adjuster will also look for granule loss and accelerated shingles, cracked or curled shingles, exposed underlayment, or dark streaks that are indicative of algae growth.
Note: You could have trouble getting a full reimbursement if your roof is too old or poorly maintained when it gets hit by a storm. And to give you an insight on what "old" means for roofs, here's the breakdown:
Various factors affect the lifespan of your roof, such as the quality of materials used, the kind of weather you have in your area, and how well you maintain it. Here’s a brief guide of how long a roof last and what’s covered (and not covered) by insurance:
If vented and installed properly, 3-tab asphalt shingle roofs can last 20 to 22 years and 25 to 28 years for dimensional asphalt shingles.
Wood shake roofs, particularly cedar, can last up to 30 years. For those in areas where weather conditions aren't harsh, cedarwood shake can last up to 50 years.
Concrete and clay tiles far outlast other roofing materials. Concrete tile roofs and clay are the practical and cost-effective choices of roofs because of their durability, which can last 50 to 100 years.
Soft slate roofs last from 50 to 125 years. Meanwhile, hard slate roofs can last even longer.
Insurance adjusters are going to look at every single detail related to your roof, it’s condition, and the damage. They’re incentivized to find reasons to reject insurance claims and it’s possible that you may not understand a lot of what they have to say if you aren’t an industry expert.
File a Rock Solid Insurance Claim
Here are tips on how you can file an excellent insurance claim with your insurance company.
Get a Professional Roof Inspection
The first step is always to get a professional roof inspection. This can be a traditional inspection(free through roofclaim.com)or a drone roof inspection. It’s critical to have a professional do a thorough analysis with detailed documentation.
Review Your Policy
Read your full insurance policy. Make sure the claim you're about to make is included in the terms named in your policy. For example, is the wind and hail coverage included? Are there any stipulations? Review any important details that apply to your claim.
Prepare your Documents
Keep all pertinent documents and information like inspection reports, before and after photos, and records of past repairs. The more detailed you are and the more organized you are, the better you’ll be able to negotiate. The roofclaim.com homeowner app allows you to keep all this information in one place.
The longer you wait after damage occurs, the less chance you have of getting your claim approved. This is because the insurance company can find other factors involved in the condition of the roof and use those to exclude your claim. The sooner you file, the better.
Record Your Correspondence
It'll be a plus if you can keep a log of your correspondence from the very beginning. Include names of people you spoke to, dates you spoke to representatives or adjusters, and what transpired from those conversations.
Key Negotiation Tips
To ensure everything goes well, here are key negotiation tips on how to negotiate roof replacement with insurance.
Be aware of what your policy can and can't cover. There is no insurance policy that covers all of your home maintenance needs. Exclusions are defined in your policy.
Make sure to follow every step of the claim process defined in your policy and that you meet all deadlines and contractual obligations stipulated in your policy.
Have a robust understanding of which parts of your insurance policy are subject to interpretation. You can ask your insurance agent for clarifications about sections or parts of your policy you don't fully understand.
Outline your claim strategy based on sufficient insight into your coverages, exclusions, and policy limits.
Keep all negotiations and correspondence documented and save for future reference.
Present your documentation to your claims adjuster. Have a set that can be given to the adjuster without you losing any of the documents you have completed.
Negotiate the settlement you need and deserve. Bid for the highest possible payment you’re entitled to under your policy terms.