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How Can I Get Homeowners Insurance To Pay For A New Roof?

When it comes to roof replacements, whether resulting from old age or damage, organising homeowners insurance comes in handy. But not everyone is familiar with how to go about it and how to make a claim when you need to. Getting your roof replaced or getting some much needed roof repair work done may be urgent, and it is important that you know how your policy works so you can get your roofing work covered.

How Roof Coverage Works

Of all the parts of your home, the roof has the most direct exposure to the elements. For Australian home owners that means gale force winds, torrential downpour and occaisonally hail, and if you’re in a bush area it could also mean bushfires potentially.

Mother Nature can do direct damage, but she can also do some very violent indirect damage to your roof like a windstorm that topples a tree onto your roof. Or there could be more unlikely incidents, like something crashing down on the roof from above – like debris from an explosion or aircraft.

Thankfully, the roof is an integral part of your home’s so the dwelling coverage clause of your homeowner’s insurance policy typically protects you from such perils. Damage and destruction from such events qualify the homeowner for a total or partial replacement of the roof.

Coverage is often limited by insurers for roofs that are over 20 years old. They may only be insured for their actual cash value, not for their current replacement cost. Of course, you’ll still have to pay your policy deductible before your coverage kicks in. 

Some policies, especially those written in certain high-risk locations, impose a higher deductible for damage that ensues from bushfires or hailstorms. 

So residents wishing to protect their property often have to purchase additional coverage, or a separate bushfire insurance policy. Of course, anyone who wants extra protection or a higher degree of coverage can purchase it as well.

Are There Insurance Coverage Limitations On My Roof?

Home insurance policies can include coverage limitations for roofs. It’s important to read the existing or proposed policy carefully to look out for those limitations. 

You really need to understand your insurance, including its scope and exclusions. When it’s time to renew your policy, compare your cover with other insurance companies, especially if your policy contains an exclusion or limitations for roofs over 20 years old.

Get a qualified roofer to inspect the roof and provide a written report, so you know the condition before any damage happens.

That way, if disaster strikes, you can show the insurance company that there was no pre-existing damage. You can also request a cost estimate for replacing the roof so that you can decide if the cost of a new roof outweighs the risk of being denied home insurance coverage.

Many companies limit appraisal for wind and hail roof damage during the claims process.

If the policyholder demands an appraisal, some insurance companies try to limit the appraisal’s scope to damages that they’ve agreed to instead of all of the damage that the insured party might find.

For example, if you have a metal roof and file a claim for hail damage, they may come back and say that the damage wasn’t caused by hail but by wear and tear due to age.

There can also be new cosmetic roof exclusions on many client policies, meaning the homeowner must pay for any updates that the insurance company deems “cosmetic.”

So, for example, if you have a metal roof and it gets hail dings in it, they won’t replace the roof because that’s cosmetic and doesn’t limit the functionality of the roof. That’s a really tricky criterion because it’s so subjective.

Special Considerations for Roof Coverage

If an event causes dramatic damage, such as the roof crashing down, developing a major hole, or if it’s torn off entirely, you’re likely to be covered. What’s more problematic are instances when the damage is less dramatic, even if an act of nature caused it. 

Let’s say a violent thunderstorm nicks a bunch of your roof’s shingles. The insurance company may classify that as cosmetic damage, and not cover it. Or let’s say that, after the storm mentioned above, you notice your roof has become leaky

Even though the rains triggered it, the insurance company might claim that’s a general wear-and-tear problem — reflecting your roof’s gradual deterioration (which is never covered).

Ironically, any water damage to your walls, floors, or furniture, caused by the leaking roof would probably be covered under the all-perils section of your policy. However, the roof repair itself would not be.

As we know, insurance can be a real pain. As Melbourne’s leading roofing company, we’ve been around for over 35 years and we know exactly how to deal with insurance, we can help guide you through the claims process and improve your chance of success in getting your insurer to cover the majority or even all of the cost of your new roof or roof repairs. 

How to Get Homeowners Insurance to Pay for a Roof Replacement

Unfortunately, if you don’t follow the proper steps when filing a claim, your insurance company may deny your claim. So it’s very important to know exactly how to get homeowners insurance to pay for your roof replacement.

Know Your Roofing Insurance Coverage

The best time to know exactly what your policy covers is before anything bad happens, the second best time is immediately after you first notice damage to your roof. 

This may take a bit of time if you’ve never paid much attention to your policy, but the information will help guide your financial decisions about roof repairs. You can request a copy of your policy from your insurance company.

The majority of insurance agencies offer two types of roof insurance: repair coverage and replacement coverage. Repair coverage usually reimburses the homeowner for a certain percentage of repair costs. Replacement coverage provides for the replacement of a roof that’s beyond repair. These policies are more expensive and make it harder to get a claim accepted. That’s why it’s so important to document the damage and submit a claim as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, not all roof damage will be covered by homeowners’ insurance. Your coverage depends on your specific policy, your location, and the cause of the damage. For example, a hail storm that damages a roof may qualify for coverage because it’s an unusual and unpreventable event. 

However, damage caused by certain types of events may not be covered because of the frequency of such events, or because the homeowner lacks coverage related to those specific events. 

Or it could be that they didn’t take adequate precautions. If the roof damage was caused by you or an inexperienced (or unlicensed!) roofer, your roof replacement will likely not be covered either.

If you have questions about your roof coverage, call your insurance company and request more details.

Contact Your Insurance Company Right Away If You Have Damage

When you have damage that needs to be dealt with immediately, contact your insurance company right away to submit a claim. 

Many policies have clauses that state f you wait too long, the coverage becomes null and void. It is also important to get clear about the details you provide the company, so they can have a better idea of what will be covered. 

When it comes to an aging roof, your policy may only cover a portion based on the loss of value on your roof.

If there is ever a question or concern you have on your policy, contact your insurance company to get a solid understanding of what they are willing to do for you and to understand if there are any extras that may be a wise investment to supplement your current policy.

Once you’ve submitted your insurance claim, an assessor may come out to do an inspection and provide a final number on what they’ll pay you for a new roof replacement or a much-needed roof repair.

Document the Damage and Contact Your Insurance Company

Once you determine that your roof’s damage is covered under your homeowner’s insurance (or you believe it should be), the next step is to document the damage. Take plenty of photos; not only of the outside damage but also of the interior of your home.

We don’t recommend climbing up on your roof, it’s very unsafe, if you have a drone to get a birds eye view that you can use to take photos, that’s great but if not leave the up close and personal inspections to the professionals.

After that, check your insurance company’s website for information about how to submit a claim. 

Many policies require the homeowner to file their claim within a certain time frame after the event. You’ll want to know the protocol for your insurance company, as your claim may be denied if you wait too long.

Research Roofing Companies & Request A Free Inspection

After you submit your roof insurance claim, seek out a reputable roofing company with insurance claims experience to perform a roofing inspection. They can look for damage and compile a report for your insurance agency. 

If you don’t hire professionals for the inspection, your insurance company may pay someone to inspect the roof on their behalf. Because this third-party inspector represents the insurance agency, they may try to find any reason to deny your claim. 

However, by taking charge and hiring your own inspectors, you give yourself the best chance to get your insurance to pay for your roof repairs.

But how should you choose a roofing company?

First, look for a company that provides both roof replacement and roof repair services for the roofing materials that your roof uses.

Make sure the roofers you choose have experience in dealing with insurance claims, as this will make it easier for them to communicate with your insurance agency and offer proof that your claim is valid.

A reputable roofing company will replace your roof correctly, without causing more damage or charging you an unreasonable amount. If you choose roofers with a poor (or no) reputation, then your future insurance claims could be denied due to prior improper installations.

Hire A Roofer That Will Fight for You

If the insurance company’s offer doesn’t pay for a replacement roof of the same quality, engage a good contractor to be your advocate. They will contact your insurer and press for more money so that they can do the job right.

You’d be surprised how well this strategy works. No insurance company wants contractors to spread the word that it won’t take care of its customers.

Take the Next Steps in Your Roof Replacement Claim

After you submit your insurance claim and enlist a roofing company to offer supporting evidence, your insurance company has the discretion to make a decision. 

After their allotted time frame (usually about 15 days), the insurance agent will let you know if your claim was approved or denied. 

If they deny your claim, you can appeal the decision. These procedures differ according to each insurance company, so make sure to consult your insurance agent for guidance.

If your roofing claim is approved, you’ll be able to start working with your chosen contractors to complete your new roof installation. Once your roof is replaced, we recommend that you get it inspected regularly. 

Not only will routine maintenance keep your roof in great condition, but it’ll make future roofing claims easier to get approved since you’ll have both written reports and photos noting the past condition of the roof.

Whether or not you’ve had a hassle getting your insurance company to give you a fair settlement, following these tips might get your insurance company to pay for your roof replacement if a future claim is necessary.

How Can We Help You?

At Top Glaze we’re Melbourne’s leading roofing company and since 1987 we’ve helped repair, restore and replace over 25,000 roofs for our happy customers, so if your roof is damaged and you’d like to do an insurance claim, or you just want a FREE inspection & no obligation quote from our roofing experts then call us on 1800 88 77 98 and we’ll be happy to assist.

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