When your roofing system has been damaged by a major storm in Florida – or for that matter, if it has been damaged in any way covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, you need to have an action plan. Processing insurance claims can take time, and yet, roof repairs – along with other post-storm restoration projects, tend to be extremely urgent.
If your roofing or another part of your home has suffered storm damage or has been damaged in some other way recently, here are ten tips to assist you in filing your home insurance claim and getting the necessary repairs done in a professional and timely manner.
1. Understand How Your Insurer Will Reimburse You
Normally, your home insurance reimburses you either based on actual cash value or based on replacement cost. Most often, it’s replacement cost. You actually tend to pay more with an actual cash value policy, but again, these are rare.
With a replacement cost basis, you only have to pay out of pocket one time, covering your deductible for the covered repairs. Make sure you understand when and how to make this payment and to whom. Call your insurance company to verify the details.
2. Make No Repairs Before Contacting Your Insurer
If you have homeowner’s insurance, you should call your insurer as soon as possible following the roof damage. Take a short walk around the building and get an idea of what damage was done. Take some pictures too, and write down your findings in a notebook. Refer to these notes when you talk to your insurer.
Remember that any uncovered repairs will not be paid for by the insurance company. So you want to make sure you don’t end up paying more out of pocket due to overlooking any stipulations your insurer may have.
3. Know Your Policy’s Exclusions
Not all insurance claims are approved. You need to know what is included and what is excluded. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when filing a roof repair claim:
- Damage due to poor maintenance will not be covered.
- Damage done by the homeowner in an attempted DIY repair is not covered.
- Most insurance companies do not cover repairs if you have three or more layers of shingles on your rooftop.
- If the roofing is past its manufacturer’s warranty, or past the age limit set by the insurer (often 20 years), roof replacement may not be covered.
- Certain types of roofing material may be excluded. For example, some insurers exclude recycled wood shakes or heavy roofing like slate. And if you want to change the type of roofing material on your home, that would affect the calculation of “replacement value.”
4. Determine If Local Repairs or Full Re-roofing Is Necessary
Not all storm damage results in full roof replacement. Oftentimes, you only need to file an insurance claim to repair a particular part of your roof.
In the event of hail damage, it may not always be obvious whether all the roofing should be replaced or not. Your roofing contractor will be able to determine how much or your roof’s square footage has been compromised and needs to be replaced.
5. Order the Roof Inspection
In some cases, you may wish to have a roofer inspect your roof before calling your insurer to determine if you have sufficient damage to warrant making a claim. But it’s often best to call the insurer first and have them choose the roof inspection company – or to suggest one to them you are comfortable with.
Some insurers may have their own assessors come out to inspect the damage. This may be instead of or in addition to the roofing contractor’s inspection.
6. Actually Filing Insurance Claims
Once you are sure you will file an insurance claim, you will need to secure the necessary paperwork from the insurance company. The insurance adjuster will survey the damage and come up with an estimate. He will let you know how much the insurance company is willing to pay for the repair work.
Your insurance adjuster may hand you a paper check for the amount covered that is to be spent only on making the repairs the inspection verified needed to be done.
7. Keep Your Mortgage Company Informed
You may need to send any checks from your insurer to your mortgage company so they can endorse it. If this is not done, it is possible that the mortgage company could hold up the process.
Since the bank or other mortgage lender still owns a part of the property, they are very interested in any damage that has been done to it and in seeing that such damage is taken care of properly.
8. Take Care of Any Final Paperwork
You may get a final additional check from the insurer, which also needs to be endorsed by the mortgage holder. There may also be warranty paperwork and other financial records that have to be dealt with.
You have to close the project with the contractor and tie up all “loose ends.” If you aren’t sure about some of the details, talk to your roofing contractor and/or to your insurance agent to be sure.
9. Make Sure You Get What You Pay For!
Select a roofing contractor to handle the repairs. Find a local, reliable company and try to get your insurer to agree to let them do the job for you. Your insurer may recommend a roofer – if so, be sure you also research it out on your own before simply agreeing.
But definitely make sure the contractor will be accepted by the insurance company! Never just start the project without contacting your home insurer, assuming this will be so.
10. Practice Good Roof Maintenance Going Forward
Protect your new roof or newly repaired roof! Be sure to get an annual roof inspection done by a trustworthy, local contractor – ideally just before or just after hurricane season.
Keep your roof surface clear of debris, the gutters unclogged, and tree branches away from the roofing. Take care of any repairs or leaks promptly, and file insurance claims on them too, if applicable, to save money. Carefully maintained, your roofing can last the maximum number of years and will continue to be fully covered by your homeowner’s insurance.
To learn more about how homeowner’s insurance claims work with roofing damage, and to get a free, no-obligation estimate for roof repairs or roof replacement on your Central Florida home or commercial property, contact Sheegog Contracting today!