Dealing with your insurance company seldom sounds like a fun experience, especially if you’re trying to get a fair payout for your home or family. Whether it’s covering medical bills or attempting to get homeowners insurance to pay for home repairs, filing an insurance claim can cause quite the headache if you don’t have the help you need or know where to start.
Your roof is one of the primary protectors of your home, and they’re often incredibly sturdy. However, any roof can easily become damaged during an unexpected storm or particularly harsh weather. If storm damage does happen to your roof, you don’t want to leave it to get worse. Instead, you’ll need to negotiate with your insurance company and file an insurance claim.
While learning how to negotiate roof replacement with insurance is daunting to many, the step-by-step process is actually pretty easy. You’ll just need to:
- Understand your homeowners insurance policy
- Assess and document any roof damage
- Work with professional roofing contractors
- Advocate for yourself and your family’s home
- File a claim on time and without error
So, if your home incurs roof damage and you’re not sure what to do – don’t worry. Simply use this guide to learn how to negotiate a roof replacement with your insurance company to ensure you get the coverage you need now.
Understanding Homeowners Insurance Coverage
First things first, after storm damage occurs, you need to find out exactly what’s covered under your roofing insurance coverage. This will help determine if you can even make a roof replacement claim in the first place.
If you’re unfamiliar with what’s covered under your homeowners policy, now would be the best time to dive into the details before speaking with an insurance agent or claims adjuster.
Before you can get homeowners insurance to reimburse you for roof repairs or a replacement, you need to know what kinds of roof damage are actually covered under your home insurance policy. Most homeowners insurance only pays for damage caused by certain weather events, often referred to as covered peril. This typically includes:
- Water damage (rain, hurricanes, etc.)
- Wind damage
- Hail damage
- Lightning storms
- Fallen debris/objects (think tree limbs)
- Some fires
- “Acts of God” or events outside of human control
- Vandalism (in some instances)
On the other end, the average homeowners insurance policy will not usually provide coverage for things like:
- Accidental or intentional damage inflicted by the homeowner
- Inadequate maintenance that leads to damage
- Certain natural disasters, including earthquakes, tornadoes, or floods, which will typically require separate, specific coverage
Once you know what your homeowners insurance covers, you can move on to some of the more important steps, like documenting the roof damage and scheduling an inspection with either a roofing company, insurance adjuster, or both.
Dealing With Roof Damage
After going through the details of your homeowners insurance to see what’s covered, you can start inspecting your roof and documenting the damage as proof for your insurance company later on.
Insurance claims are all different, and depending on the extent of your damage, you might only require a few repairs, or you might need to replace your entire roof. That’s why picture proof will be crucial when you’re getting your insurance company to pay out on your roof claim.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure your insurance claim is accepted:
1. Assess Your Roof
Once you’ve reviewed your homeowners insurance policy, it’s time to take a look at your roof for any damage. It’s important to thoroughly inspect your roof both inside and out for any signs of wear, tear, or damage.
Start by examining the roof from the ground level first. Use binoculars if necessary to get a better view. Look for any missing or damaged shingles, as well as any cracks or holes in the roof. If you see any loose materials, be sure to document these areas as well.
It’s also important to take a look at your gutters and downspouts. Make sure they’re free of any debris that could cause a clog, as this can lead to water damage. Inspect the flashing around your chimney and vents too. These areas are often susceptible to leaks.
After completing an inspection of your roof from the ground level, it’s time to look at the roof itself. If possible, try to do this during daylight hours to spot any damage more easily.
Be sure to use caution when climbing on your roof. It’s always best to hire a professional roofing contractor to inspect and repair your roof if necessary. They will have the experience and safety equipment to do the job correctly.
If you decide to inspect your roof yourself, wear proper safety gear, including gloves, eye protection, and non-slip shoes. Never work on your roof alone – always have someone else with you in case of an accident, which is very common in residential roofing. In fact, 97% of ladder-related injuries are sustained at home.
While on the roof, take a close look at all the shingles. Look for any that are cracked, curled, or missing entirely. These areas will need to be repaired or replaced.
Be sure to check for any signs of water damage as well. This can include staining on the shingles or leaks in the roof. If you see any mold or mildew, this is also an indication of water damage.
2. Document the Damage
Now that you know the damage is done, it’s time to document it all as proof that you need a roof replacement. There are several signs that you may need a new roof, including:
- Missing, damaged, or curled shingles
- Leaks in the roof
- Stains on the ceiling
- Mold or mildew growth
- Sagging in the roof
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to contact a professional roofing contractor as soon as possible and schedule a private inspection. They will be able to inspect the damage and determine if a new roof is necessary. Also, try to have a “before” photo on hand, so your insurance company can see just how much the damage has impacted your home.
3. Schedule a Private Roof Inspection
Even with the proper documentation on hand, you’ll also want to have a professional opinion about just how bad your roof damage actually is. That will be beneficial during the insurance claims process. Contact at least three reputable roofers to assess the damage and provide cost estimates.
4. Get Multiple Bids
After scheduling a few private roof inspections, you should now have three or four quotes from roofing companies in your area. You can provide these to your insurance agent as a solid base for the cost of your repairs.
5. Consult With an Insurance Adjuster
Although your roofer is probably right in their estimate, your insurance company will likely want to perform its own inspection. Insurance adjusters will complete a separate inspection in order to determine how much of the total repair cost they’re willing to cover.
6. Inspect the Roof Again
Now, the insurance adjuster will come to perform their own assessment of your roof damage. This second inspection will be what’s used to calculate the amount of money your insurance company is willing to give you to cover roof damage.
7. File a Roof Insurance Claim
After speaking with your own contractor and an insurance adjuster, you can finally file a claim. Work with your insurance agent to meet the proper deadlines and requirements to get your roof replacement covered quickly and fully.
Coming prepared with photo proof and accurate quotes from a reputable roof repair company can give you a much higher chance of receiving a full payout.
8. Select a Reputable Roofing Company
Once you file a claim and it’s accepted, you can choose the contractor you want to complete the job. Since you should already have several estimates on hand, selecting the best contractor for the job should be a breeze.
9. Start the Repair or Roof Replacement
With your roof insurance claim accepted and a roofing company selected, it’s time to schedule the repairs or replacement. A reputable roofing company should be able to work quickly to get the job done in just a few days so that you can get back to your normal day-to-day life in no time.
Tips for Getting Your Insurance Company to Pay
Although most home insurance policies provide coverage for roof damage, these companies don’t often like to make it easy to get the money required for repairs or a roof replacement. Keep the following tips in mind when making insurance claims to have a better chance of being accepted:
- Understand your homeowners insurance coverage inside and out
- Keep rigid documentation of all roof damage that occurs
- Hire your own roofing contractor to perform an initial inspection
- Come prepared with multiple estimates when talking to your insurance company
- Fill out all claim forms accurately and honestly to avoid a denied claim
- Stay on top of regular roof maintenance so you’re not at fault
- Take “before” photos while your roof is still intact to show the impact of the damage
- Choose the most reputable roofing company or roofing contractors in your area (and keep an eye out for “storm chasers” or insurance scams)
- Meet all deadlines required to file a claim
- Maintain stringent records of all past repairs and roofing work costs
- Know about your roof’s age and any current warranties
- Calculate the repair costs or replacement cost based on your home’s current value so you’re not surprised if you only receive a partial payout
Receiving Payment From Your Insurance Company for the Repair
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the insurance claim process. Procedures differ from insurance company to insurance company, and you might not receive the same payout for your roof repair under certain circumstances.
After submitting a roof claim, your insurance company reviews all the documentation provided and may ask for additional information or have you clarify certain items in your project estimate.
Once they have everything required, they start determining how much they are willing to pay out for the repairs or roof replacement. It’s important to note that insurance companies often only cover a portion of the total repair costs, so don’t be surprised if you’re still on the hook for paying the remainder of the repair or replacement costs out-of-pocket.
It’s also vital to understand that most insurance companies only cover the cost of repairs up to your home’s current value. So, if your older roof is severely damaged and needs to be replaced, you may only receive a partial payment on the claim. That’s why it’s crucial to keep up with annual maintenance and minor repairs.
The Best Way to Handle Roof Claim Negotiations
Are you in need of some help filing roofing insurance claims to make necessary repairs to your home’s roof? Or maybe you’ve already spoken with an insurance adjuster and filed a claim for your damaged roof, and now you just need your chosen contractors to start installing your new roof.
No matter your needs, your best bet to get full reimbursement for a partially damaged or fully damaged roof will be to get in touch with a quality roofer. They’ll help assess the extent of the damage, document important details, discuss any policy limits, provide detailed estimates, and even help you put in a claim with your insurance company. Not only will this help you learn how to negotiate roof replacement with insurance, but it will make the entire process smoother.
If you’re still looking for a good roofing contractor and happen to be located near Elk River, MN, make sure to contact our team at Northface Construction. Not only is our team at the ready incase a storm damages your roof, but we’ll be there to help you take the right steps to negotiate roof replacement costs, file a home insurance claim, and get your claim accepted. Contact Northface Construction now to schedule your next roof replacement or roof repairs.