A New Roof May Be As Close As Your Homeowner's Policy

If you are a homeowner, and you need a new roof, you know this can be a major expense. The variance in the cost depends on the materials you choose to use. No matter how much the project is, if you do not have the funds on hand, you may have to turn to your homeowners insurance company to pay for it. Understanding what they may and may not pay, will keep you from having any unwelcome surprises.

Review Your Homeowner's Insurance Policy

Did the damage to your roof occur during a bad winter storm? Did you notice the damage following high spring winds, a tornado, or a hurricane? If the answer is yes, then your roof may, or may not, be covered by your homeowner's insurance policy.

The answer is vague because most policies will pay for roofing damage when the damage is caused by non-disastrous acts of God. These acts include wind, rain, hail, ice, etc., but there is a catch. Depending on where you live, your policy may have specific exclusions for tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and anything else which is not considered an ordinary peril.

Your policy may also cover your roof if it was damaged by other things such as a tree, or a tree limb falling. It may even pay for the tree to be removed off of your property, but this does not always mean there is an unlimited amount of financial resources.

Understanding The Limits Of Your Homeowners Coverage

Unfortunately, any policy may have limits on the amount of coverage they will pay. This may be limited for a specific incident, or per occurrence, or there may be a limit based on the total claim.

For example: If your roof is damaged by a falling tree, and you have gathered estimates showing the cost of repair and removal of the tree will be $2000, you may still have to come out of your pocket. If your policy will cover the damage caused by falling limbs up to $1000, you will be responsible for any costs which exceed this amount. Even if you have coverage in excess of this amount, you may still be responsible for paying any deductibles which may be included in your policy.

Typically, your deductible is simply subtracted from the amount of coverage your insurance company may provide. There are other things which may limit your coverage. These include:

  • The age of your roof. If your company feels that some of the damage could have been simply caused by deterioration, they may prorate your coverage based on the amount of depreciation which has taken place over the years.
  • Other uncovered causes. It may also not be willing to pay your claim if it can be proved that the damage to your roof was caused by vandalism, faulty wiring, or any other preventable threats.

What You Need To Do

The first step to getting your homeowner's insurance to help pay for a new roof is to understand the coverage that you have in place. Review your policy, and speak with your insurance agent, to ensure that you have coverage which will help you with this type of project. Once this is determined, follow the procedures outlined in your policy for filing a claim. Most policies will require you to do the following:

  • Isolate, or document, the cause of the damage to your roof.
  • Document the damage. This is best done through pictures, as well as a written description. Some companies now allow you to file your claims online. Ensure your documentation is in a file that can be attached or uploaded.
  • Have your roof inspected by a licensed professional. Many insurance companies may require that this be done by one of their adjusters, or they may allow you to submit estimates gathered from companies of your choice. Always make sure you are using roofing companies who are licensed and insured.

Make sure the work you contract for is up to the standards required by your state. Building codes may have changed since your home was initially built. This means that any re-roofing projects will have to bring your roof up to code. Your insurance company may require your contractor to provide proof in the form of a roofing certificate, before they will be willing to issue any type of payment. You can click here for more information on getting your roof repaired or replaced.