When is the Best Time to File a Roof Insurance Claim?

claim file

Why file a roof insurance claim? 

Have you noticed a possible small leak in your ceiling recently? If you have homeowner’s insurance, you may want to consider filing a roof insurance claim.

Well, this is what you pay premiums for every month – to help you pay for your home’s protection, including the roof. If there has been hailstorms and high winds in your area recently, look around the neighborhood. If you see some of your neighbors getting new roofs, you probably should have your roof inspected for possible damage. There are two ways to go about getting a roof inspection: 

  1. Call your insurance company and file a roof insurance claim. They will send an adjuster to inspect the roof and access any damage. You’ll then get a letter advising you if your claim has been approved and for how much, or if it is denied. 
  2. Call a local roofing contractor for an inspection, many roofing contractors offer free inspection. Or if they do charge, it is usually a minimal amount and that will be deducted from the cost of the job if you choose to work with them. Let them know upfront you’re needing the inspection to file a roof insurance claim. 

What is a roof insurance claim?

A roof insurance claim is when you file for reimbursement using your homeowner’s insurance policy for repairs or replacement of your roof. Each homeowner’s insurance policy will have different considerations and factor as to what they will pay. 

Can I claim for a leaking roof?

Depending on your homeowner’s coverage and the roof damage, not filing a roof insurance claim may be the better option. Review your insurance policy, call your insurance agent if you don’t understand the language within your policy regarding roof damage coverage. 

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Why wouldn’t my homeowner’s insurance pay for a roof insurance claim?”. Two big reasons that insurance companies like to use: 

  1. Homeowner Neglect – if the insurance adjuster determines that the leak is due to homeowner neglect, then your claim will be denied. This can range from not cleaning the gutters or the roof to not repairing roof damage or replacing damaged or missing shingles. 
  2. Does the roof damage fall under “exclusions” on your homeowner’s policy? This is an are of a homeowner’s insurance policy that many homeowner’s get caught because they didn’t read the exclusions. One typical exclusion is flood – to have your homeowner’s insurance cover damage due to flooding, you have to take an additional policy for flood damage. 

For yourself, you need to determine if the cost of the repair is worth the deductible you’ll need to pay. The common deductible can be between $500 and $5,000. So, if the repair cost is only $200, why pay that $500+ deductible? Your roof insurance claim should include repairing the roof as well as the drywall, flooring, and furniture as well as personal effects that were damaged.

Is it worth claiming on house insurance?

Sometimes, what is more important is whether you should file a roof insurance claim to collect the payment or pay for the repairs out of pocket. This is something a first time homeowner won’t know and may not know how to file a roof insurance claim to make it affective and worthy of the insurance company consideration.

Most homeowner insurance experts recommend foregoing filing a roof insurance claim for damage that is under $5,000, which is the average “higher” deductible for lower insurance rates. 

What insurance companies look at with their clients is the number of and type of claims that have been filed in the past, with them or any other insurance company. Were the claims weather related or non-weather related? One claim in each category within a 10 year span is acceptable. 

Anything more than that, they will review if cancellation is within realm for the good of the insurance company.  Remember, they are a company and they thrive on profits like any business. Too many claims, you’re costing them money. 

Should I file a claim for a new roof?

As we mentioned earlier, the purpose of having homeowner’s insurance is to cover the cost of repairs and replacements. An example would be if your roof was substantially damage during a hailstorm or from high winds, you definitely should file a roof insurance claim. 

However, if the insurance adjuster and a roofing contractor find the roof had minimal damage for under $5,000, consider making the repairs yourself. An insurance agent that is considerate of his clients will advise of this option so as not to have a claim in their file. 

What is the roof insurance claims process?

When your home has been subjected to hail, storm, or wind damage, it is your right to file a roof insurance claim for repairs or replacement. You need to do that quickly and thoroughly so that you can get the work done and get life back to normal. Filing a roof insurance claim can be complicated, but the following steps can ease that complication for you: 

1. Assess the roof damage.

The first step is to have the roof damage assessed either by you or a professional roofing contractor. If you aren’t sure what to consider damage, or you’re not able to get on the roof, it is worth having the professional do this. 

2. Verify your insurance coverage.

Review your homeowner’s insurance policy and clarify the coverage for a roof insurance claim. Relevant details to confirm would be the type of roof damage is covered. 

3. Document the roof damage.

As you or a professional roofing contractor assess the damage, document everything you find. Make notes, take pictures, take a video if possible. Your insurance company will require to complete forms in detail, make sure you have those details. Remember, the insurance mantra is “proof, proof, proof”. 

4. Contact your insurer.

Now you’re ready to contact your insurance company and advise them you need file a roof insurance claim. There may be stipulations to how long after the damage happens how long have to file. This is information you should know already, so take the time to review your policy now. 

5. Meet with the insurance adjuster.

At some point after you’ve contacted your insurance company, they have assigned your roof insurance claim to an adjuster. That person will contact you and request to inspect your roof to assess the damage. Ask the roofing contractor you’ve hired to meet with the adjuster while the adjuster is there and inspect the roof together. 

6. Deposit the check and get that roof fixed or replaced! 

How do I get my insurance to pay for a new roof?

In the  real estate industry, the mantra is “location, location, location” and in in the insurance industry, the mantra is “proof, proof, proof”. A damaged roof insurance claim, the burden of proof is on you, the homeowner. This means you, or the roofing contractor you hire should take plenty of pictures, videos if possible, and notes, lots of notes. 

damaged roof

How does an insurance claim work on a roof?

Here is where you will learn one of the insurance abbreviations: ACV – Actual Cash Value. This is when the adjuster takes the roof age and deducts the cost of a new roof of similar roofing material. This is the number they will make the check, minus that $500 or $5,000 deductible. It is here where taking the larger deductible could sting.

Call (940) 441-4544 today for help with your roof insurance claim!