We can take our roof for granted—until a storm, fallen tree, or even those pesky neighborhood squirrels make a mess of things. If you notice damage to your roof, you’ll want to submit a homeowners insurance claim to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. However, it might not be clear where to start.
Unfortunately, if you don’t follow the proper steps when filing a roof claim, your insurance company may deny your claim because of an administrative error. That’s why we’re showing you four steps to get homeowners insurance to pay for your roof replacement.
1. Know Your Roofing Insurance Coverage
When you first notice damage to your roof, look at your homeowners policy and the roof coverage it offers. This may take a bit of research if you’ve never paid much attention to your policy, but the information will also help guide your financial decisions about roof repairs. You can also request a copy of your policy from your insurance agent.
The majority of insurance agencies offer two types of roof insurance: repair coverage and replacement coverage. Repair coverage usually reimburses the homeowner for a certain percentage of repair costs. Replacement coverage, on the other hand, provides for the replacement of a roof that’s beyond repair. These policies are more expensive and make it harder to get a claim accepted. That’s why it’s so important to document the damage and submit a claim as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, not all roof damage will be covered by homeowners insurance. Your coverage depends on your specific policy, your location, and the cause of the damage. For example, a hail storm that damages a roof may qualify for coverage because it’s an unusual and unpreventable event. However, a hurricane that damages a roof in Florida may not be covered because of the frequency of such events, or because the homeowner lacks hurricane-related coverage or didn’t take adequate precautions. If the roof damage was caused by you or an inexperienced (or unlicensed!) roofer, your roof replacement will likely not be covered either.
If you have questions about your roof coverage, call your insurance agent and request more detail.
2. Document the Damage and Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you determine that your roof’s damage is covered under your homeowners insurance (or you believe it should be), the next step is to document the damage. Take plenty of photos—not only of the outside damage, but also of the interior of your home. If you have a tall enough ladder, and feel safe doing so, carefully climb it to take photos, or you can use a drone with a camera, which would be an even safer method. However, if you can’t assess all the damage safely, call an experienced roofing company for an inspection—you’re better off safe than sorry.
Note the date of the damage, as well. If your roof was damaged by a storm, such as a tornado or hurricane, find articles online matching the date of these damaging events to back up your claim.
After that, check your insurance company’s website for information about how to submit a claim. Many policies require the homeowner to file their claim within a certain time frame after the event. You’ll want to know the protocol for your insurance company, as your claim may be denied if you wait too long.
3. Research Roofing Companies and Hire the Most Reputable
After you submit your roof insurance claim, seek out a reputable roofing company with insurance claims experience to perform a roofing inspection. They can look for damage and compile a report for your insurance agency. If you don’t hire professionals for the inspection, your insurance company may pay someone to inspect the roof on their behalf. Because this third-party inspector represents the insurance agency, they may try to find any reason to deny your claim. However, by taking charge and hiring your own inspectors, you give yourself the best chance to get your insurance to pay for your roof repairs.
But how should you choose a roofing company?
First, look for a company that provides both roof replacement and roof installation services for the most common roofing materials in Florida, including shingle, tile, and metal roofing. A reputable roofing company should also have a website and Google My Business page with reviews from other customers.
Make sure the roofers you choose have experience in dealing with insurance claims, as this will make it easier for them to communicate with your insurance agency and offer proof that your claim is valid.
A reputable roofing company will replace your roof correctly—without causing more damage or charging you an unreasonable amount. If you choose roofers with a poor (or no) reputation, then your future insurance claims could actually be denied due to improper previous installations.
4. Beware of Insurance Scams and Storm Chasers
When insurance is involved, there is the potential for scammers taking advantage of you. In the wake of a big storm, scammers will canvas neighborhoods with the promise of a free roof – be aware, this is most likely not a legitimate business. The people going door to door are trained salespeople and will try very hard to convince you to sign on the dotted line.
As we covered earlier, some causes of damage to your roof is covered by insurance, but not all. An old and worn out roof does not warrant an insurance claim, so if the salesperson says it does, something is off. They might also claim that the damage is so bad that you need to take action immediately. Another tactic is to claim to give you a good price because they happen to be in the area, but you have to act immediately. These aggressive sales closing tactics are warning signs that this is not a legitimate business.
There are several things you can do to try to identify scammers. For one you should ask to see a copy of their liability insurance, and any other certificates a reputable roofing company should have. It’s also better if they have a physical location in the area. Ask for an address and a business license. Finally, you should check for online reviews to see if there are any complaints about this business.
5. Take the Appropriate Next Steps in Your Roof Replacement Claim
After you submit your insurance claim and enlist a roofing company to offer supporting evidence, your insurance company has the discretion to make a decision. After their allotted time frame (usually about 15 days), the insurance agent will let you know if your claim was approved or denied. If they deny your claim, you can appeal the decision. These procedures differ by insurance company, so make sure to consult your insurance agent for guidance.
If your roofing claim is approved, you’ll be able to start working with your chosen contractors to complete your new roof installation. Once your roof is replaced, we recommend that you get it inspected regularly. Not only will routine maintenance keep your roof in great condition, but it’ll make future roofing claims easier to get approved since you’ll have both written reports and photos noting the past condition of the roof.
Contact Westfall Roofing for Your Repair and Replacement Needs
Have a damaged roof in the Tampa or Sarasota area? Need to file an insurance claim? Westfall Roofing is here to assist you with all your roof repair and replacement needs. Please contact us to learn more!