When should you file a roof insurance claim for roof damage, and what kind of damage should you file for? Demystify the process with this starter guide on navigating the complexities of roof claims, and how the homeowner should approach them.
Homeowners insurance is one of the most crucial types of insurance to have; it financially secures some of your biggest and most valuable assets, like your house and personal property. For some, the process feels confusing and a little scary. You may even have heard things like “losing coverage” or “losing your discount” by filing one claim too many.
Rest assured, you won’t be penalized for making an insurance claim for roof damage. Just get a clear read on your homeowner’s insurance policy and you’ll be ready to go.
So then, what is homeowner’s insurance?
What is homeowners insurance?
The purpose of homeowners insurance is to get you back to status-quo if an unexpected loss occurs. You pay a monthly or yearly premium in exchange for their promise to put you back where you were before the loss.
In other words, you’re not allowed to make a profit off your insurance company.
That’s why, when a car is totaled, they’ll only pay what the car was worth at the time of the crash and not what you paid for it when it was new.
When it comes to homeowners insurance, you can opt for what’s called “replacement cost” coverage. With replacement cost coverage, the insurance company is obligated to replace your roof at today’s cost, not just pay what your old roof was worth.
Understand what’s covered
Some of the most common unexpected losses for a home are fire, water, or storm damage. Fire and water damage are sometimes avoidable, which is why insurance companies try to minimize avoidable risk.
If a homeowner’s behavior creates added risk they may not want to cover that home, or if you live in a certain area that’s prone to certain perils, companies may raise the rates to avoid that risk.
For example, if you file too many water damage claims, your insurance may drop or raise your rate. Why? Because that can be avoided with good maintenance. But filing a claim for unavoidable, sudden damage — like hail or wind damage to a roof — doesn’t count against you in the same way.
And that’s the key to roof insurance claims.
How many claims is too many?
Typically, a homeowner files around one or two claims every 10 years or so. But someone who files a claim much more frequently, like every year or two, is going to get hit with higher rates. They may even get dropped after a while.
The key is to avoid filing claims for things that aren’t covered, or for things you can fix and maintain yourself.
Know your deductible
Before filing a claim on your roof, make sure it’s for a covered expense. Then, consider the risk/reward of adding another claim to your history.
If your deductible is $2,000, and your repair is only going to cost $1,500, your claim won’t be covered — but it will stay on your record for three years. Even if the repair is $2,500, it might not make sense to make a claim.
The more insurance claims you have on your record, the more of an insurance risk you are. To keep your rates low, avoid being seen as a high risk with a frequent file record.
How badly is your roof damaged?
Again, consider the risk-reward of making a claim, or adding another to your history. If the damage isn’t too bad, you might be able to fix it for less than your deductible. By not submitting the claim, you’ll keep your risk profile low.
If you do decide to file for damage, best to do it right the first time around. It’s recommended to let a licensed roofer assess the damage for you and clarify what is covered under your policy. You can book a free roof inspection with one here.
How much is your roof worth?
Just like a car, a roof will depreciate with time and age. When reviewing your policy, check to see if you’re covered for the Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV).
Lots of people opt for the Actual Cash Value coverage because the monthly premiums are lower. But that coverage will only pay for what the roof’s worth at the time of the loss. The savings might not be worth it if a bad storm leaves you needing a new roof.
Or just let us take care of it for you
A roof insurance claim can be one of the more expensive and important claims you’ll make on your house. And yes, dealing with insurance companies is notoriously overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
Phoenix’s trusted industry professionals will guide you through the insurance claims process from start to finish. Most customers even get free or discounted roofs thanks to our insurance specialists.
If you need a licensed professional to inspect your roof to start your claims process, contact Phoenix Exteriors and schedule a free inspection today!