How Roof Insurance Claims Work

close up damaged roof edge

Filing a claim

You know as a homeowner that you’re required by your mortgage holder to have homeowner’s insurance. You know the basics of what that insurance covers, and it includes roof insurance. Claiming any kind of damage to the roof, you’re not sure how that works. 

Maybe because you’ve not had any claims to file or not enough damage to warrant the hassle. Or is it because you don’t understand the process and what steps you’re expected or should take to file a roof insurance claim. It can be confusing and overwhelming.  Read on as we answer a few questions that are common for most homeowners. 

Starting with, just how do insurance roof claims work?  The weather here in Texas can be beautiful one day and brutal later that same day. This makes it even more important to have homeowner’s insurance, even if you don’t have a mortgage!  

Should the time come that you need to file a roof insurance claim, getting through the entire process can  is going to be daunting the first time. Here are the usual steps that you can expect to go through when you file a roof insurance claim: 

  • TAKE PICTURES AND MAKE NOTES: When your home has sustained roof damage, take pictures, even videos, and make notes. You’ll need these when you contact your insurance company. 
  • A PROFESSIONAL ROOFING CONTRACTOR  INSPECTION: First phone call should be to a professional roofing contractor. They will inspect the damage and your entire roof. Shouldn’t you call your insurance company first? No. If the damage is severe, you need to get the person that will be repairing it there first.  Additionally, the roofing contractor inspection will let you know if there is enough damage to file a roof insurance claim. If the damage doesn’t exceed your deductible, then filing a roof insurance claim is frivolous.  Have the roofing contractor provide you a detailed estimate (an experienced roofing contractor knows what insurance companies expect) and ask them to take pictures of the damage. The information and pictures from a professional roofing contractor will be imperative for filing a roof insurance claim. 
  • FILE ROOF INSURANCE CLAIM: If it is determined that there is sufficient damage beyond your deductible, contact your insurance company and request to file a roof insurance claim.  
  • THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER: The next step by your insurance company will be assigning an insurance adjuster to your case. The adjuster will contact you to schedule an appointment so they can inspect the damage to your roof and the rest of your property. Request your roofing contractor be there when the insurance adjuster arrives and walk through the inspection with them. Remember, the contractor is your advocate. The insurance adjuster is the insurance company advocate.
  • THE INSURANCE ESTIMATE AND PAYMENT: Once the adjuster has submitted their report to the insurance company, they will notify you of their decision to pay the roof insurance claim and how much.  Should you accept, they will issue a check for the repairs or replacement. Most insurance carriers pay the claim in two payments. The first check will be for actual cash value of your loss and is sent to your mortgage company for endorsement. They will either send you a check or send a check to your roofing contractor. 
  • COMPLETING THE PROCESS: Contact your roofing contractor they have received the adjuster’s findings and that the amount is sufficient to cover the repairs or replacement. If there are issues with the amount, many roofing contractors will handle talking to your insurance company on your behalf. 
  • SCHEDULE THE ROOFING JOB: Next, schedule the job with the roofing contractor. 
  • SECOND INSURANCE ESTIMATE & CHECK: Once the job is complete, your insurance company will send you the final check for your  roof insurance claim . It will have the final project scope that will detail the depreciation amount and your deductible that was held.  Once the insurance company has been notified the job is complete, and any negotiating of the amount is resolved, they will send you or your roofing contractor the final check. 

What kind of roof damage is covered by insurance?

Your homeowner’s insurance will usually provide common standard coverage for the dwelling. This includes your home and any attached structures. Then there is coverage for other structures like unattached garage, gazebo, fence, etc. 

This is referred to as HO-3 homeowners’ policy and is the common form of coverage. There are sixteen different disasters that are covered by HO-3 policies as a standard in the insurance industry.  Among those disasters that can cause roof damage are: 

  • Accidental water discharge from air conditioners, appliances, heating system, sprinkler systems
  • Accidental, unexpected bulging, burning, cracking or tearing of air conditioning and heating systems, hot water heater, or sprinkler systems
  • Aircraft or other Falling objects
  • Civil unrest and riots, other Malicious mischief and vandalism, Theft
  • Explosions, Fire and lightning
  • Frozen air conditioning or heating system, appliances, plumbing, sprinkler systems
  • Hail and windstorms, Weight of ice, sleet and snow
  • Power surges, Smoke, Vehicles
  • Volcanic eruption

Not all HO-3 policies will cover all perils, review your policy and clarify with your agent what coverage you have. Each insurance company will haver exclusion and those exclusions are not the same on every policy. Exclusions may include earthquakes or floods, landslides or mudslides, nuclear accidents, sinkholes, or war. 

What do insurance adjusters look for on roofs?

In a general, when an insurance adjuster assigned to your roof insurance claim will look for the following: 

  • Age of the roof
  • The original installation work
  • Broken and missing shingles
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Weather damage
  • Tree damage
  • Nails popped up or missing
  • Normal problems from constant exposure to environment
  • Attic condition, including the insulation
  • The roof decking
  • Interior damage in the home, including ceiling and walls
  • Basic homeowner maintenance and upkeep of roof

Will insurance cover roof leaks?

If the leak is due to perils listed as covered in your policy, your roof insurance claim will be accepted and paid after the adjuster’s inspection.  Should the adjuster find the leak caused by homeowner neglect of maintenance and upkeep, your roof insurance claim will be denied. 

Some home insurance policies will exclude roof leak coverage specifically, which is an HO-8 insurance policy, standard for an older home that is considered a high risk.  

What is the deductible for roof replacement?

This can vary from policy to policy, it is an option you choose when you take a homeowner’s insurance policy.  The deductible is the amount you’ll be expected to pay toward the cost of your roof insurance claim, whether it is repairs or replacement. If you chose a $500.00 deductible and a new roof is quoted at $8000.00, your insurance company will pay the rest, minus any other deduction the insurance adjuster determines. Those other deductions will be the age of the roof, poor installation, homeowner neglect, etc. 

How can I get a new roof without paying deductible?

In the State of Texas, it has been a law since 1989, with a revision of that law was signed in by the governor that all homeowners must pay their deductible. There is not a legal way to get out of paying your deductible.  

For a roofing contractor to offer any of the following, they and you will be guilty of a criminal offense:

• Contractor pays the insurance deductible;
• Contractor waive the  insurance deductible;
• Contractor absorbs the insurance deductible;
• Contractor offer you a rebate on the insurance deductible; or
• Contractor quotes the job to offset the insurance deductible.

How long does a roof insurance claim take?

Every insurance company is different, and if there was widespread damage in your area, you can expect the process to take a little longer. However, the average is up to two weeks. This includes the insurance company receiving the loss statement and issuing the check. Today, thanks to technology, some insurance companies are able and will cut you a check after completing their inspection at your home.  Most insurance companies however are still doing the old school method. 

Will my insurance go up if I get a new roof?

Insurance rates increase typically because of the company’s overall claim payout of all their clients and the cost of living increases, not specifically for each insured client’s claim. However, if the insurance company sees that your home has added risks, this could increase your rates, and just the opposite can happen too. Meaning, a new roof could make your home safer, and your insurance rates will drop. 

These are things that you can discuss with your insurance agent. Before you actually fail a roof insurance claim, discuss the situation with your agent and they can advise you if it is worthwhile and what, if any implications may be result. 

damaged shingles and roof underlayment

Should I file an insurance claim for my roof?

If the damage is significant and caused by a covered peril, then yes, file a roof insurance claim. If the damage is minor, make or pay for the repairs yourself. With roofing damage, have a roofing contractor inspect the roof, even it appears to be a few missing shingles. There can be more damage than beyond a few missing shingles. Need help with your roof insurance claim in League City, TX? Call (281) 338-7663 today.