Items you will need
- Insurance policy
- Copies of estimates
- Copies of receipts
A damaged roof on your home is disruptive and can make your home vulnerable and uninhabitable if not quickly repaired. You can increase your odds for receiving a proper insurance settlement for your damaged roof by keeping it in good repair, checking it regularly for damages and having the proper coverages in place in the event of a loss. Some types of losses are not covered in a regular homeowner policy, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your policy language.
Report the roof claim at once. Examination of roof structures should be made each season and after any heavy wind or storm activity to check for damages. It is easier to make a roof claim at the occurrence of the incident rather than well after the fact, and it is easier to prove.
Document all damage caused to the roof, adjoining structures and any personal property you have inside of the home. Photographs should display the damage before repair or restoration operations have commenced. Avoid disposing of damaged shingles, drywall or personal property before the claims adjuster has been out to your home to look at and evaluate the damage.
Check your homeowner policy to ensure the loss to your roof is covered. Roof damage that is caused by a flood is not covered under your regular homeowners policy, unless the flood was a direct cause of wind. An additional flood policy would have to be in place in order for you to be paid out on that type of peril.
Get professional estimates on the roof from a minimum of three reputable roofing contractors. Make a list of all damaged personal property before the adjuster visits. If you were forced to leave the home because it was uninhabitable, make copies of receipts for any additional costs incurred for meals out or hotels rooms.
Give a copy of the contractor estimates to the adjuster. Small damages may be offered a settlement immediately, while larger ones will be calculated by the adjuster after he leaves. If he sees you have three viable estimates that are similar in scope, it will be more difficult for him to justify a low claim payout.
Compare the adjuster’s final estimate for roof repairs to your other three estimates. Check his estimate for missing repairs, materials or discrepancies in estimated labor costs.
Don’t be afraid to deny the first offer. Many insurance companies low-ball claim settlements, especially for roofing repairs. If you are not satisfied, contest it.
Hire an independent adjuster. Public adjusters take on the duties of getting your claim processed efficiently by doing an independent inventory of the loss and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. They are also trained to understand insurance contracts and what the company is responsible for. These adjusters charge fees, usually a percentage of your payout.
Contact the Department of Insurance for your state if you feel they are dragging their feet on the claim, not being fair or acting unethically. An official complaint can often get the ball rolling in these types of situations.
The claims process can take time, often offering several payouts over time for items such as loss of use, personal property and roof repair.
Always be honest when presenting the damage to the adjuster and answering questions. Misrepresentation of a claim is a crime.
If your roof was in poor condition before the storm or occurrence, the insurance company may deny the damage was caused by the event; rather, they may claim it was due to the slow composition or condition of your roof. Always keep your roof well-maintained to avoid a denial from your insurance company.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images