Roughly one in 40 homeowners will have a claim this year due to wind or hail damage. Filing a roof claim with insurance companies can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Stephen Appenfelder, president of Adkisson Insurance Agency, has written this article in order to provide insight on types of coverage, helpful tips, mistakes to avoid, and advise to help ensure a successful roofing claim process.
by Stephen Appenfelder…
Understanding How Roofing Claims Are Covered
Before deciding whether to move forward with a claim, it’s helpful to understand exactly what your homeowner’s policy covers and how a claim is determined. There are several forms that carriers use to cover a home and ultimately they illustrate what is and isn’t covered. The HO-3 is the most commonly used form in the US, accounting for nearly 80% of all homeowner policies. A homeowner’s policy that uses the HO-3 form will cover any accidental, direct physical damage to a home (including the roof) if it is caused by something other than the items specifically excluded on the policy (think flooding, earthquakes, or Godzilla attack).
So the first step is verifying what caused the damage and that the cause is not excluded from coverage. Once it has been verified that what caused the roof damage is not excluded, one must then verify the deductibles and see if there are any additional exclusions. Often, carriers will have a separate deductible for wind/hail and in some cases or states (I’m looking at you Oklahoma and Kansas) wind/hail will be excluded altogether.
Finally, it is important to determine whether a roof replacement claim will be paid out using “Replacement Cost” or “Actual Cash Value“. Typically, the age and condition of your roof will determine this, but it is important to know what a policy currently says. If a roof is 15+ years old or in poor condition, the carrier may pay out using the Actual Cash Value method. In this case, an adjuster will determine the replacement cost of the roof and subtract depreciation. If a roof is covered under the Actual Cash Value method, then the amount an insurance company will pay for a roof replacement could be significantly lower than if it is covered using the Replacement Cost method.
Think You Are Ready To Make A Roofing Claim…What Is Next?
So now that we have a better understanding of how our home owner’s policy works when it comes to roofing claims what is next? If you have an agent, give them a call. If you don’t have an agent…get one. Helping clients with their claim(s) is where an agent should set themselves apart from the 5 gazillion other agents in town that work for insurance agencies. A good agent will help review a given policy’s coverage and should be a great resource when it comes to finding a trusted roofer or roofing company.
Hiring a reputable, experienced, and trustworthy roofing company that is able to work closely with your insurance agent will help make sure you are given the very best information in order to make important decisions like should I file this claim in the first place or fix the roof myself. Having professional advise and trusted information is important especially when clients are often confronted by storm chasers and “fly-by-night” roofers that will tell them their roof has wind damage and they should file a claim immediately. Although any given company that shows up following damaging storm fronts could be knowledgeable and do great work, that isn’t always the case. If someone came by and provided you with an estimate or perhaps, they fixed your neighbors roof, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion. If it turns out the damage is legit, you now have two qualified professionals to choose from. Of course, if one of these options happens to be AnyWeather Roofing, make sure you tell the other company to pound sand. Regardless of what roofing company you choose remember that hiring a trusted, reputable roofing company is important because at times they will be able to advocate for you during the claims process and they will have material and workmanship warranties that cover your new roof.
Getting Your Roofing Claim Started and Roof Fixed or Replaced
Now that we know what our policy says and we’ve had a qualified roofing contractor check out our roof, it’s time to get this show on the road. If you’ve already spoken with your insurance agent, there’s a chance your claim has already been filed. If your claim hasn’t yet been filed (maybe you were waiting on that second opinion from AnyWeather Roofing) reach out to your agent and let them know you’d like to get the claim started. Once your claim has been submitted, an adjuster should be in touch with you within 24-48 hours, in most cases.
The claims adjuster will want to go over the details of your claim and in some cases might ask to take a recorded statement. Every carrier is different, but don’t panic if they ask to take a recorded statement as there may be several reasons for this. Once the adjuster has all the information they need to move forward, they will outline what the next steps are for your claim. Typically, they will either come out and inspect the damage or send a third party to inspect the damage.
Although it isn’t necessary for your contractor to be there during the inspection, a good contractor will have experience working with adjusters and will know how to provide just the right amount of help to advocate for you and navigate the adjuster throughout his inspection without stepping on their toes in order to help ensure the process goes smoothly. Once the inspection is completed, the adjuster will formulate a damage estimate and use all the information available to determine whether a roof replacement claim is covered.
Following claim approval, the last step in the process is for you to get paid. Just like everything else, this can take time and a good agent will explain the timeline and make sure you understand how long the wait might be before you receive a check from your insurance company. Now that your claim has been approved and the check is in the mail, the roofing contractor you’ve selected will work with you to get the replacement roof completed and you will be in position to pay them.
Although filing an insurance claim for roof damage might seem like a long process, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. With the right preparation and knowledge of what to expect, and most important the right insurance agent you can make your roof claim process go more smoothly.
If you have questions about your current coverage or would like us to provide you with an obligation from proposal, we would love the opportunity to help. You can find us on the interwebs at www.adkissoninsurance.com, visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/AdkissonInsuranceAgency or by calling our office at 859-341-2663.