Warm weather brings out the grill master and the green thumb in all of us. It also brings out the risk for heavy rains, and roof damage caused by wind and hail.
If you carry roofing insurance, you likely sleep well at night without any worry over what could happen to your roof during a massive spring storm. Knowing you're covered is one thing, but understanding how to file a claim for roof damage is something else.
Read today's post for a step-by-step guide to submitting a claim.
Have You Read Your Roofing Insurance Policy?
If you've never read your homeowner's insurance policy, now is an excellent time to look it over carefully.
Standard policies typically cover wind and hail damage. Most policies also cover damage caused by fire and tornadoes. Your policy may also cover vandalism.
Read the fine print. Your coverage may entitle you to a total roof replacement. If not, you should get a portion of the replacement cost.
Keep in mind there's a significant difference between damage to a newer roof and damage to a roof already near the end of its useful life. The newer roof usually gets a bigger payout.
Assessing the Damage
Once a storm passes, and you've ensured everyone's safety, you should make a visual assessment of roof damage.
Use caution when assessing the condition of your roof. You may have fallen debris in your yard, which can put you at risk of injury. Another precaution you'll want to take is watching out for downed power lines.
While assessing the roof, make a note of each area where you have damage. Don't forget to inspect your gutter system.
It also helps if you take photos of the damage. You don't need professional photos, but it helps if you can make clear and well-focused pictures.
It doesn't pay to file a claim if you don't have enough damage. Next, we'll discuss estimates and how critical they are to the claims process.
Get an Estimate
An assessment done by a homeowner isn't enough to know the extent of the damage. Your insurance provider can't adequately address your claim if you haven't hired a professional roofing company to inspect the roof and create an inspection report.
First, your insurance company will require an estimate. Second, it's possible the damage isn't enough to support filing a claim.
If you don't have enough damage to meet your deductible, it doesn't pay to submit a claim. At that point, it's best to hire the roofing contractor to go ahead and begin repairs.
Contacting Your Insurance Company
Once you've assessed the damage and have an estimate in-hand, you have enough details to initiate a homeowner's insurance claim.
Each insurance provider has its own claims filing process. Once your provider has all the pertinent information, they will assign an agent to your claim. You'll also get a claim number.
Be careful about waiting too long to file your claim. If you're not sure how long you have to file, contact your provider. They will go over deadlines and the filing process.
Even with an estimate done by a roofing contractor, your insurance company will likely want to make their own inspection.
Roof Damage Claim Triage
If you file a claim during the busy season for roof damage, you may need to wait for your agent's visit.
Most insurance companies give priority to homeowners who have extensive roof damage. Now is a good time to share your photos so that your insurance representative can get a better idea of how much damage you have.
Even though you've already had an inspection done by a roofing contractor, your agent may perform their own inspection. Part of their job includes making sure the roof isn't damaged from wear and tear rather than from a weather event.
With their inspection report in hand and the estimate from your roofing contractor, the adjustor now has enough information to move to the next step in the claims process.
Roof Insurance Claims Approval
Even if you've selected the contractor for your roof repair or replacement, you can't move forward until you have the approval of your claim.
Once the adjuster reviews your claim, they either reject or approve it. While you hope they approve the claim for the full amount of the estimate you provided, that's not always the case. There is an appeal process if you feel the amount isn't correct.
How to Choose a Roofing Company
If you feel satisfied with the amount approved by your claims adjuster, you can schedule your project. If you haven't yet decided on a roofing contractor, here are few tips for finding one.
Start by asking within your network for recommendations. Once you've narrowed down your selections, take time for due diligence. Review each company and interview them, both over the phone and in person.
Most roofing contractors offer free estimates. Take them up on their offer and then talk with them about their damage assessment. Ask what repair options they think will work best.
Need to Schedule a Roof Replacement?
Moving through the claims process shouldn't feel overwhelming if you collect the information your insurance company will need. Make an initial assessment and take photos as you go along. Consider calling a roofing contractor for an inspection before you file your claim.
After you provide your roofing insurance company with the information they need, you'll wait for approval of your claim. Once approved, you can choose your contractor and your new roofing system.
Are you ready to schedule a roof repair or replacement? Give us a call today! We always consider the unique needs of each client and are happy to work with you to get the roofing system that best serves your needs.