How to Get Insurance to Pay for a Roof Replacement
Homeownership comes with many perks, such as stable mortgage payments, equity-building through your property ownership, and being able to design your home however you want. Unfortunately, it also comes with its less-than-ideal moments, such as being on the hook for any repairs after unexpected damage comes to the property, including having to figure out how to get insurance to pay for your roof replacement.
As long as you’ve kept up with routine maintenance, your homeowners’ insurance will cover the cost of a new roof in a variety of circumstances. However, the process of filing a claim can be confusing and overwhelming. Here, we break down the steps you need to take to get your insurance company to cover the cost of a roof replacement for your home.
1) Know Your Insurance Policy
The first step in the process is to read your insurance policy and know the ins and outs of what’s covered. Repair coverage and replacement coverage are two different things, and checking which one you have will help you navigate the rest of this process more smoothly. Reach out to your insurance agent if you have any questions or need to request a new copy of your policy.
Knowing your policy is important because insurance companies will often have exceptions for the kinds of damage that they will or will not cover. For example, most standard homeowners insurance policies cover storm damage, including:
- Damage and leaking from heavy rain
- Lightning or fire
- Hail damage
- Falling debris caused by a storm
However, a homeowner’s policy may have exceptions for heavy wind damage or hurricanes, requiring you to take out separate insurance if you want to have any coverage for damage from these weather events.
Additionally, if your insurance company finds that you have neglected maintenance on your home or property, they may not cover your current claim. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date with your regular roof maintenance and to replace your roof when it reaches the end of its lifespan.
If the damage to your roof was caused by you or another person (for example, a contractor or other maintenance worker), the cost of your repairs likely won’t be covered by insurance.
2) Connect With Your Insurance Agent
Reach out to your insurance agent as soon as possible to let them know what happened and to notify them that you’ll be filing a claim. They’ll walk you through every next step you need to take and ensure that you’re providing appropriate documentation to your insurance company.
Time is of the essence here; most insurance companies will give a specific time frame (usually around 30 days) within which the claim must be made, or they’ll decline to cover the cost of repairs.
3) Document All Damage
Write down the date and time of the damage-causing event. Take pictures and videos of the damaged roof, including both exterior and interior damage. If you’re able, provide before and after photos of all damaged areas. Send all of this documentation to your insurance company, as they’ll use it to decide whether to approve or deny your claim.
Your insurance company may send an insurance adjuster, or claims adjuster, to document the damage as well. A claims adjuster’s job is to review your roofing claim, document the damage to your property, and interview any witnesses to the event. They’ll confirm your account of events and make an estimation of the total damage done to your roof.
Know that insurance adjusters employed by your insurance company will likely try to minimize the extent of the damage in order to save money for the company, so it’s in your best interest to be as thorough in your documentation as you can. In specific situations, it may even be advantageous to hire a public insurance adjuster on your own behalf.
4) Get Your Roof Inspected
Next, your insurance company will want you to hire a contractor to do a complete inspection on your roof. They’ll fill out an inspection report that you can return to your insurance company as proof of the damage, plus an estimate of what it’ll cost to repair or replace your roof. Often, contractors will do a roof inspection for little or no cost, and whatever they do charge will be well worth the coverage you’ll receive from your insurance claim.
If your contractor discovers more extensive damage beyond what’s listed in your initial claim, or if they see that the required repair costs won’t be fully covered by the initial roof claim, you can submit an amended claim with their support to see if your homeowner’s insurance will cover the outstanding amount.
While this part of the process is happening, do what you can to protect your roof from incurring further damage. Especially in situations where the damage was caused by a storm or other widespread natural disaster, it may take days or even weeks before a local contractor is available to inspect your property. In the intervening days, you don’t want another major storm or another emergency to find your home uncovered and unprotected. If you leave your roof exposed, your insurance company may not provide coverage for damage caused beyond the initial incident.
5) Schedule Your Roof Replacement
Once your insurance company has approved your claim and sent payment your way, it’s time to schedule your roof replacement date with your contractor.
When deciding which contractor to work with, choose a reputable roofing company that you can trust with the project. If you can, see how other customers have felt about their work via testimonials and reviews. Make sure your contractor has all necessary accreditations and certifications. Some contractors even provide warranties for supplies or labor, which affords you even more protection for your home. If you can, work with a company that has experience in dealing with insurance claims, as they’ll be best suited to helping you navigate the final steps in the insurance process.
6) Protect Yourself Along the Way
Since this process is so involved and unfamiliar to many people, some unsuspecting homeowners find themselves taken advantage of by scammers. These scammers are colloquially known as storm chasers.
When you hear the phrase “storm chaser,” you might think of the people who run off to see how close they can get to major natural disasters. However, there are also folks who travel to residential areas in the aftermath of natural disasters and attempt to sell homeowners a low-cost, or even free, roof replacement. This is known as disaster fraud, and if you engage with one of these companies, you might receive poorly done repairs, or even no repair at all!
Take these steps to protect yourself:
- Work with local roofing companies whenever possible
- Talk to your friends and neighbors for recommendations on a contractor
- Be wary of anyone who comes to your door offering services before you’ve called them
- Avoid anyone who says they’re working with or on behalf of a government agency (this is a common scam tactic)
- Ask to see the company’s proof of insurance and other credentials
- Always make payment with a card, never in actual cash
- Don’t sign a contract when you feel pressured to do so
- Avoid paying money to the individual until you have a concrete, completed contract to sign
Finally, don’t agree to a roofing contract until you’re sure that your roof replacement coverage will be approved by your insurance company. While they can help you with documentation, your contractor cannot guarantee that your claim will be approved. If you sign a contract before receiving approval, you could end up on the hook for thousands of dollars!
How to Get Insurance to Pay for Roof Replacement: Answered
Now that you know the steps for how to get insurance to pay for a roof replacement, you don’t have to stress if you ever find yourself in need of roof repair. Simply contact your insurance provider, submit your roof insurance claim, and work with a contractor you trust to get the service you need.
Regardless of the repair coverage you end up getting, Whitt’s Quality Roofing is here to help. We can help with everything from quick repairs to replacing your entire roof. As an experienced roofing contractor, we’re qualified to work with asphalt shingles, metal roofing, and more. We use quality roofing material on every project and provide only the highest quality service.
Ready to get started on your roof repair or replacement? Contact us today for your free inspection!
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