Roof Damage Insurance Claims

Many homeowners are under the mistaken impression that making a claim on their homeowner’s insurance policy for damage to their roofs caused by hail or high winds will result in an increase in the cost of their homeowner’s insurance coverage.  As a result, they put off filing claims for roof damage and end up with much more extensive damage that could have been avoided by filing the claim and repairing the roof at the first sign of trouble.

Most people are familiar with automobile insurance and assume that homeowner’s insurance works the same way.  With auto insurance, you rates usually go up when you make a claim whether you were at fault or not.  Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t work that way.  The rates for homeowner’s insurance are generally based on a number of factors including the loss history in the area where your home is located.

If your area is frequently hit by hail, rates will increase for all homeowners in that area. It may seem like your rates went up after you filed a claim, but rates went up because everybody filed claims, not just you.

If a severe storm causes widespread hail damage or wind damage to roofs in your area, your rates will probably go up whether you file a claim or not.  Putting off roof repairs because you don’t want to file an insurance claim is false economy.  Your rates will probably go up anyway and you could be causing serious damage to your roof that might not be covered.

When you have storm damage to your roof, the best course of action is to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance and either repair or replace the roof.  To keep rates low, consider upgrading to impact resistant roofing materials.

Understanding the Insurance Claim Process

Almost every homeowner has homeowner’s insurance but unless you have made a claim recently, you may not know how the insurance claim process works.  Knowing what to do when your roof has been damaged by high winds, hail, or other inclement weather can save you time and frustration.

After the storm has passed, it may be obvious that your roof has been damaged and you should contact your insurance carrier right away.  At the same time, you should call a reputable local roofing contractor to have them come out and secure the roof with by tarping it to protect your home against further damage until the roof has been replaced.

If you are not sure whether your roof has been damaged, call the roofing contractor first.  Wind and hail can cause damage to a roof that is hard for homeowners to identify.  An experienced roofing contractor has the expertise necessary to inspect the roof and find any damage.  If the contractor finds hail damage or wind damage, then you can contact your insurance carrier.

Once your insurance company has been notified, they will send a claims adjuster to your home to inspect the roof and prepare a report of the damage.  It may be helpful for your roofing contractor to be present during the inspection to make sure that the adjuster and the contractor are both aware of the full extent of the damage.

After the claim has been approved, your roofer can get to work on your residential roof replacement.  When the job is complete and you are satisfied with the work, the roofer can be paid.  In some cases, the insurance company will send you a check and you then pay the roofing contractor.  In other cases, after you notify the insurance company that the job has been completed to your satisfaction they will cut a check directly to the roofer.

Phoenix Insurance Claim Filing Deadline Looming

In October 2010 the Phoenix area was hit by an unusually severe hailstorm.  Homes and businesses in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria and Sedona areas were heavily damaged by the hail which was reported to be as large as golf balls in some areas.

If you are not one of the thousands of homeowners who had their roofs replaced following the hailstorm, don’t delay much longer.  Hail damaged roofs are usually covered by your homeowners insurance, but time may be running out to file a claim.  

Many homeowners insurance policies impose a one year time limit on filing a claim for a hail damaged roof.  Some insurance companies has even shorter deadlines so it may already be too late for a few unlucky homeowners. 

The Phoenix hailstorm stuck on October 5, 2010 so you will need to file your insurance claim no later than October 4, 2011 to beat the deadline.  In some cases, the insurance company will extend the deadline, especially for a large hail event like the Phoenix hailstorm but there are no guarantees.  Why take a chance with your roof?  If you have hail damage file your claim as soon as possible to avoid being denied.

If you are not sure if your roof was damaged, have it inspected by an experienced roof inspector who knows how to identify hail damage.  Most reputable local roofing contractors offer free hail damage roof inspections so it will not cost you anything to find out if you need a roof replacement due to hail damage.

Insurance Claims

One of the most challenging aspects of replacing your roof after it has been damaged by hail, wind, or other causes is dealing with your insurance claim.  Knowing how roofing insurance claims work can help smooth the process. 

Unless the damage is obvious, most homeowners first learn that they have weather related roof damage when their roofing contractor completes an inspection.  At this point, you should contact your homeowner’s insurance carrier to start the claim process and arrange for an adjuster to inspect the roof.  Have your roofing contractor do whatever is necessary to secure the roof and protect your property from further damage while you are waiting for the adjuster’s inspection. 

Most reputable roofing contractors will coordinate with you to be present when the insurance adjustor comes out to your home.  The contractor can ensure that the adjuster does not overlook any damage and may help avoid having to go through the re-inspection process.  Some contractors will even prepare a report of the damage to your roof to help make the adjuster’s job as easy as possible. 

Once the adjuster has completed the inspection, he or she will prepare a report of the damage which contains a recommended covered loss amount.  Your roofing contractor can help you determine if the loss amount determined by the adjuster is reasonable.  If you are not satisfied with the recommended loss amount, you can usually request a re-inspection by a different adjuster.

Once you have completed negotiations with your insurance company and agreed on the loss amount, you can finally have the roofing contractor begin work.  If your contractor uncovers additional damage, contact your insurance company and file a supplemental claim.