How Roof Damage Claims Affect Home Owner’s Insurance

How Roof Damage Claims Affect Homeowner’s Insurance

If you have damage to your roof filing a claim may have an impact on your policy.

If you find yourself in the position of having damage to your roof, your first thought might be to file a claim with your insurance company. However, you should not do so right away. Filing a claim may have an impact on your policy, so you should be very sure before you proceed.

Begin by reviewing your policy to understand what is covered and what your responsibility is.  Then, have the roof inspected by an experienced professional. If the estimated repairs aren’t going to cost much more than your deductible, it is probably best to pay out-of-pocket. There is a limit to the number of insurance claims that you can make in a given period of time without affecting your premiums or even voiding your policy. Multiple claims within the same year are a big red flag to an insurance company.

Even talking to the insurance company may result in a report to the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, which maintains an “insurance score” for homeowners. This score affects your ability to be approved for new coverage with the same or a different insurer. This is another reason not to call the insurance company until you are sure you want to make a claim.

If the damage has resulted from wind or hail, this is considered an Act of God and should not affect your insurance rates. Earthquake and flood damage, however, are not usually covered. Other situations which are under your control, such as damage from low-hanging tree branches which could have been trimmed, may affect your policy. Typically, the first claim on a policy does not affect the premiums, either.

Claims may be denied if you are not up to date on your premiums or if you have failed to maintain the home satisfactorily. Termite damage, mold, and faulty plumbing which has been neglected are not covered by most policies.

If you do decide to file a claim, you should have your roofing contractor present when the insurance adjuster inspects your home. The contractor can help to assure that you get the full settlement to which you are entitled. The insurance company will naturally try to get away with paying as little as possible.

It is important to understand your home owner’s insurance policy and what is and is not covered, as well as what your deductibles are. If you have a roofing disaster, consider carefully before making a claim. To be safe, have the damage fully assessed and obtain an estimate on the repair before making any contact with your insurance company.

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Roofing Warranty Basics

Roofing Warranty Basics

Finding out what warranties your roofing contractor offers and what they cover will help you to make a more informed choice.

Replacing a roof can be expensive, so a warranty is a good idea to protect your investment should something go wrong. As you are choosing your contractor, find out what warranties you will be offered and what they will cover. This will help you to make a more informed choice.

Material warranties are offered by the manufacturer, and you will also get a workmanship warranty from your contractor. There are also some independent, third-party companies which will provide a warranty, based on an inspector’s report, which will cover leaks. This can be a good choice if your roof is no longer warrantied; for example, if you have just purchased the property.

Workmanship warranties may be pro-rated or non-pro-rated. A pro-rated warranty covers only a percentage of any repairs that become necessary, with the property owner paying the remainder. The percentage of owner’s responsibility goes up with the age of the roof. A non-pro-rated warranty covers 100 percent of repairs, with no charge to the customer.

A typical workmanship warranty covers 5 to 10 years, though some are just one or two years. Materials are most often covered for 25 to 30 years. One thing to watch out for is that you should not use the length of the warranty as a guarantee of performance. You should still make sure that your contractor uses quality materials and work is done by qualified workers.

Always read the entire warranty to be sure that you understand the terms. Most warranties do not cover all leaks, only those which can be directly attributed to a defect. There may be other restrictions and limitations as well. The warranty should clearly state what your responsibility is in terms of maintenance.

Choose a materials warranty which is realistic and based on testing or proven performance. There is a certain amount of competition among roofing manufacturers regarding the terms of warranties, which has led to some manufacturers offering longer warranties than their materials have actually been tested for. While this may work out in favor of the consumer, it is a shady business practice and does not inspire confidence in the company. There is also the risk that a manufacturer could go out of business before a long term warranty expires, leaving the homeowner responsible for any repairs which might be needed.

Knowing what to look for in roofing warranties will help you to make the best choice of contractor, as you won’t be taken in by a lower price that comes with a poor warranty. You should review all warranties for workmanship and materials before signing any contract.

 

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