How to Get Homeowners Insurance to Pay for a New Roof
There’s a process you can follow to try and get some money out of your insurance company to help cover roof repairs. Dealing with insurance companies, however, can be totally frustrating or shockingly pleasant. In order to prepare yourself for both, you can learn a little more about the claims process and pick up a few tips to help you convince your insurer to shell out some cash.
Check Your Policy
Not all roofing problems are covered by any given policy. You have to know the terms before you can win this battle. If your situation is clearly spelled out as not covered in your policy, you may be out of luck. But if things aren’t so clear, there’s a fair chance you can get your insurance company to help pay for repairs (or replacement). The rest of these tips can help, but it’s best to start by reviewing your policy.
Document the Damage
Insurance companies find pictures very compelling. Very compelling. If you’re reading this and don’t think you have roof damage, go take some pictures of your roof. These are your before pictures, and they’re invaluable.
Even if you don’t have before pictures, photos of the damage are still extremely useful in the claims process. Timestamps are even better because you can correlate the clearly visible damage with an event (like a hail storm).
Aside from pictures, documentation is going to run this show. More evidence and documentation will only help your case, so get as much as you can.
Get a Professional Opinion
In fact, one of the best pieces of documentation can come from a professional roofer. An inspection will get a professional assessment of the roof, and that can clearly determine that the roof needs attention.
You can certainly look around for free roofing consultations, but if you’re in contact with your insurance company, there’s a good chance that they’ll set up an inspection. Even though they’d prefer to not have to pay you to fix the roof, they’d rather deal with that smaller claim than the huge one that occurs if the roof fails. Your insurance company isn’t really an adversary in this venture; they just come with a lot of bureaucracy. A professional statement can help you get through a lot of it.
Check the Age
At this point, you’re knee deep in the claims process. One thing you want to check is your roof’s age. Even if your claim is supported, the age of the roof is going to impact the amount on any checks you receive from the insurer. Every policy is different, so this is only a generalized rule. That said, roofs less than 10 years old are often fully covered. As they age beyond a decade, they will be depreciated, and the amount the insurance company will help you pay for repair or replacement will reflect that depreciation. Even in the face of depreciation, any check is better than no check, so stick it out to the end.
Get an Estimate
You’re already involving roofing contractors in this process. Your insurance company will want an estimate. In many cases, they will want a few estimates so they can compare prices. It’s part of the process, so just prepare yourself to throw some numbers their way.
Fulfill the Claim
If you’ve made it to this point, the insurance company is recognizing the claim. Now it’s just a matter of jumping through the hoops to meet their requirements so you can officially hire your contractor. Those hoops will vary, but it’s usually a matter of providing information, waiting to hear back, and repeating until the insurance company is satisfied. When you reach that point, you can get the roof fixed and get paid by your insurance company. The key is to stay patient through the final stages. Roofing problems can feel stressful, but you have allies in the process.
One of those allies is Vanguard Roofing. We can assess the damage to your house, and we can help you with the ins and outs of the claims process. We do insured roofing repairs all the time, and we’re deeply familiar with how insurance companies like to operate. If you have a roofing issue, there’s no need to hesitate. Call us today, and we’ll get you started down the path to having a fully repaired and safe roof on your home.
Types of Roof Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance
The dwelling coverage portion of your homeowners insurance covers the house structure, including the roof.
Types of roof damage covered by your insurance will depend on the policy’s terms and the reasons your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. Typically, a policy covers problems that are sudden or accidental, and caused by certain events such as wind, fire, hail or the weight of snow.
Insurance for partial damage. In some cases, the lifespan of the roof is shortened because of damage. Your insurer may cover the cost to replace the entire roof even if it’s only partially damaged. For example, if a homeowner has asphalt shingles damaged by hail strikes, an adjuster would count how many strikes occurred in a section to determine the impact on the lifespan of the roof. If there are enough strikes, the roof lifespan is substantially impacted and it needs to be replaced.
Even if a roof isn’t taking in water right now, the erosion or strikes compromise the lifespan of the roof. This means a roof will never last as long as it should have lasted otherwise, therefore it should be replaced.
Insurance for matching issues. If the materials to fix your roof are unavailable, your insurance company may have to replace the entire roof. For example, if you have slate tile that you can’t get any more, you may have to replace the entire roof to ensure materials match.
Wind and Hail Damage
Home insurance companies in past years have been walloped by numerous and expensive roof claims. To combat this, many home insurers have implemented different coverage levels for wind and hail damage vs. roof damage from other causes. You might find that:
You can buy only “actual cash value” coverage for wind and hail damage if your roof is too old to qualify for replacement value coverage. Your insurance reimbursement will be based on the depreciated value of the roof at the time of the damage. This will take into account the age of the roof and its materials. The upshot is that you could get substantially less money than you need to replace the roof. You’ll have to pay the difference.
If your roof is newer and in good shape, you may be able to buy roof replacement cost coverage. This will pay you the full amount to get a new roof.
Other Things Not Covered
Additionally, since it’s your responsibility to maintain your home, policies don’t cover damage caused by a lack of maintenance. So repairing your roof due to wear and tear, or replacing it because its lifespan is over, won’t be paid for by insurance.
Lack of maintenance could also come back to bite you after a storm. If your roof was old or not well-maintained before the storm, you could have trouble getting full reimbursement.
More Roof Issues
Have a wood roof? You may pay more for home insurance. For example, Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. of Nebraska charges 25% more for dwelling coverage if you have a wood roof.
Have a metal roof? Cosmetic damage from hail may not be covered.
Get a better roof than before: Insurance companies usually don’t pay to give you something better than what you had before. But you may be able to buy a “fortified roof endorsement” that will replace your non-fortified roof with a better one if the entire roof requires replacement. Fortified roofs are made to meet standards set by the Institute for Business & Home Safety.
Consider Your Deductible
The deductible is the amount you must pay for repairs before your insurance company covers the rest of the cost.
In some states insurers can have a special deductible for wind and hail damage from hurricanes. So if your roof blows off in a hurricane, you may find you have a higher deductible to deal with. The regular deductible still applies to other types of damage, such as a fire.
Dealing With an HOA During a Roof Replacement
If you live in a homeowners’ association-run community, also known as an HOA, it can be challenging to work out the details of your roofing repairs.
HOAs notoriously nit-pick when it comes to overall renovation projects and can stipulate strict rules that go beyond local building codes. Noise, views, and fence building, among other issues, may all fall under the jurisdiction of HOAs.
Luckily, at Vanguard Roofing, our roofing experts have the experience to understand HOA restrictions and handle almost any HOA dispute.
Here, we provide some essential tips on how to deal with your HOA roof replacement to avoid unnecessary conflict and misunderstandings.
Get prior written approvals – HOA requirements and covenants
If you live within an HOA development, any remodeling, renovation, change of the exterior façade or roof replacement requires prior written approval.
Some developments take a relaxed approach to the enforcement of the rules, but many HOAs work hard to enforce the letter of the by-laws that homeowners have agreed to follow.
When seeking approval for roof replacement, you must:
Understand the forms to fill out
Read and re-read all the covenants that apply to your home’s roof
Be patient with the HOA approval process
Plan properly; keep your roofer updated constantly
Politely ask your HOA questions if any steps or answers are not clear
Be patient; follow up with your HOA promptly, but don’t nag them.
Adhere to approved roofing styles and colors
Many HOA covenants specify a specific roofing style and color. HOAs enforce this rule to maintain a uniform appearance to homes within a development, to protect property values.
As you discuss your HOA roof repair or replacement with your roofing contractor, ensure that you cover the following aspects in detail to pick the best roofing option for your home:
Underlayment—common types include rubberized asphalt, asphalt-saturated felt, or non-bitumen synthetic
Decking materials—common choices include concrete, wood, or steel
Radiant barriers—should be invisible from the outside
Ice shielding—to prevent ice from damming in gutters
Architectural or dimensional shingles—these choices account for increased visual appeal and durability, and examples include deeper cut or dramatic accent shingles
Keep the communication lines with your HOA board open
HOA terms regulate the community’s roof color and roofing style in a bid to protect property values within the development. Ensure that you present your case before the HOA board and offer solutions that suit everyone.
For instance, you can request the board to allow a cheaper but presentable renovation, if you cannot afford the option currently on the table.
Get an expert’s opinion
One of the first steps in an HOA roof repair should be to ask a reputable roofing contractor, such as Vanguard Roofing, to inspect your roof and submit a detailed report.
If you cannot understand the HOA’s recommendations or feel your property does not need the roof repair, an attorney can help you understand the various legal aspects available to you. Seek their advice to avoid legal disputes down the line.
Some HOAs enforce by-laws selectively, while others are incredibly strict. Avoid possible legal consequences by working with a roofing expert who understands the requirements for HOA roof replacement.
Contact Vanguard Roofing today at 267-383-5463 for excellent advice on HOA roof repair or replacement and any other general roofing needs.