A properly-installed asphalt shingles roof should protect your home for at least 12 to 15 years. However, a severe storm can change this in a single night.
If you’ve been the victim of storm or hail damage to your roof, it’s important that you file an insurance claim and get your roof repaired as quickly as possible.
Filing claims can be complicated, and you could end up waiting a long time for a settlement if you do it incorrectly. The following are eight steps to keep in mind when you’re ready to file an insurance claim for your roof.
1. Assess your roof damage.
First you need to get up on your roof and figure out just how bad the damage is.
If you’re not sure you can accurately assess the damage yourself, or if your physical condition won’t allow you to get on your roof safely, you can hire a local roofing company to assess the damage for you. Depending on their offerings, the contractor might give you a detailed report of everything that’s wrong with your roof, and what needs to be done. Some contractors even have certified public adjusters, who will discuss your claim with your insurance provider on your behalf. Call to find out what your local roofing company offers.
2. Find out what your insurance covers.
Before you can file a claim, you need to know what your rights are with your insurance plan.
Check your insurance policy files to make sure that damage to your roof is covered in your contract. Take note of any other relevant details, such as what types of damage are covered.
3. Document your roof damage.
After finding out exactly what’s wrong with your roof, you have to provide certain documents to your insurance agency to validate your claim. Take photos of all the damage. Fill out a detailed report of everything that’s damaged, and everything that will likely need to be done to fix the roof. Include the date for when the storm that caused the damage took place. Be sure to also document any interior damage that resulted from damage to your roof.
If you have photos of your roof from before the damage took place, these are good to send to the insurer as well, since they prove that the current damage is indeed recent. As a rule of thumb, you should keep photos of your house’s exterior on hand for when you need to file claims.
4. Get in touch with your insurer.
You should get in touch with your insurance agent as soon as possible to find out how to file a claim. Depending on your policy, it may be necessary to notify your insurance provider within a certain amount of time after the damage is caused.
When you talk to your agent, find out what your insurer’s procedures are for roof repairs and replacements.
5. Find a local roofing company.
Now you’ll need to meet with a local roofing company.
Ask for a written estimate of the cost for replacing your roof. If your roof needs to be totally replaced, make sure they indicate in their report that this is indeed necessary, and that basic repairs won’t be a possible solution.
6. File your claim.
With your insurance agent’s help, file a claim using the claim form your insurer provides. Make sure you include all information and evidence your provider needs to accept a claim.
If interior damage has been done as well, include copies of all receipts for furniture that was damaged, and an estimate of what it will cost to repair the interior.
If the damage is so great that your family will be forced to live in a hotel while repairs are made, you’ll need to include this cost as well.
7. Meet with an insurance adjuster.
An insurance adjuster will need to visit your home and assess the damage themselves to validate your claim. If you can manage it, have the contractor you’ve selected be present when the adjuster arrives, so they can discuss your repair needs together.
8. Replace your roof.
Once your claim has been approved, and the settlement quote is sufficient to properly fix the damage, it’s time to hire your local roofing company of choice.