With Hail season coming up (Historically late February to August in Georgia), you might start seeing more and more ads from roofing companies on social media and other internet platforms. They are telling you that they can get you a FREE ROOF from your insurance company NO COST TO YOU AT ALL!!! WHY WAIT?? CALL NOW! CLAIM YOUR FREE ROOF!!!…… not exactly folks.
There is a great saying in life that goes like this “Nothing in life is free”. As an insurance agency we are here to guide you through the “free” roof process if something happens to your house’s roof. We will talk about the roof claim process, what to look for, what to watch out for, and the ramifications of a roof claim on your future insurance premium.
Many of you are thinking “Well why am I paying for home insurance if I can’t get a free roof?”. The short answer is you are paying for a Home insurance policy not a free roof policy. Understand that if your house burns to the ground your policy is there to rebuild it back to what it was. There are home warranty products and roof replacement programs that are meant to act as home care programs that you can buy. A home insurance policy is not meant to help with any upkeep or regular maintenance of the home, that is the responsibility of the homeowner. Now, if a tornado comes through and rips your roof off your house…of course that does not fall under the maintenance or regular care category.
Let us clear up a few things first:
- First and foremost, there is no such thing as a free roof. With any home insurance policy there is this thing called A DEDUCTIBLE! This is what you must pay first, as the policy holder, then the insurance company will cover the rest (or not in some cases which we talk about below). If any company tells you that they can work out a deal where they are able to get you your deductible DON’T WORK WITH THEM!!!Some of these SHADY companies will try to get you your deductible back by overcharging the insurance company on the roof estimate but tell you they are just giving you a “discount”. You can usually identify these companies as the ones who knock on your door and say, “Hey I got everyone else a free roof in your neighborhood do you want one too?”
- When you make a homeowners insurance claim it stays on your record for 5 years. Let me say it again for those in the back…A CLAIM STAYS ON YOUR RECORD FOR 5 YEARS and eliminated your “claims free discount” that most companies give. An insurance claim will go on someone’s record if they are a “named insured” on the home policy (ask your agent if you don’t know). No matter if the claim pays out $0 or $100k it will be on your record for 5 years. The insurance claim follows the person. This means that even if it was an old address or another house you lived in it will affect your new home insurance wherever you move! Your claims history will be considered whenever you apply for a new home insurance policy and on every renewal.
- My home insurance claim was denied does it still count against me? Absolutely!!!!! As soon as you call your insurance CARRIER……NOT YOUR AGENT but your CARRIER they will record the incident as an “event” and it will go on your record whether or not they pay out any money towards the claim. Therefore, it is so important to CALL YOUR AGENT FIRST!!!
- In order for your roof to qualify and covered by insurance the damage to the roof needs to be caused by what we call a “Covered Peril”. These perils are outlined in your policy but usually include Wind, Hail, Fire, and in most cases Hurricane (might have a separate different deductible). To keep it simple there must be significant enough damage caused by one of these perils to warrant a complete replacement of a roof.
- Just because your roof is old and falling apart DOES NOT mean that it was necessarily caused by a “Covered Peril”. Again, something to keep in mind is that insurance will not cover things due to wear and tear. When something such as a roof, the paint on the side of your house, or your air conditioning unit have simply made it to the end of their life this does not warrant an insurance claim! Your roof may be 25 years old and did its job for all those years now those shingles are past their expected lifespan and start crumbling. Your roof along with many other things in your house aren’t made to last forever unfortunately.
Many times, when strong weather comes through the roof is the first thing to take a beating to protect you and the house underneath it. That is its purpose after all. If there is significant enough damage after a weather event insurance should cover that damage. Lets answer a few common questions.
What should I watch out for?
A common unethical practice in the roofing industry is to offer a “free inspection” where the roofer will get up on top
of your house without you and claim to be inspecting your roof. Meanwhile, they are up there actually ripping off
shingles and causing a bit of damage to take pictures of so that when they come down, they have something to
show you. In the end these companies will advise you to move forward with a claim and start the work immediately without the consent of the adjuster telling you “It’s OK we know this will be covered. Everyone else in your neighborhood got it covered”. Once they start the work and complete it which usually only takes about 1-2 days if your insurance company denies the claim YOU ARE STUCK PAYING THE FULL AMOUNT TO THE ROOFING COMPANY!!!!
NEVER LET A ROOFING COMPANY ON YOUR ROOF UNLESS IT IS A COMPANY YOU TRUST.
Your agent should always be willing to come out to your house and be with you during a roofing inspection for support and advice. If they aren’t, please give us a call! We would be happy to come out and help.
Remember, if something sounds too good to be true it probably is!
What should I do if I believe my roof was damaged inclement weather?
Call your insurance Agent! We know our policies inside and out and can help recommend VETTED and trustworthy vendors that have YEARS of experience dealing with insurance companies. The key to any claim is making sure the vendor you use is familiar with how insurance claims work and are filed. Bonus points if they know all the insurance adjusters in the area.
What should I look for in my policy?
The most direct way to ensure you have the best roof coverage is to look at the “Roof Loss Settlement Option”. This should be shown somewhere in your policy. There are two different types of coverage a company can offer to you when it comes to your roof. There is “Actual Cash Value” and “Replacement Cost”.
Simply put, the one you want is replacement cost. This will make sure that if there is covered damage to the roof the insurance company will pay for the whole thing not just a portion of it. If you have actual cash value coverage on your roof the company can say “Well since the roof is 10 years old we are only going to pay for half of it since half of its life is already gone.” GET IT IN WRITING FROM YOUR AGENT . If anything, ever goes wrong at least you will have it in writing and can fight it! ESPECIALLY if you are moving into an older home with a little bit of an older roof this is an absolute necessity.
How can I make sure my roof claim will be covered?
The key to making sure insurance claims are covered is to know what the policy will and will not cover. THIS is where we defer to our expert vendors. They have years of experience in the field working along side the insurance adjusters and know exactly what will be covered and what won’t be covered. For example you might have damage to your roof and a subsequent leak caused by that damage, if the vendor doesn’t know how to write the report correctly the damage inside your house caused by the leak could go uncovered or not covered correctly. A trusted roofer will come out and do an inspection and advise whether or not the damage will be covered or not, this will allow you to make the decision (with your insurance agent) if it is wise to move forward with filing a claim.
When is it not wise to make a claim?
If the covered damage amount does not exceed the deductible the claim will not pay out anything and still count against you! Also, it is NEVER WISE to file the claim “just to see” if it’s covered. The roofer/vendor you are working with should be assess and surmise whether a claim would be justified (along with speaking to your agent).
Always reach out to your insurance agent first and have a plan in place in case there is ever an emergency at your house. Your insurance agent should be someone you trust who has local contacts that will benefit YOU. Your agent is your advocate, we are devoted to doing what is always best for our customers. If you like what we have discussed and want to hear more or have ANY questions at all feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email any time!!