When you first noticed roof damage, you may not have immediately thought about filing an insurance claim. However, some roof coverage is covered in most home insurance policies.
The problem is that it can be difficult to tell the difference between regular roof maintenance and damage. After all, you are going to have some maintenance over time, such as caulking your skylights, washing your shingles, and cleaning your gutters.
However, most significant damage is caused by an event that many insurance policies will cover. Do not assume you have to pay for it out of pocket, but consider the following this advice and consult your insurance agent.
Document Everything for Your Claim
As with most legal matters, your documentation is going to be key for filing your insurance claim. The first thing you want to document is the date and time of the damage, and what caused it. Was it wind, hail, or some other storm? Maybe a tree fell on your roof and ripped off some shingles. There are a million ways that your roof could get damaged.
Once you document how the damage occurred, now you want to document the damage itself. It is best to take very clear, high-resolution pictures, and from multiple angles. Be sure you take the pictures before you do any sort of cleanup.
If you are having a major storm and it is safe to do so, take some pictures during the storm. All of these pictures combined are what makes for a compelling case for the insurance company.
Review Your Homeowner’s Policy
If you have not done so, read through your insurance policy. It may not be as riveting as the latest thriller, but it is going to help you through getting your claims processed. Unfortunately, not all home insurance policies are the same, so you should know what is in yours.
Specifically, you want to know what your deductible is going to be, as well as what the insurance company is going to cover. Will they only cover the catastrophic failure of the roof, or will they cover minor damage causing leaking? These can all be found in your policy details.
If you do not know where your policy documents are, most insurance companies provide them through a digital portal. Try visiting your insurance carriers’ website to see how to access the portal and get this information.
Get Your Estimates
Now that you have pictures and know what is covered, it is time to get estimates. It is best to get estimates from several reputable roofing companies. Some will work directly with your insurance company to get your claim, and others may not.
To avoid people out to scam money or amateurs overselling their abilities, be sure you look for reviews and references. Sites like Angie’s List and Home Advisor are great to get information. You can also read other reviews on the company’s Google listing.
You may want to contact your insurance agent to get a list of companies they have worked with in the past. This is just another layer of protection to be sure you are working with a reputable company.
Finally, be sure you are not entering a contract with any company, but only seeking estimates. Most companies provide a free estimate to come and look at the damage and provide the estimate. Be sure this includes not only the replacement or repair, but also the removal of debris and construction waste. As they say, the devil is in the details.
Consider Whether You Want to File a Claim
The final step is to consider whether you want to file a claim. A whole new roof can cost as much as $30,000 or more, depending on your home. If that is the case, you will probably want to file the claim.
However, if the entire roof is not damaged, you wan to consider the cost of the repairs and whether it is worth the claim. Keep in mind, some claims may not be approved on the first try, and this could cost you time before the repair is completed.
Also consider your deductible and whether the repair will exceed that amount, and by how much. For instance, if your deductible is $1,000 and your repairs are estimated at $1,500, it may not be worth filing. Your rate may go up once the claim is approved and therefore negate the benefit. Consider contacting your agent to discuss the estimates versus your policy as you decide.
It can be difficult dealing with any kind of roof damage. Be sure you do not ignore it because it can cause significant damage to the rest of your home. Take your time, do your homework, and be ready to provide solid information if you determine you should file that claim.