Many homeowner policies cover roof replacements necessitated by hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and vandalism.
However, coverage for wind, rain, ice or hail damage is often prorated, based upon the age of your roof. Falling trees and branches cause much of this wind-related damage.The big, heavy branches of New Jersey’s oaks and maples can cause a great deal of damage. In other cases, heavy winds can peel away portions of a roof, potentially exposing the home’s framing and interior.
When Roof Damage Occurs in New Jersey
To get your insurer to pay for a home roof replacement, take the following steps:
- Work with a certified roof inspector to quickly identify all storm damage.
- Take pictures and document details.
- Carefully review your policy. Ask your agent questions to clarify.
- Promptly file your claim.
- Keep all your receipts.
Identify a reputable local roofing contractor with significant experience working with insurance companies. Their roof inspector should come out to your home to determine the significance of the damage.
Keep in mind that claims must be filed in a timely manner. Adhering to a certain period of time after the damage occurred is often required. In this case, documentation is key.
Note the time and date of the storm. Documentation often includes photographs and information compiled by a certified roof inspector.
It is also important to detail any damage below the roof, including the home’s framing and interior. Carefully review the part of your homeowner’s policy that pertains to your roof.
It is not always easy to understand all the fine print, so don’t hesitate to contact your insurance agent for assistance in determining how your coverage will or will not apply. When particularly bad weather events happen, insurers typically handle claims on a first-come, first-served basis.
Keep track of the claim number you are given, as well as names, phone numbers and times. Note conversation details, results of personal encounters with your agent or insurance company officials and any missed appointments.
When insurance pays for your roof replacement, you may also qualify for reimbursement for the cost of temporary emergency repairs, like stabilizing the roof structure and placing tarps to keep rain out of your home. If you have to temporarily leave your home, the cost of lodging and other living expenses may be covered. In this case, it’s important to keep all of your receipts.
You may incur certain expenses even when the insurance company approves a full roof replacement. Depreciation and a possible deductible may increase your costs, but as a result, you’ll end up with a new, modern roof that will provide peace of mind for many years to come.
Sometimes a policy will only cover the depreciated value of the damaged portion of the roof. In other cases, it will cover the full cost of repairs or replacement. The good news is that depreciation is not necessarily a factor in the early years following a roof replacement.
For example, some policies will cover the full replacement of a severely damaged roof if it is less than 10 years old. However, prorated payments on older roofs are common.
If the cost of repairs is modest, the amount of your policy’s deductible may be a consideration. Separately, you should know that hurricane damage is covered differently by certain policies.
Deductibles for hurricane damage are often calculated as a percentage of your home’s value. For example, this may be two percent of an inland home’s value or five percent of the value of a coastal home.
Simplifying the Claims Process
Insurers typically demand that residential roof repair and replacement claims be submitted in a very specific, detailed manner. Sometimes, a nonspecific repair estimate will trigger a visit by the insurer’s own adjuster or a so-called “program contractor” that represents the interests of the company, not the homeowner.
Working with a locally known, certified roofing contractor can improve your chances of getting your roof replacement covered. A contractor familiar with the software insurers use can present information in the requested format. This effort can leave the insurer less wiggle room to exploit exceptions in the policy.
Sometimes, an insurer won’t pay what the homeowner feels it should. When you disagree with a claims decision, request that the insurer state what provision in the policy was the basis for the decision.
A questionable response should trigger a request that the claim be reevaluated. You can also request a conversation with higher ranking managers or executives in the company.
Finally, a homeowner complaint filed with the state insurance commissioner will lead to a request from the state that the insurer to explain the basis for the decision. When you and your insurance company can’t agree, the dispute is often resolved through arbitration.
Contact Us Today
Since 1977, CRS has served homeowners in New Jersey. We are full-service roofing contractors that offer emergency services following severe storms and other catastrophic events.
We also offer routine inspections/maintenance, minor/major repairs and roof replacements. CRS is proud to be certified as a Master Elite contractor by GAF, the largest roofing manufacturer in North America.
When insurance covers roof damage, our team will guide you through the claims process and we’ll work to make your case to the insurance company.
Since our inspector uses the same software many insurance companies do, the details of your claim will be formatted in a way that insurance adjusters can quickly understand and act upon. For prompt, friendly and professional assistance, please contact us today!