Homeowners insurance often covers roof damage due to severe weather.
Take photos to document damage and keep receipts for hotel stays and temporary fixes.
File the claim ASAP and expect to wait for an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage.
Once approved, you’ll get a reimbursement check within 30 to 60 days.
If insurance denies your claim, you can appeal.
When severe weather hits, your top priority is likely to keep yourself and your household safe. But after the storm rolls through, it’s time to assess the damage. If your roof suffers damage in a storm, your homeowners insurance will likely cover the costs.
But you’ll likely have questions, like: What does homeowners insurance cover with storm-related roof repair? How do I file a claim? How do I get reimbursed for roof damage?
Keep reading to learn about filing a homeowner’s insurance claim for roof damage.
What Types of Roof Damage Do Insurance Plans Cover?
It’s important to study up on what coverage your homeowners insurance provides well before a storm hits. Each company and plan differs, so thoroughly read any documentation your insurer provided. Some good news, though: roofs fall under the “dwelling coverage” portion of your plan, meaning repairs are almost always covered. Here are some things to think about if you are filing a claim to build a new roof or hire a roofer to make repairs.
Most policies cover accidents, including wind, fire, storms, hail, and even snow.
An insurer could replace your whole roof even if it is only partially damaged. It all comes down to how severely the storm or related event shortened the roof’s lifespan. An adjuster makes that decision.
Your insurer may replace your entire roof if repair materials are not readily available.
Some plans only offer “actual cash value” for wind and hail damage, meaning the bases reimbursement on the depreciated value of the roof at the time of the damage.
Pros recommend homeowners have a “replacement cost value” (RCV) instead of an ACV policy. This is something you need to get before storm damage happens.
Insurance companies must let you choose your own contractor to make repairs. In other words, they can’t tell you who to hire, they can only make suggestions. As the homeowner, you have the right to hire whomever you choose to repair your roof.
If you don’t regularly clean and maintain your roof, the adjuster could refuse a full reimbursement.
How to Make a Home Insurance Claim for Roof Damage
There are many helpful tips to file an insurance claim, starting with promptness. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the storm is safely behind you. Call your mortgage company if you can’t remember your provider’s contact information. Here are some more helpful tips for filing a successful claim.
Document everything: Document damage for an insurance claim by taking photos of everything. Keep any documentation provided by emergency workers. Keep receipts for food and hotel stays if your home is unlivable.
Avoid major repairs until approved: If possible, don’t hire a contractor for major repairs or a total roof replacement until an affirmative claim has been approved by the insurance company. You can hire a pro to tarp the impacted area while you wait.
Get estimates: Collect at least three roof repair estimates, then compare prices, reviews, and estimates before booking the best pro for the job.
“If you are unsure if you have damage, sometimes it is best to ask a contractor to come assess the situation before you open up a claim on your homeowner's insurance,” said Ami Feller, owner of Roofer Chicks in New Braunfels, TX. “Some insurance companies will count the claim against you and if you do not have any damage, you do not want the open claim. Make sure you hire an honest contractor whom you trust for this assessment.”
What to Expect From Adjusters and Roof Inspectors
Once you initiate the insurance claim, your provider will send an adjuster or a roof inspector to assess the damage. These technicians work with the insurance company and the roofing contractor to determine how much of your claim to reimburse.
The adjuster or inspector assesses roof damage with photos and documentation that, ideally, matches your personal records.
Check if the storm damaged several homes in your area, as heavily damaged areas get precedence.
Jot down the adjuster’s name for your records and ask any questions that come to mind.
The insurance adjuster has the final say regarding claim approval or denial, but they can make mistakes.
Most companies offer a robust appeal process that starts by asking for a second adjuster or hiring your own public adjuster.
“If you have a contractor you would like to use, it can be very helpful to have them present when the insurance adjuster comes to look at the damage,” says Feller. “This way, both parties can come to an agreement on what the damage is and what the scope of the project will be in order to make the repairs.”
How Long Will It Take to Settle My Claim?
Expect an approval or denial within a week to ten days after the adjuster inspects the damage and then 30 to 60 days to receive a reimbursement check. But the timing depends on various factors, including the type and severity of the damage, how busy the company is dealing with other claims, adjuster availability, and how quickly you make the claim. Some state laws say that reimbursement checks must be received within 30 days of settlement, so check with local regulatory agencies.
Will Filing a Claim for Roof Damage Raise My Premium?
Filing a claim for roof damage could possibly raise your insurance premium, but multiple factors go into that decision. Is this roof damage claim the only time you’ve made a significant insurance claim in the past few years? Your premium will likely stay the same. Have you made several claims within the last three years? You might experience an increase. An algorithm typically sets premium rates; factors include the cause of the claim, the total cost of the claim, and where you live.
If you live in an area that is often hit by storms, rates will likely increase as a whole for your geographical area.