Freeman Exteriors

How to Get Insurance to Pay for Roof Replacement

how to get insurance to pay for roof replacement

In 2020, 45.5% of all insurance claims from homeowners resulted from wind and hail damage, often resulting in roof damage. 

When you look at your home, you may see a damaged roof and wonder if your insurance will cover it. 

The good news is that there are instances when you can make an insurance claim to get coverage. 

If you’re staring at a damaged roof, you’re likely hoping your new roof will be covered. Read on to learn how to get insurance to pay for roof replacement.

How to Get Insurance to Pay for Roof Replacement

Before getting insurance to pay for roof replacement, you need to examine your home insurance policy closely. 

The first thing to know is that to be covered in any way; you must have an active homeowners insurance policy when the damage occurred. 

Your policy will list certain perils that it will cover. The perils are the things that might have caused damage to the roof, to begin with. 

For example, often, one peril involves animal damage to the roof. You might be surprised to learn that most homeowners insurance policies will not cover damage caused by squirrels, who regularly scamper about on rooftops. 

On the other hand, an animal peril that most policies cover is damage caused by a raccoon. 

It’s smart to assess your insurance policy annually before you need it to ensure you have quality, comprehensive coverage. 

What’s Covered?

As a non roofing expert, you may not know if you have roof damage. Yet, if your area just experienced an event often connected to roof damage and you can see some damage, you should assume there’s a connection and don’t ignore it. 

Many insurance policies have a clause that only allows you to file a claim for this type of damage within a period, often a year. 

So what kind of perils are often covered in a homeowners policy?

  • Fire damage
  • Lightning damage
  • Hail storms
  • Windstorms, including Nor’easters and Santa Ana winds
  • Tornadoes
  • Ice damage
  • Sleet and snow damage
  • Some animal damage

While most of these examples relate to weather, you might also be covered for types of vandalism to your roof. You might also get covered if an aircraft drops something and it causes damage to your roof.

What’s Not Covered?

There are some things that your homeowner’s policy will not cover, even if it’s the cause of the roof damage. This is one of the reasons it’s important to know the perils that are covered and not covered in your policy. 

Insurance won’t cover if you allow your gutters and downspouts to get clogged and debris accumulation causes damage. 

If trees, shrubs, or vines near your house become overgrown and scratch your roof, damaging shingles, it won’t be covered. Even though this might cause an excessive loss of the granules on your shingles, it still isn’t covered.

Rusted flashing, deteriorated vent boots, or cracked caulking, which might lead to damage, won’t be covered. 

A general build-up of mildew that breaks down your shingles also won’t be covered in most insurance policies. 

In each of these cases, while there is roofing damage, it occurs because the property wasn’t properly maintained. As a homeowner, your insurance company expects some basic level of maintenance to be kept up.

Follow These Steps to Get Your Roof Repair Covered

So, let’s say you’ve had a heavy wind or hail storm, and you have what you believe is damage to your roof. What should you do?

Let’s review the steps to get a new roof covered. 

Review Your Insurance Policy

If you see damage, you likely guess as to the cause. Start by pulling out your homeowner’s insurance policy. 

If you don’t have a copy of your policy handy, you can likely get it online through your insurance agent, or they can send you a copy. 

Take a look at the perils covered and the exceptions for things not covered. 

Be prepared by taking a look at your declarations page. This page of your policy will give you information on your deductible. Most policies won’t cover a repair or replacement at 100%. You’ll need to pay a deductible or a percentage of the repair. 

Your policy may have information specifically outlining the extent of damage that must be present before a complete roof replacement gets covered. If the insurance doesn’t cover a complete replacement, it should cover the repair. 

Document the Damage

Anytime you need to get money out of your insurance company, it’s important to protect your interests in case of a dispute about your claim. 

Don’t wait until the issue is cleaned up. Or time has passed that may not show the damage as well. 

It’s important to document the damage as soon after it occurs as possible. Take photographs and videos to document what you’re seeing. 

Now, it’s possible your insurance company won’t ever ask to see this evidence. But if you end up in a coverage dispute, it can be helpful to have it. 

It also helps to document the date and time that the damage occurred. Any weather-related damage can be historically corroborated with weather records. 

File an Insurance Claim

Now, it’s time to file a claim with your insurance company. Even if you’re not 100% sure of your coverage or the related damage, it makes sense to file a claim if possible. 

The worst thing that can happen is that after some roofing experts examine the roof, the insurance company tells you they won’t cover it. 

To file a claim, you need to call your insurance company. Most policies list a claims phone number. Often you can also go onto the insurance company’s website to make a claim. 

You’ll need to provide some basic information for the claim. What happened, and when did it happen? The insurance company will often tell you how to proceed once a claim is made. 

Get a Roof Inspection

You may want to call a roofing professional to come and take a look at your damaged roof.

Sometimes, your insurance company will go ahead and tell you to seek out several bids from roofing companies with explanations for what they see in damage. 

Other times, they’ll want to send in their adjuster. More on this shortly. 

Even if your insurance company wants to send their adjuster to examine your roof damage, it can be helpful for you to have already had a roofing professional do an inspection. 

What the roofing expert and the adjuster see should be the same, and it should corroborate your case to get the damage covered by the insurance company. 

Insurance Adjuster

Most insurance companies want their insurance adjuster to take a look at a claim. These people are experts in the types of damage you might experience for a homeowner’s insurance policy claim. 

The insurance adjuster will come to your home. They will want to get up on the roof and closely examine the damage in your claim. 

The adjuster will evaluate the damage and decide if it seems like a legitimate claim related to a specific peril in your policy. 

This person will be key in deciding whether you get a roof repair or a full roof replacement. 

Of course, if you disagree with their findings, you can always appeal the decision. This is when it might be helpful to already have some independent inspections completed. 

Find a Roofing Contractor

Once you know what the insurance company is willing to cover, you’ll need to find a roofing contractor. 

Your insurance company may ask to see multiple bids from roofing contractors with an outline of what they’ll do and a breakdown of costs. 

Some insurance companies may ask you to call a specific roofing expert, although that’s rare. 

When you call the roofing company, tell them you have an insurance job and share with them what you anticipate needing to get done. 

If your insurance company is only willing to spend so much on a repair or replacement, share this information too. 

More on how to find a contractor shortly.

Get the Roof Repaired

Once you get the needed bids from the insurance company, you can submit them for approval. 

Then you can schedule the work for your new roof. 

You’ll need to work out how the roofing company gets paid. Many insurance companies will cut a check to both you and the contractor doing the work. Does the insurance company mail the check directly to the roofer? 

This is helpful because then the contractor knows the payment is available. Yet, you don’t have to sign off on the check until you’re satisfied with the work completed. 

Also, don’t forget most homeowner’s policies have the homeowner paying either a percentage or a deductible. So, you’ll also need to be prepared to pay your portion of the bill.

Be Careful of Storm Chasers

Your roof damage might have resulted from a significant weather event where many homes were likely damaged simultaneously. This might be because of something like a tornado, hail storm, heavy snowfall, or hurricane. 

One thing that can happen is that these events draw in contractors, commonly called storm chasers. These are contractors like roofers who aren’t local to your area. 

They come into the area because of the weather event that caused all the damage, hoping to land some easy jobs along the way. 

You might be anxious to get your repair or replacement done quickly. You might wait longer for a contractor, especially if many people experience damage. 

Hiring a storm chaser contractor might be tempting, thinking you can get the work done more quickly.

The problem is that you cannot ensure they’re reputable and will do quality work. You can’t hold them accountable for any kind of warranty if you don’t know where they are from. 

How to Find the Right Contractor for Your Roof

So, how should you find a good roofing contractor?

It always makes sense to ask family, friends, neighbors, and work colleagues if they have any recommendations. It’s always wise to start with someone you already know who has done work successfully for someone you know. 

You can also get online and search for roofers near you. Be sure to read the reviews from other customers. They can tell you what to expect. Look for patterns of information. 

Don’t be afraid to meet with multiple contractors before selecting one. Ask about their years of experience and get an estimate to compare. 

Signs of Roof Damage

Unless you’re a roofing contractor yourself, you might not honestly recognize roof damage even if you were looking right at it. 

If you’ve experienced an event associated with roof damage, like a hail storm or a big wind storm, what might the damage be to look for?

You might look up at your roof and see missing shingles that have blown off of your roof. You might also see damaged shingles like part of the shingle is lifted and broken. 

Most homes have asphalt shingles covered with small granules. One sign of damage is when many granules are blown off from the shingles. 

You might notice tree debris across your roof that could damage the shingles. 

Another sign there’s a problem is when you suddenly see water damage that was previously not there.  

Get a New Roof With an Insurance Claim

While you might have to follow some steps, now you know how to get insurance for roof replacement. Since a new roof can be a costly home expense, it’s smart to have the insurance pay for it if possible.

We can help you evaluate the condition of your roof and provide an estimate for you and your insurance company. Contact us today to set up an appointment for a roof inspection.

Jake Freeman

Jake Freeman

Freeman Exteriors is a family owned and operated general contracting company. We specialize in roofing and commercial renovations. We serve Champaign County, Vermilion County, including Champaign, Danville, Paris, IL and Crawfordsville, Covington, West Lafayette, IN and surrounding areas. Our goal is to be the general contractor of choice through our pledge to maintain the highest quality of standards and workmanship. Give us a call today to begin your next project!

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