Hail, wind, and falling branches are three of the common threats your roof is constantly exposed to. Regardless of what you do to keep the roof on your rental property in good condition, there is not much you can do to prevent accidental damage or natural disasters.
In 2020 alone, there were 4,611 major hailstorms in the USA, causing as much as $10 billion in property damage. For a single hailstorm, property owners are likely to spend between $10,000 and $20,000 to replace the roof.
This does not include the cost of possible damage by falling trees, wind, and other dangers the roof of a rental property is exposed to daily. As the House In Order management team suggests, to protect yourself from the financial crisis that can follow unexpected damage to a rental property’s roof, you need adequate insurance.
But to make the most of your insurance, you should know the steps for making a roof insurance claim. How you do this partly depends on the processes of your insurance company. If you don’t follow the right steps for filing your claim you may end up with a less than satisfactory outcome.
What you should know about roof insurance claims
Landlord insurance and roof damage
All landlords are expected to carry landlord insurance. But does landlord insurance cover roof damage? Most landlord insurance policies include the following property damage coverage, liability coverage, and loss of income coverage. Property damage coverage typically includes roof damage.
Can you make claims for all kinds of roof damage?
The insurance company will only pay for damage if it is caused by hailstorms, high winds, trees falling on the roof, and other unavoidable causes. Damage that is the result of natural wear and tear or neglect is not covered. Accidental damage that is compounded by existing issues of neglect may not be covered.
Will your insurance cover the entire cost of roof repair?
It depends on the policy and the age or condition of your roof. The age of your roof plays a big role in how much the insurance company will pay you for roof repairs. Typically, the policy will adjust the payment downwards according to the age of the roof and other considerations.
How to file an insurance roof claim
As with other types of insurance claims, speed is crucial for filing a roof insurance claim. In addition to acting quickly, you must have as much information about the situation as possible. Here is what to do if your rental property suffers roof damage and you need to file an insurance claim.
1. Inspect the roof for damage
After a major storm or any event with the potential to damage the roof, immediately have the roof inspected. Do not do the roof inspection by yourself. You could miss vital details or worsen the problem, thereby giving your insurer good grounds to deny your claim. Get a roofing expert to check the roof.
2. Document the damage
Detailed proof, collected as soon as possible, will improve your chances of filing a successful claim. This proof should include in-depth photo and video evidence, with time stamps. Taking photos and videos of your roof periodically – even when the roof is not damaged – will provide a history of the roof and a reference point to compare the latest records.
3. Contact the insurance agent and file your claim
Ideally, you should have contacted the insurance agent as soon as you learned of the damage to the roof. The agent will walk you through the process of filing a claim and the documents the insurer will require from you. The insurance agent will also advise on you the best course of action; whether it makes sense to file a claim or not.
4. Expect a visit from the adjuster
Once you have submitted the required documents and insurance forms, the insurance company will send an adjuster. This person will inspect your roof to verify that the damage is caused by a covered peril. Once they have determined that the damage is covered by the policy, the next step is to determine how much the insurer will actually pay on the claim.
5. Insurance deductible
As soon as the claim is approved, your insurer will write you a check for the approved amount, less any deductible. The deductible is the portion of the covered loss that you have to pay out of pocket. The deductible amount depends on the details of your policy. The lower your premium is, the higher the deductible, and vice versa.
6. What if your claim is not approved?
There is also a possibility that the insurance company will deny your claim. If this happens, and you think you were wrongfully denied, you can appeal the denial. But before you do this, check your original claim to be sure your claim was not denied because of errors or inconsistencies in the documents you submitted. If the appeal is also denied, you may want to talk to a lawyer about the options for redress open to you.