Here in Florida, our homes have to deal with some pretty intense weather, including hurricanes. After the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian in late 2022, many people were faced with a variety of home repair needs, including roofing. As storm-related re-roofing is often covered by homeowner’s insurance, here’s how to handle a roof inspection for an insurance claim.
What’s Typically Covered
It’s typical that your homeowner’s policy will include an inspection that ascertains the condition of the roof at the time the policy is written. If the inspector concludes that your home has 20-year shingles and they’re about 10 years old, you’ll get a policy reflecting the reality of depreciation. This process is sometimes called prorating. It simply reflects that an item that wears out, such as a roof, will be worth less over time. In other words, the roof is worth less cash value than a brand new roof.
If a storm damages your old roof the next year, you will not get a brand new roof out of it. You’ll get the depreciated value. That’s the actual cash value (ACV) at the time of the damage. Most policies are written using ACV, but you may be able to upgrade to replacement cost value (RCV) on your new roof. It will cost more, but you might decide that the extra cost is worth the money.
Remember, too, that you’ll have to pay your deductible first, before the policy will kick in and pay for repairs or a new roof. That’s what the inspector and adjuster are doing. They’re determining the value of your roof and what your policy has agreed to cover.
Should I Get A Contractor Roof Inspection for An Insurance Claim?
Unless your insurance policy stipulates that their inspector be first to inspect, getting a contractor inspection is a solid idea. Getting a professional opinion from an unbiased professional can give you another professional’s point of view. After all, the insurance company would prefer to pay for as few claims as possible, especially following a major storm event.
Plus, it’s wise to get a professional opinion that’s not biased based on your insurance policy. And in the case of major storm damage, you might need to make an immediate short-term repair to keep the rain out. A qualified contractor can advise you on that repair. Finally, after a major storm such as a hurricane, insurance inspectors are going to be slammed with inspections. You simply cannot wait to make some repairs, so get the advice you need ASAP with a contractor inspection.
Contact your Insurance Agent Right Away
Of course we are not advising that you stall on contacting your agent. We just think it’s wise to have a professional opinion in your pocket when you deal with the insurance inspector. Knowledge is potential power, after all, so just remember that you will always have to advocate for yourself. That’s life.
When you contact your insurance agent, the agent will schedule an inspection, and the inspector will show up at the assigned time. Sometimes the inspector will climb up to the roof, but some inspectors use drones. Either way, the inspector will file a report and turn the results over to an adjuster. The adjuster reviews the policy to determine if the policy covers the damage. Then you learn what protection you have and what the insurance company will do for you.
What Is the Inspector Looking For?
It may appear that your roof is just a bunch of shingles, but your roof has numerous components that all must be in adequate condition. In addition to the shingles, your roof will have vent pipes with or without rubber boots, attic vents, and flashing. Rain gutters are considered part of the roofing system but are not mandatory everywhere. They’re a good idea in most locales, however, as they direct and control the flow of water from the roof to the ground. The inspector will check all the components, looking for any signs of trouble. The inspector is also looking for signs of existing water damage.
Here are the other elements an insurance inspector will be checking during your roof inspection. These will impact the compensation you’ll receive from your insurance company.
How old was the roof at the time of damage? If it was 15 years old with 20-year shingles, there’s not much cash value left in that roof. The compensation will reflect that. If you’ve been in the home for a few years but have had professional roof inspections, make sure to present those to your agent to corroborate the condition of the roof before the storm damage.
Regular Maintenance of the Roof
If a rubber boot around a vent penetration failed but wasn’t replaced, for example, that could lead to water damage that was present before the storm. By neglecting to replace the rubber boot, you didn’t maintain the roof properly and caused damage to the roof before the storm occurred. In that case, your insurance will not cover some of the repair cost. That’s why periodic inspections and performing needed maintenance are so crucial—fixing small problems before they can become large problems.
Signs of Previous Damage
It’s possible for your roof to be damaged without your noticing. Let’s say a windstorm lifts and breaks some shingles but you don’t inspect it, so have no idea the damage has occurred. Any inspector, be it a contractor or insurance inspector, will be able to determine that it’s not recent damage. Since you did not repair the damage, and did not file a claim, the insurance inspector will note that there was previous unrepaired damage, and your new claim will most likely be denied. There’s another reason to keep up with inspections, maintenance, and repairs.
We’re Here When You Need Us
Dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating and does not always go your way. Therefore, it’s wise to have a professional, unbiased opinion. If you’d like to talk about inspecting or replacing your roof or about warranties for any particular type of roofing, give us a call at 813-373-9088. Our team has more than 40 years of experience in roofing. You can also use this form and mention, “how to handle a roof inspection for insurance claim” and we will contact you.