Your roof can easily be one of the most expensive parts of your home; national average costs for roof replacements can range from $30,000 to $50,000 and beyond, depending on your roof type. Thankfully, homeowners’ insurance can help offset or even wholly cover that high cost - provided your roof has been damaged in a qualifying event, like a storm.
Filing an insurance claim to get your damaged roof repaired or replaced can be a tricky process, and it's essential to ensure that you know what your insurance provider will and will not cover. Read on to learn more about filing roof damage claims, what kind of damage is typically covered, and how to make the most out of the process.
What Kind of Damage Qualifies for an Insurance Claim?
Firstly, we want to note that this guide only covers common types of roof damage that most insurance providers cover under their policies. For more specific information about your own coverage, contact your insurance agent.
Your homeowner's insurance policy typically covers damage related to acts of nature or naturally occurring events that aren't necessarily preventable, like severe weather, damage from debris like tree limbs, or other events beyond control. A roof insurance claim will usually not cover damage caused by the owner - even if it’s an accident - or the use of inappropriate or unapproved building methods or materials. Part of the process of filing an insurance claim is a roof inspection, during which your insurance adjuster will determine the cause and scope of the damage, as well as if it's covered under your policy.
Storm Damage (Hail, Wind, Debris, etc.)
Storm damage is one of the most common forms of roofing damage covered by homeowner's insurance, and for many, it's the primary reason they purchase roof insurance in the first place!
Severe storms, including hailstorms, tornadoes, blizzards, and even powerful winds, can all cause significant damage to your roof. This damage can range from hail damage, which can dent, loosen, or even outright rip off shingles and tiles, damage from debris thrown at your roof by strong winds, and even water damage from roof leaks caused by broken or shredded roofing materials. Though it depends on your individual policy, most forms of storm damage are typically covered. Check with your agent to verify.
Whether a tree falls on your home after it gets chewed through and weakened by parasites or a storm sends huge branches slamming through your roof, homeowners' insurance policies usually cover most forms of roofing damage caused by fallen trees. There are some rare exceptions to this, like in cases where the danger caused by a tree was evident for long enough that steps could have been taken to prevent the damage from occurring, but those cases are few and far between.
Any Other “Acts of God” or Naturally-Occurring Events
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, a good rule of thumb for determining whether or not roofing damage will be covered is how naturally occurring the damage was. Most insurance policies specifically include the language "Acts of God." This refers to an event that is unpredictable and outside of human control.
While this term includes severe storms, hail, and wind, it also typically covers earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and even flooding, depending on your area. There is room for interpretation regarding Acts of God, so it's always best to consult your agent before filing a claim.
What Roofing Damage is Not Typically Covered?
Most "bare bones" forms of homeowners' insurance cover roofing damage from causes like storms, debris, and Acts of God, but not much more. Most policies do not and will not cover roof damage caused by the owner, including accidental damage caused by walking around on your roof to clean it off or perform basic maintenance. And speaking of maintenance, if you do your own roof repair, it's possible that your insurance will not cover any damages caused by the use of improper materials or methods.
Damages Caused by Owner
It can be all too easy to damage your roof, especially accidentally. Unfortunately, whether you were working on a home repair that went wrong or a completely unrelated accident caused damage to your roof, there's a good chance that your insurance won’t cover the costs to get it fixed. Most forms of damage caused by the homeowner are considered preventable, especially accidents that happen during a DIY repair. Certain policies may cover very specific instances of this kind of damage, but it is not the norm, and your agent will most likely deny this kind of claim.
Roof Systems Built with “Unapproved” Materials
Using a similar kind of logic as the other example, if your roof was built using materials or methods that are "unapproved" or not up to code, your insurance adjuster will likely not cover any damages caused to your home as a result of the poor construction. This can even extend to damages that would usually be covered otherwise - an argument could be made that a properly built roof could have weathered a severe storm and sustained less damage, for example, so your insurance company could deny coverage for that reason. Many insurance companies will not even issue a policy if your roof isn't built to code since it leads to a much higher risk.
Get a Free Roofing Estimate!
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Tips to Navigate the Roofing Insurance Claims Process
You pay your insurance company month after month so that when your roof gets damaged, they're there to help. Now that we have a better idea of what kinds of roofing damages are and are not covered, let's go over some tips for successfully navigating the insurance claims process and getting the most value out of your policy when the worst happens. If your roof has been damaged, it's essential to determine if your policy will cover the costs as soon as possible and, if it does, to file a claim right away. Once you start the claims process, finding a local roofing contractor you can trust to help get your home in top shape again is critical.
Know What Your Insurance Policy Covers
Every insurance policy is different, so before you take steps to file a claim, call your insurance agent and determine whether your particular policy will actually cover the damage your roof sustained. Also, take the time to dig into the details and find additional ways to increase your policy value. Identify if your policy pays out for depreciated value and whether it's an ACV (Actual Cash Value) or RCV (Replacement Cash Value) arrangement.
With ACV, the total amount of money you receive will be the cost to fix your roof minus any value your roof lost as a result of its age. If your policy specifies an RCV payout, you will receive the total amount required to fix or replace your roof without accounting for any change in the value of your home.
Some Insurance Policies Don’t Cover Old Roofing
The age of your roof can affect whether or not you're even able to get coverage for damages. Many home insurance policies will not cover an older roof without a roofing inspection to determine how long that roof is likely to last and whether it can withstand storms and other kinds of severe weather. If you've been working under the assumption that your older roof is covered when it may not be, you might get surprised with a hefty and unexpected replacement or repair cost.
Don’t Wait to File a Claim After Damage Occurs
As soon as you're aware that you have a damaged roof, start the insurance claims process immediately so you can get your insurance check as quickly as possible and get repairs started. Not only will this help you get your life back to normal sooner, but it will also help prevent further damage to your home. Damaged roofs can let moisture in, causing water damage, mildew, and mold growth, all of which can lead to health issues and even more expensive repairs. The quicker you get your roof back in good condition, the better, so get the process started as quickly as you can!
Find a Trusted Roofing Contractor to Help You With Your Claim
Once you've got a check for roof repairs or replacement in hand, it's time to pick a roofing company you can trust to get your roof back in top shape. The end goal of filing a roofing insurance claim should be to get your roof in the same condition it was in before the damage, but a professional, experienced roofing contractor can often build your roof back better than before!
If you're in the market for a proven, reliable team of expert roofers in Colorado, call the pros at PRQ Exteriors today.
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PRQ Exteriors are Roofing Insurance Claims Experts
Since 2014, PRQ Exteriors has been helping residents and business owners throughout Colorado with all of their roofing needs. We offer trusted and top-rated roof repairs, roof replacements, and new roof installations. As Colorado's premier roofing contractor, we're here to help you navigate the insurance claim process from start to finish after your roof has been damaged. We'll work with you every step of the way to ensure you get the total value of your policy and get back on your feet as soon as possible!
Helping Coloradans Since 2014
PRQ Exteriors has been a leading name in Colorado for nearly a decade. In that time, we've developed a reputation as one of the top roofing companies in the area - a reputation we owe to our commitment to high-quality work and best-in-class customer service. Our clients have come to trust us with all of their roofing needs, from minor repairs to complete replacements.
Making a roof claim can be complicated and stressful, especially when dealing with the daily hassle that storm damage often brings. Contact the pros at PRQ Exteriors today to discover more about the roofing insurance claims process and how we can help you navigate it from beginning to end. To make the process even easier, we offer free roofing estimates!