There are a number of ways that your property's roof can suffer damages. From falling trees to hail storms and high winds, roofs are constantly under attack from weather and elements. Most property owners are unaware of damage to their structure's roof until it becomes such a massive problem that there are compounding problems, such as interior damage from leaking water. Failing to be proactive after a wind- or hail-storm can result in denials of roof damage claims. We'll provide tips in this article for responding to roof damage, filing an insurance claim, dealing with insurance adjusters, and handling roof inspections.
How it Works: Ideal Roof Damage Claim Process
As we've talked about many times before, insurance companies have a profit-motive to deny roof damage claims. Their top priority, unfortunately, is not always taking care of their policyholders and restoring property damages to their pre-loss condition. The following is how a policyholder should proceed with a roof damage insurance claim, and what could happen in an ideal situation.
Steps for Filing & Getting Approval for Roof Repairs
1. A storm hits your area causing high winds, wind-driven rain, and hail large enough to damage roof shingles and metal roofing, too. Concerned about damage to your roof, you contact a roofing contractor and schedule a free roof inspection. You and your contractor find significant damage to your roof's shingles and/or metal roofing panels. He/she provides you an estimate for a full roof replacement, because it isn't efficient to just replace the damaged shingles.
2. You contact your insurance company and begin the roof damage insurance claims process. The paperwork can be complicated, but you carefully report all damage and answer all questions appropriately.
3. Your insurance company sends out their adjuster to inspect your roof and appraise the damage. She agrees that the damage is extensive in several different areas. Furthermore, she agrees with your roofer's assessment that repairing or replacing only the damaged shingles wouldn't be effective. She therefore approves payment for a full roof replacement, including underlayment and flashing, etc.
Roofing Claims for ACV vs. RCV Insurance Policies
There are differences in the insurance payout depending on whether you have an ACV or RCV insurance policy. For ACV, you will only get the Actual Cash Value of your roof - which is considerably less. If you have an RCV insurance policy, you will receive a check for the value of your roof less the depreciation. Then, after you get your roof replaced, you will receive a check for the recovered value of the roof. Keep in mind that this will mean hiring a contractor that is comfortable handling insurance claims. Most are.
Common Reasons for Denial of Roof Damage Claims
How and Why Claims get Denied by Insurance...
Most roof damage caused by hail, wind and storms should be covered by your homeowners insurance entirely. Storms are a covered peril. Furthermore, any interior damage resulting from a roof leak should also be covered in full. However, there are some cases where denials are issued. Here are some commmon instances where insurance companies will refuse coverage of roof damage.
- Wind and hail exclusions. Although very unlikely, there are some policies that have exclusions for damages caused by wind- and hail-storms.
- Failure of the policyholder to respond to roof damage in a timely manner. If your roof has been leaking for several months, you'll have a hard time getting coverage approved. This is similar to contributory negligence: it's your responsibility to report damage.
- Failure of the policyholder to identify the date of the storm. Most homeowners don't know that this is important. Insurance companies track storms the same way insurance restoration contractors do. It is commonly referred to as a "hail date". You can't just vaguely point out hail damage to your roof - there has to be a specific storm on record. Related Article: Storm-Chasing Roofers.
- Old damage to old roofs. Even in perfect conditions, roofs don't last forever. Typically, asphalt shingle roofs that are older than 10 or 15 years will have a hard time being covered for damages.
How Public Adjusters Help Maximize Roof Damage Claims
Having someone on your side is crucial to ensuring that you get your roof damage claim approved for thorough roof repair services. Most public adjusters, when hired, will waive their fee if you use their preferred roofing contractor. The reason for this is that the public adjuster will be paid their fee out of the contractor's profits for their services provided, which is paid for by the insurance company. Therefore, hiring a qualified public adjuster costs a homeowner literally $0 in almost all instances. In addition to that, at Chateau Public Adjusters, we don't get paid at all if we are unable to get your roof damage claim approved.
Three Ways Public Adjusters Assist with Roof Damage Claims
1. Thorough inspection and documentation of all roof damage. It's impossible to get roof repairs approved if you fail to report it in full to you insurance company. Their adjusters aren't going to look for additional damage. A public adjuster will, and in doing so you are guaranteed to report the full extent of damage to your insurance company. Because of this you are more likely to be successful in getting all of your roof damage approved.
2. Avoiding technicalities and loopholes that insurance companies use to deny claims. For example, if you tell your insurance company that your roof is leaking and "water is flooding into the house" you could be served a denial. The reason is that "flooding" is covered under a separate policy. Just using the wrong terminology can result in roof damage claims being denied. Secondly, public adjusters and their partner roofing companies know when storms and hail hit your neighborhood, so they'll have a "hail date" to report with hail damage to your roof. With a public adjuster, all your bases are covered.
3. Getting the most out of your claim. With their insurance policy background and their construction experience, public adjusters who specialize in roof damage claims are experts at getting roofs approved for full replacements. They know how to demonstrate that cheap bare-minimum repairs are usually insufficient for restoring roof damage to pre-loss conditions. When insurance companies don't agree, a public adjuster can challenge them using legal procedures and policy clauses.
Public Adjusters Challenge Insurance Denials of Roof Claims
If you and your insurance company disagree about the extent of damage and the extent of repairs or roof replacement needed then there are certain steps that will need to be taken. These are often technical and require the services of an experienced public adjuster. First, the insurance company will send out a "third party" engineer. But the engineer is hardly a third party - they are hired by your insurance company. When this happens, many homeowners think that the engineer has the final say. Public adjusters know that if they don't like the engineer's determination of damage they can invoke the appraisal clause (click here to learn more about appraisals). When a public adjuster invokes a policyholders right to appraisal, a truly disinterested third party, chosen by your public adjuster, will appraise the roof damage and compare that with your insurance company's appraisal in order to reach an agreement. We have won many appraisals for our clients, including just this last week for a roof damage claim (October 18, 2019 - we'll be writing about it on our blog soon!).
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Our Service Area
We serve the entire south-central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland areas including all towns and zip codes in the following counties:
- Cumberland, Lancaster, York & Adams Counties in Pennsylvania
- Frederick, Baltimore & Carroll Counties in Maryland