I’ve always heard that anything can be insured… it’s just how much you want to pay for it. Your homeowner’s insurance policy is a good example. Standard policies cover common types of roof damage, including “acts of God,” fire, or vandalism. In North Texas, the “acts of God” category is the vast majority of roof claims because of the hail damage and high winds visiting us each year. However, there is a big “gotcha” we see more and more often. It’s a section in some policies (usually buried) that states the age of the roof determines how much the insurance company pays out on a claim.
The Truth About Replacement Insurance
Most homeowners elect replacement insurance, which is a good idea given the number of storms we get. The important thing is that you are sure your policy doesn’t have a clause that reduces the coverage after a set number of years. Or at least be aware of it, so there are no surprises when you receive your payout.
The rationale used by the insurance companies is that a quality roofing material typically has a 20-30 year manufacturer’s warranty. They are that strong. However, with Texas’ intense heat, a roof starts to weaken after 15-20 years. And while an older roof still protects the home under normal conditions, it is less likely to survive a severe storm. We see this after every major storm. It’s not uncommon for us to get a call from Plano or McKinney and literally step over shingles on the way to the front door or find one sticking out of a nearby shrub. As they age, shingles become more likely to crack or blow off. The insurance company uses this as a reason to deny or only partially pay for the replacement.
If you do not know for sure whether your older roof is fully covered, I recommend calling your insurance agent now. If you don’t have the coverage level you want, you can make changes to your policy. After a storm hits, it will be too late.
Smoothing Out the Roof Insurance Claim Process
The best way to improve your chances of a smooth claims process is to take an organized approach. Here are some general tips.
Contact an Honest, Reputable Roofer Immediately
Most professional roofers will come to your home or business and do a free assessment. This assessment includes a physical inspection of the damage by either climbing on the roof or, in some cases, using a drone to get close-up views. Either way, they can see things you would never observe from the ground. The roofing company can provide you critical information to prepare you for a call with your insurance carrier.
If your roofing company does not mention it, ask them to take pictures on the roof. After particularly damaging storms, some insurance companies will accept photos instead of sending their own inspector out. When you have your own set of photos, you will have documentation of ALL the damage.
Review your Policy
Unless you are in an urgent situation, review the roofing portion of your policy before you file your claim. Knowing what your policy covers upfront gives you confidence and enables you to have a knowledgeable conversation. The other significant benefit is it can help you determine whether you want to file at all. If your roofer tells you they can repair your roof, you might find paying for the repair out of pocket is the better financial decision depending on your deductible.
As Joey mentioned in her last blog, very few claims result in the need for independent adjusters and legal action, but it’s best to prepare. Take notes of all conversations with the insurance company, including putting a summary of the calls in writing and sending them to your agent for documentation. Always ask for the name of the person you are speaking with and their direct phone number if possible. Keep all related receipts and other documentation in one place, so they are easy to find when you need them.
Peak Roofing & Construction is here for you throughout the claims process. Our experienced, certified estimators and project managers will help you navigate the process and provide the critical documentation and information you need to help ensure you get the full reimbursement possible under the guidelines of your policy.
About Peak Roofing & Construction
Peak Roofing & Construction is family-owned, with 30-years of experience. Bonded, insured, and accredited, we provide roofing, gutter, fence, window, and exterior facelift services. Guaranteed. Call (972) 335-7325 in Dallas-Fort Worth (residential & commercial), including Prosper, Lewisville, and Southlake, Texas.