How to Get a Free Roof Replacement With Homeowners Insurance

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Jul 11, 2023

A full roof replacement occurs when the entire roof of your home is removed and replaced with a new one.

Insurance companies may cover damage from hail or wind storms because these are considered “perils” or unexpected events that cause damage. These events are typically uncontrollable and unforeseeable, making them insurable risks. Insurance providers don’t want their customer to have a leaky roof that makes the home susceptible to further claims. As a result, coverage for these perils is common in standard homeowners’ insurance policies.

Why an Insurance Company Might Cover Hail or Wind Damage

  1. Unforeseen and Accidental: Insurance is designed to cover losses that are sudden and accidental. Hail and windstorms fit this description. They occur without warning and can cause significant damage to roofs and other parts of the home.
  2. Part of the Standard Coverage: Most homeowners’ insurance policies include coverage for the structure of your home, which includes your roof. They provide coverage for specific perils, which often include windstorms, hail, fire, and others.
  3. Protecting Their Investment: The insurance company has a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of your home. If your roof is damaged and not repaired or replaced, it could lead to additional damage (like water damage from leaks), which would be more costly for them in the long run.

Full Roof Replacement

The process involves removing all the existing shingles, inspecting the roof deck for damage, making any necessary repairs, and then installing a new roof. This can involve just the outer layer (i.e., the shingles or tiles) or, in more severe cases, the entire structure including the underlayment, deck, and other components.

While it’s more expensive than just patching up a few spots, a full roof replacement may be necessary if:

  1. The roof is old and nearing the end of its expected life.
  2. Damage is extensive, and patching wouldn’t ensure the integrity of the roof.
  3. There are multiple layers of shingles already installed. In many areas, building codes only allow two layers of shingles, so if damage occurs and you already have two layers, you’ll need to replace the whole roof.
  4. There’s significant damage to the structure of the roof, not just the shingles.

Keep in mind that the decision to repair or replace isn’t just up to you and your roofer. The insurance adjuster will also have a say, based on the terms of your policy and the extent of the damage. They may only agree to cover a roof replacement if they believe it’s the most cost-effective solution. If the roof can be adequately repaired for less, they may insist on that.

How to Get Insurance to Pay for Roof Replacement

When you experience roof damage, your homeowner’s insurance policy may help cover the cost of repair or replacement. It typically covers perils like hail, wind damage, fire, vandalism, and other unexpected incidents. However, regular wear and tear or maintenance-related issues are usually not covered. It’s important to check your specific policy to see what is and isn’t covered. You’ll also want to check your policy details to determine your deductible. While the cost of the roof may be fully covered, you’ll still need to pay the amount of the deductible.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Assess the Damage: Inspect your roof to determine the extent of the damage. This is often done in the company of a roofing professional, who can provide a thorough analysis of the damage and an estimate of the repair or replacement cost.

2. Document the Damage: Take photographs or videos of the damage. Document every detail that you can. This will help you when you need to describe the damage to your insurance provider.

3. Review Your Insurance Policy: Go through your policy documents to ensure that the type of damage your roof has sustained is covered. Check your deductibles and the claim procedure. If you don’t understand some terms or procedures, don’t hesitate to contact your insurance agent for clarification.

4. Contact Your Insurance Company: Report the damage to your insurance company as soon as possible. They’ll typically send an insurance adjuster to assess the damage and estimate the cost of repair or replacement.

5. File a Claim: Your insurance company will provide a claim form that you’ll need to fill out. Include all the details about the damage and attach any documentation that you have (photos, videos, receipts, and the estimate from the roofing professional). Send this to your insurance company in the manner they prescribe (email, online portal, mail, etc.)

6. Meet the Adjuster: The insurance adjuster will visit your home to inspect the damage firsthand. It’s crucial to have all your documentation ready and be available to answer any questions they may have.

7. Review and Wait: After the adjuster’s visit, your insurance company will review your claim. This may take some time, depending on the complexity of your claim and the number of claims the company is dealing with at the time.

8. Claim Resolution: Once your claim is reviewed, your insurance company will communicate their decision. If they approve the claim, they’ll provide details about how much they’re willing to pay, based on your policy’s terms and your deductible. If they deny the claim, they should provide reasons for the denial.

9. Disbursement: If your claim is approved, your insurance company will send a check for the approved amount, often minus your deductible. Depending on your policy and the type of damage, you may get an initial partial payment, then a final payment once the work is completed and the invoice is submitted.

10. Repair or Replacement: Hire a professional to repair or replace your roof. Be sure to keep all receipts and documents related to the repair or full replacement.

Remember, it’s essential to keep all communication with your insurance company in writing and keep copies of all documents related to your claim. This will be helpful if there’s a dispute later on. If your claim is denied, or you feel the payout is insufficient, you have the right to appeal or seek a third-party appraisal.

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