Will I get approved if I make an insurance claim on my roof?
Should I even bother with this process, just to get denied?
Will my premium go up?
If you have damage from extreme weather conditions, you may ask yourself these questions. You pay your insurance premiums so you will have coverage when a storm damages your roof – but when the time comes to make an insurance claim, you don’t know if it’s worth the hassle.
When severe weather causes damage to your home, most homeowners should make an insurance claim. The real battle is understanding if making an insurance claim is the right decision for you and your home.
At Linta Roofing, we help customers with around 300 insurance claims each year. As we help homeowners through this process, we consider whether our customer meets the criteria for an approved insurance claim by asking a series of questions.
In this article, you will learn the 7 questions you should ask yourself to help you decide if making an insurance claim is right for you.
Asking the Right Questions Before You Make an Insurance Claim
As you go through this process, it’s natural to have many questions on your mind. To ensure you’re asking the right questions, we offer you the same set of questions we ask when assisting customers with insurance claims.
These questions include:
- When did the event take place?
- What are my deductible amounts?
- What type of coverage do I have?
- How bad is the damage to my roof?
- Who is my insurance company?
- What type of roof do I have?
- Will my insurance premium go up?
Answering these questions will give you a clear sense of whether filing an insurance claim for your roof is a suitable choice.
1. When Did the Event Take Place?
Before starting an insurance claim, you need to determine the date of the event that caused the damage. This is essential because insurance policies vary in their time limitations for filing claims.
Some policies have restrictions, such as 180 days, 60 days, or even 30 days within which you must report a claim, while others may have no specified time limit.
If you exceed the timeframe specified in your policy, you may risk losing your eligibility for coverage. Additionally, if you recently purchased a home and there is existing damage to the roof, your claim eligibility generally depends on whether the damage occurred while you had coverage for the roof.
2. What Are My Deductible Amounts?
Understanding your deductibles is important because it determines the amount of damage you must incur before your insurance starts covering losses.
Most policies have two types of deductibles: a named storm deductible, which is normally reflected as a percentage (usually 2%-3% of your liability limit) and an all-other perils deductible (typically $1,000 – $2,500). In some cases, policies may combine wind/hail damage under the percentage deductible, but this is less common.
To illustrate, let’s consider an example:
If you have a $500,000 liability limit with a 3% deductible, there must be $15,000 worth of damage ($500,000 x 0.03 = $15,000) before your insurance company will start covering any loss.
Now, if the estimated value of repairing your roof is $16,000, you should consider whether it’s worth initiating an insurance claim. The answer to this question varies for each homeowner or business owner and depends on their unique circumstances.
To understand whether it is worth it depends on the type of coverage you have.
3. What Type of Coverage Do I Have?
Your insurance coverage is agreed upon between you and your insurance carrier before your policy takes effect. This determines how much your insurance company pays after a loss. There are two types: ACV (Actual Cash Value) and RCV (Replacement Cost Value).
- RCV: The roof is paid for in today’s dollars (what it would cost to get a new roof today). In this situation, you are only responsible for your deductible amount.
- ACV: The roof is paid for but the value of the roof is depreciated based on the age of the roof. In this situation, you will be responsible for your deductible and the depreciated amount.
Now that you understand the two main types of coverage – RCV (Replacement Cost Value) and ACV (Actual Cash Value) – let’s delve into the next aspect: assessing the extent of damage to your roof and how your chosen coverage type plays a crucial role in the evaluation.
4. How Bad is the Damage to My Roof?
The extent of damage on your roof is important when your insurance company decides if they’ll approve a full roof replacement. Here’s a basic guideline most carriers follow:
- Wind Damage: They typically consider a complete replacement if 30% of your roof is damaged by wind.
- Hail Damage: For hail damage, insurance companies often require at least 8 impacts per square (a 10’x10′ area) in 3 out of 4 directional slopes (front, back, left, right) to consider a full replacement.
5. Who is My Insurance Company?
Different insurance companies have different requirements for what constitutes damage. In our experience, some are a little more stringent than others.
6. What Type of Roof Do I Have?
- Shingles – Shingles are more prone to damage. However, they are easier to repair than some of the other types of roofing material. This means that if your roof is damaged, and the current roof is in good condition, your insurance carrier is going to pay to repair your roof instead of replacing it if there is not much damage.
- Metal – Metal roofs are less prone to damage than shingle roofs. However, metal roofs are normally much more difficult to repair. If you have a standing seam roof, the metal panels are normally mechanically formed together. So, to repair your roof your roofer will have to pry apart the mechanical seam on each side of the panel, damaging the integrity of the roof. In this scenario, all of the panels on that slope should be replaced.
- Old roof – If your roof is old it is going to be hard to repair, no matter the type of roof. When repairing an old shingle roof, damage is done to the surrounding shingles while attempting to repair one individual shingle. In this scenario your roof would be considered “non-repairable” and the entire roof or entire slope will need to be replaced.
- Discontinued materials – If you have damage on your roof and the materials are discontinued, the entire roof will need to be replaced. This is because there are no materials available to match the shape of the existing roof and the installation of a non-compatible product will cause leaks. When a material is discontinued, a new roof is normally paid for in full by an insurance company if it has been damaged.
7. Will My Insurance Premium Go Up?
This question tends to be a homeowner’s biggest concern. However, this is no reason to be alarmed. It is difficult to say how much your insurance premium would go up, but if you have an old roof, your premium may already be a bit higher than it needs to be.
Two factors that impact how insurance companies assess insuring your home and the premium that you will have to pay:
Old Roof Impact: Insurance companies closely consider the age and condition of your water heater, air conditioning unit, and roof. The failure of any of these components can result in significant home damage and costly insurance claims.
Insurance carriers become concerned if any of these components are in poor condition because it raises the likelihood of future claims, leading to increased premiums. Conversely, having a new or well-maintained roof reduces the likelihood of claims, which can result in lower premiums.
New Roof Impact: Installing a new roof often leads to premium reductions since it lowers the risk of future home damage. If your current carrier doesn’t lower your premium after a new roof installation, you can explore other carriers eager to offer more competitive rates.
Will My Insurance Cover the Cost of My Roof?
Damage to your roof is stressful enough without dealing with insurance. Whether it’s a concern about your premium or what next steps to take, it can be a daunting task. One you did not sign up for.
Now that you understand the risks, contingencies, and insurance types, you should take a look at the declarations page from your insurance carrier. In most instances involving roof damage, you should make an insurance claim.
However, if you are still feeling uneasy about the insurance process, we at Linta Roofing are happy to take care of this for you.
Not every circumstance calls for an insurance claim. If you read this article and determined it is not worth the hassle, it would benefit you to know how we price roof replacements and all of the financing options available to you.
In either case, the Linta Roofing team is here to provide expert guidance to ensure that your roof replacement process is as smooth as possible.