Every homeowner has insurance to protect their home and roof from potential damage. You pay your premiums and hope that you’ll never have to use your policy.
Unfortunately, things happen, and your roof could get damaged to the point where you’ll have to file a claim. Doing this starts a confusing and stressful process with your insurance company.
It’s even more stressful when you’ve never been through the process before. That’s why you need to know what to expect when filing a claim before even reaching out to your insurance company.
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has educated homeowners about the ins and outs of filing an insurance claim for roof damage. Now we want to help you understand what to expect about the process.
Let’s get to the 4 things you can expect when filing an insurance claim for roof damage.
1. The insurance claim process is long
Some homeowners expect their roof to be repaired or replaced as soon as they file an insurance claim. Unfortunately, this is far from the case.
That’s why you need to expect the insurance claim process to be long and move slowly. This comes down to all the moving parts and the different people who play a role in the process.
Below is a list of some of the steps to file an insurance claim and the people involved with the claim process:
You’ll call your insurance company
They send out an adjuster for an inspection
If approved by the adjuster, they’ll write up a claim
You’ll find a reputable roof contractor
They’ll go over the claim and supplement anything missing if needed
The supplemented claim will be sent back to the insurance company for approval
If approved, your roof replacement is ready to be scheduled
The steps above vary based on your insurance company, policy, and your roofing contractor, so it won’t be the exact same for everyone. This list only demonstrates what happens behind the scenes when you file an insurance claim and that the entire process takes time.
Knowing this from the beginning sets the expectations for why the insurance claim process is drawn out and takes so long.
2. Your insurance policy determines what the insurance company pays
Your roof should be covered by homeowners insurance, but the payout you get actually depends on the type of policy you have. That's why it’s crucial to check your policy as soon as you suspect roof damage so you know what to expect from a payout standpoint.
When filing a claim, you'll either have an Actual Cash Value (ACV) policy or a Replacement Cost Value (RCV) policy. Both policies equal a payout from the insurance company, but the value between the two is very different.
If you have an Actual Cash Value, you'll get the depreciated value of your roof. This policy means your insurance company only pays what your roof is valued at today.
If you have a Replacement Cost Value policy, you’ll get what it costs to actually replace your entire roof. But they don’t give you the full amount upfront.
First, you’ll get a check for the actual cost value of your roof while your insurance company holds back the rest to calculate the recoverable depreciation. After getting the work done, you’ll provide proof that it was done in accordance with the claim, and then your insurance company sends another check that covers the rest of the cost.
Just know if you don’t get the work done, they don’t have to send the second check for the depreciated part of the claim. Both policies protect your roof, but a Replacement Cost Value policy ensures your insurance company pays for the entire thing.
3. The insurance adjuster is the only one who can approve your roof damage claim
The very first thing you should do as soon as you suspect roof damage is call your insurance company. Depending on your insurance company, they’ll tell you to call a roofing contractor or they’ll send out an adjuster.
If they tell you to call a roofing contractor, you’ll find one you trust for an inspection. They’ll look for and document any signs of storm damage, and if they find some, send it to your insurance company for review.
At that point, it’s out of the roofing contractor’s hands. Unfortunately, some homeowners think that their claim is automatically approved just because a roofing company finds storm damage.
But the insurance adjuster is the only one who can approve your claim. Even if your roofing contractor is 100% certain that you need your roof replaced because of storm damage, the insurance adjuster has all the power in the approval process.
4. There’s a chance your roof damage insurance claim will be denied
The biggest thing to keep in mind when filing an insurance claim for roof damage is that there’s a possibility that it could be denied. Remember, even if your roofing contractor says your roof has storm damage, the insurance adjuster still has the power to say no.
There are ways to double and even triple check your roof if you're adamant it has storm damage. The easiest way to get a second opinion is to ask your insurance company for a different adjuster.
They’ll either approve your claim or agree with the first adjuster that your roof is not viable for a claim. If you still want to pursue a claim after the second adjuster says no, you can contact a structural engineer.
They’ll inspect the roof and offer proof to the insurance company that the roof structure needs to be replaced. If this fails, you’ll move on to pursuing legal avenues that we aren’t qualified to speak on.
Just know this should be an absolute last resort and gets costly with attorney and legal fees.
What kind of roof damage is covered by insurance?
Now you know 4 things you can expect when filing an insurance claim for roof damage. Remember, the insurance process is long.
So, it’s important to be patient and keep an open line of communication with your insurance company and roofing contractor. Now you might think you're ready to reach out to your insurance company to start the claim process.
But before you do, you need to be sure the kind of damage you have is even covered by insurance. That’s why we wrote another article breaking down the kind of roof damage that’ll lead to an insurance claim.
Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas with their insurance claims. We work with you and the insurance company to ensure your policy is adhered to and your roof gets everything it needs.