Your roof is one of the most important (and expensive) components of your home. It prevents the weather from getting in, it keeps pests out, and of course, it keeps your climate control in. If your roof is shabby, damaged, or subpar, it will severely damage your home’s resale value, destroy your curb appeal, and even worse.
In fact, a bad enough roof can get your home condemned until it’s properly fixed, as there are strict building codes that enforce, with no exceptions, standard conditions for a safe and appropriate roof.
But sometimes a roof can be damaged, and at no fault of your own. Hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, windstorms, downed limbs – these can all wreak havoc on your roof. This is why you, as a smart homeowner, have a comprehensive insurance plan, right?
Sadly, while insurance is intended to be a safety net, we all know that going about filing claims, is a bit of a chess match – far more than it has any business being. So, today, we’re going to talk about the many factors involved in filing a roofing insurance claim. This is very important, so take heed to this, you can and will need this information someday, count on it.
Don’t Be Hasty
Before contacting your insurance provider, you need to take a few steps of your own. You need to take good pictures of the damage. Do this from a ladder and/or windows, do not, repeat, do not walk out onto the roof yourself. Take lots of pictures, there is no such thing as too many pictures, when documenting damage like this.
If this damage came from the weather, then document the date and approximate time when the storm occurred, and document any other obvious signs of the storm, such as debris, displaced/broken limbs, and the like.
Now, one more thing – shore up your home and belongings to prevent further damage, until this has all been sorted. Now, you can contact your agent.
Before filing a claim, in fact, before any damage happens, know what your insurance coverage really is. There are a few different types of coverage, let’s take a look at what they entail.
- Liability Insurance – This is to cover physical injuries that may occur on your property. As the owner of the property, if you’re not insured, you’re liable for these injuries, even if they did something stupid to cause it.
- Dwelling Insurance – This is structural coverage. If any component of your physical home is damaged through unintentional/non-careless means, this will be the coverage to handle it. This includes your roof – you need dwelling insurance if you don’t already have it.
- Personal Property Insurance – This covers damage to your belongings (electronics, furniture, appliances, jewelry, etc). If you’re robbed, a fire breaks out, or a storm causes water or structural damage, this coverage handles the things in your house.
- Additional Living Expenses (ALE) Insurance – This covers temporary housing costs should a disaster render your home temporarily uninhabitable.
Your policy declaration page will explain these in greater detail and will list what is and isn’t part of your current total policy. Do your research, you should really have all of these coverage types. It’s really not as costly as you may think.
What Is and Isn’t Covered
Homeowners insurance usually covers disasters and unforeseen, unfortunate events such as other people damaging your home, natural disasters, fires and other such horror stories. However, negligence and lack of maintenance causing wear and tear, infestations, mold and other things you could have prevented, are generally not covered.
Filing your Claim for Home Damage
If a storm or other natural force damages your roof, it’ll be under your dwelling insurance. Once you have all the documentation of the damage and paperwork for your last-done work on the damaged areas, you initiate the process of a claim via their homepage, a mobile app, or calling a number. You will need to provide your policy number, a summary of damages, and possibly additional materials.
Something that baffles a lot of people, is the deductible, which is an amount you must pay, before filing a claim. It’s an annoying thing to deal with, but understanding it going in, is important. You want policies with low deductibles for this reason.
You will want to schedule an appointment with a contractor that can take your insurance, and meet their requirements. Some insurance providers will have a list of approved contractors – avoid a situation like this, you want to be able to choose your contractor completely.
There are a lot of scam artists out there. While most contractors are honest, hard-working people, there are those who are not. When a neighborhood is hit by a major damaging event, a lot of people will go door to door, offering their services. Be wary of these people, as they could literally be anyone.
Meet with Your Adjuster
Once you have estimates from a reputable contractor, meet with your adjuster, whom will help you surmise costs, and determine an acceptable price. There may have to be some negotiation between your insurance and the contractor, to reach a price both are complicit in.
Hire Your Choice
Finally, hire the contractor you feel best with. Don’t allow your insurance provider to determine who your choices are, that’s never an ideal situation. Demand to choose your contractor, but keep your adjuster in the loop while getting quotes and estimates.
To learn more about insurance claims and other roofing concerns, fill out our contact form today.