Making an Insurance Claim for Roof Damage: Your Step-By-Step Guide
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 1 out of every 20 insured homes will file a claim every year. Property damage accounts for 97.7 % of homeowner insurance claims with the most common damage happening as a result of wind and hail.
Because heavy storms can easily damage anything on the outside of a home, repair costs can add up quickly. Some signs of roof damage are obvious. For instance, hail can cause broken windows, torn shingles, or vehicle dents. However, subtle damage can take a trained eye to spot.
If you’ve never had to file a claim before, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Damage to your home is already stressful, and it can be hard to navigate home insurance coverage. Legacy Roofing provides this step-by-step guide for your convenience and peace of mind.
Step 1: Assessing Roof Damage
Before filing a claim or searching for a contractor, the first thing to do is to inspect your roof. You don’t need a ladder for this. Instead, walk around the exterior of your home with a phone or camera.
Damage can have two types: functional or cosmetic. However, even cosmetic damage can be more severe than it looks. Things like broken edging, bruising, or granule loss can lead to severe complications later, even if they look minor.
Below is a list of things to look for when assessing potential damage.
Granule loss: The sandpaper-like part of asphalt shingles is called the granule. When a shingle loses granules, it can lead to accelerated aging. Check for lost granules in your gutters and downspouts after a storm. See if your shingles have signs of hail damage like dents or black-colored spots.
Shingle Cracks: Shingles can crack due to aging or storm damage. Broken shingles can lead to exposure or tears that leave your roof looking bare and unable to protect itself from the elements. Look for cracks, tears, and splits on your rooftop. You may also see shingle pieces on the ground.
Exposed Fiberglass: If the shingles' surfacing is shattered during a heavy storm, it can cause them to break away from the fiberglass mat underneath. Exposed fiberglass can tear or crack, especially under hail impact. A trained professional is usually required to spot fractured fiberglass, but exposed fiberglass on the roof will be obvious. You may also find nails on the ground around your home.
Weakened self-seal strip: A weakened seal is what causes the shingle to blow off the roof. Once a shingle is damaged, it can cause the shingles around it to also tear. Look for missing shingles or nails on the ground around your home. Also, keep your eyes out for shingles that aren ’t sitting flush against the roof.
Collect materials you find on the ground, such as nails and shingles, to show to your roofer later. Once you know the damage outside your home, check inside. Look for signs of water damage and visible leaks.
Take pictures of the damage you find both indoors and outside. Include a tape measure or ruler in the photo for objects where the scale might be unclear. For close-up damage, include an easily identifiable object like a quarter to show object scale. The images must show the full extent of damage, as your insurance company will need this to process the claim quickly.
Step 2: Review Your Roof Insurance Policy
Before you’re able to file an insurance claim, it’s essential to understand what damage your roofing insurance covers under your policy. If you're unsure, contact your insurance agent and request your coverage details.
If your policy covers various types of damage, filing a claim will be simple. However, filing can be more difficult if your coverage isn’t comprehensive. If you’re located in Northern Arizona and find your coverage isn’t complete, the best thing you can do is contact us at Legacy Repair. We can review your policy and explain which repairs are covered.
If your policy requires out-of-pocket expenses, we’ll be able to inform you of expected payments. By helping you understand and anticipate claim coverage, you won’t end up being unexpectedly denied or saddled with a settlement that doesn’t cover your expenses.
Step 3: File a Roof Claim
Once you’re confident that your insurance policy covers roof repair and replacement, you’ll need to file a claim. Remember that most insurance companies require you to file a claim within one year of the initial damage.
Contact your insurance agent to start the claim process. Depending on the insurance company, this process varies slightly, but your agent will walk you through it. Listen to your insurance provider's recommendations, as some companies may suggest an inspection prior to filing a claim.
Try not to downplay the severity of the damage or skimp on the details! The more detailed the claim, the more likely you’ll receive a realistic settlement that fits the extent of your roof damage. This step is where those photos come in handy.
Step 4: Schedule a Roof Inspection
After filing a claim, schedule a roof inspection with a certified roofing contractor in your area. The contractor will send a technician to inspect your damaged roof and offer an expert opinion on the size and scope of the job.
Provide the technician with any roofing materials you’ve collected from the ground and copies of photos taken. These materials will help the technician determine if your claim requires additional reports. If so, adjust your claim with the technician’s recommendations.
Ask for a written estimate of repairs to give you an idea of the anticipated cost. Comparing roof estimates may help you find the best option for your budget. They might also allow you to petition for a larger settlement later.
Remember, however, that your insurance company must process your claim before you're able to make an appointment for repairs.
Step 5: The Insurance Adjuster
Before your insurance company issues you a check, they’ll send an insurance adjuster to inspect your home. The adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company.
Since the adjuster works to save the insurance company money, they may give you a lower estimate for the total cost of repairs. Before you accept a check, ensure that the adjuster’s estimated cost of repairs is in line with the estimates you’ve received from the roofing technician.
If the adjuster’s estimate is low, review the claim you initially filed and bolster your case with any missing photos, videos, repair estimates, or receipts. Then, call and speak to your agent. Remember, the adjuster calculated the estimate and not the person you’re speaking with - so remain professional and kind.
Mistakes happen; perhaps the adjuster miscalculated. Review your claim again based on new evidence and petition for a larger settlement that matches your repair estimates. If the homeowner can prove the damage is worse than the adjuster suggested, the insurance company usually pays more.
Step 6: Schedule Roof Repair or Roof Replacement
After you’ve accepted the settlement amount, it’s time to schedule roof repairs or replacement. The sooner the repair, the safer the structural integrity of your roof. When ignored, roof damage can quickly escalate into leaks, mold damage, electrical issues, and wood rot—all of which can be expensive to fix.
Being proactive about potential future issues can save thousands and keep your home in pristine condition. Schedule a repair or replacement with a trusted and experienced roofing contractor that will provide a top-quality product for years to come.
Step 7: Recommend Your Roofing Contractor
Recommendations like yours help match members of your community with trusted and reliable professionals.
Legacy Roofing is licensed, bonded, and insured. With over 35 years of experience in the roofing industry, our priority is to exceed expectations by building a legacy of integrity, value, service, and commitment to every customer.
Click here to schedule an appointment or inspection today with Prescott’s best roofing company.