We all hope that our roof is never damaged by a storm or accident. But unfortunately, it’s something every homeowner should be prepared for.
A homeowner’s insurance policy that covers your roof brings peace of mind and valuable protection. However, if your roof is damaged and you have to file a claim, it can become complicated. The process takes time, and making sure you get the best possible roof repair or roof replacement takes vigilance and knowledge.
When should you file an insurance claim for your home’s roof damage?
An active water leak or signs of water penetration during or after a storm could be a sign of roof damage. After the storm passes, you should check your roof and attic space for any visible damage.
If you identify areas of concern, you should consider filing an insurance claim.
Unfortunately, not every instance of roof damage will be covered. If your damage is a result of unavoidable/natural causes, you’ll likely get covered. If your damage was from an unqualified or unlicensed roofer, it’s unlikely to get the claim approved.
A determining factor of claim approval is the age of your roof. If your roof is too old (typically anything over ~10 years), you may not get as much covered than if your roof is younger (10 years or less) and well maintained.
Tips to Filing Your Insurance Claim
Reaching Out to Your Insurance Company
You’ll want to contact your insurance company right after discovering the damage. Many people have trouble filing a claim if they wait too long after the roof is damaged.
You should reference your homeowner’s policy to see what the roof coverage is. You’ll then want to confirm with an insurance agent exactly what your policy covers, and what dollar amount you’re entitled to. Hire a trusted roofing company with insurance experience to inspect the damage. They can also help you as you deal with the insurance company.
Two types of roofing insurance are typically held:
- Repair coverage – Typically covers X% of repair costs.
- Replacement coverage – Covers the cost of replacing a roof that is beyond repairs.
As you can imagine, the replacement coverage is more expensive and a little more challenging to get a claim approved, but that is when you need to stay on top of documenting the damage.
A qualified inspector will need to view your roof to determine the damage. Depending on your insurance company, they may send out an in-house inspector or they may expect you to acquire your own inspector.
Document the Storm Damage
Once you’ve figured out what could potentially be covered, it’s time to record the damage. Take thorough pictures of your entire roof, especially the damaged areas. Don’t forget to get pictures of the interior of your home, like your attic space, where damage could be visible. This will make it easy to show both the insurance company and the roofing company what needs to be repaired.
This is something you can tackle yourself, if you have the right equipment (tall ladder) and are comfortable getting on your roof. Always use caution on your roof, but if the roof is too high, too steep, or you don’t want to risk it, just contact a professional roofer to inspect and document your roof.
Speak with Qualified Roofers
You want to look for a company that works in your area and has experience working with insurance companies. Research multiple roofers, and if more than one roofing company in your area works with insurance companies and has good reviews, it’s best practice to request multiple estimates. We’ve compiled a list of tips when deciding on a roofer to work with!
Your insurance may send you a check for a specific amount of money depending on if the claim approved a full replacement, partial replacement, or specific repairs. They may also give you the option to pay the roofing company directly. It’s important to inform the roofing companies you have filed a claim with your insurance and send them the inspection report if you have one – this makes it easier to understand the damage and provide an accurate estimate!
Be Cautious of Storm Chasers!
Companies will come in from out of your area and canvas neighborhoods that were affected by storm damage. Sales people may come to your door and offer their company’s services with a great deal. They will probably tell you that you have to act immediately, and this pushiness should be a red flag. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
To ensure your working with a qualified company, ask for their company address, liability insurance, and business license. Search the internet to confirm all of the stated information and look at their online reviews to formulate their reputation.
Move Forward with the Roofing Project
Insurance company timelines for approval vary, but you can expect to hear a claim decision in ~15 days. With widespread damage from a large storm, insurance companies experience an influx of claims which can lengthen the approval process. If your claim is denied, you have the opportunity to work with your agent to appeal the decision.
Once your claim has been approved, you can move forward with your selected roofing company to complete the roof repair or replacement.
If you don’t already have a plan in place, implement a roof maintenance routine to ensure if any other damages appear, you can act on them immediately.
Talk to Joyland Roofing
At Joyland Roofing, we are your local trusted roofer located in Lancaster County serving surrounding areas in Southeastern and Southcentral PA. We are ready to consult with you so that we can ensure your home and family are protected!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in December 2020.