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How To File a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim For Roof Damage

Updated: Jan 29

homeowners insurance claims for roof damage

The cost of a full roof replacement varies significantly, with the average cost for a standard-sized home being around $11,500. However, this figure can go as high as $80,000 for premium options such as copper roofing. The final cost is influenced by several factors, including the size of the roof, the materials chosen, and the geographical location of the property.

Regarding homeowners insurance, it may provide coverage for roof replacement costs in specific instances of roof damage. However, it's important to note that insurance coverage is not guaranteed in all situations, and the likelihood of receiving an insurance payout can vary.

Does Your Homeowners Policy Protect Against Hail Damage?

Homeowners insurance typically includes coverage for hail damage, a common concern for many homeowners. This coverage is part of the policy's dwelling coverage, which offers financial support for repairs to the house following various weather-related incidents, including hail damage. It's important to remember that when filing a claim for hail damage, the policy's deductible will still apply.

However, there are exceptions based on geographic location. Specifically, in some coastal regions, insurance providers might exclude hail and windstorm damage from standard policies. 

In these areas, there may be a separate deductible specifically for wind and hail damage, or these types of damage might require additional coverage. It's advisable for homeowners in such areas to review their policies and understand the specifics of their hail damage coverage.

1. Deductibles for Hail and Wind Damage:

In certain states, home insurance providers are permitted to establish a special deductible specifically for wind and hail damage resulting from hurricanes. This means that if your roof is damaged or blown off during a hurricane, you may face a higher deductible for that specific claim. However, for other types of damage, like fire, your standard home insurance deductible remains applicable.

2. Exclusions for Wind, Hail, and Roof Damage:

Insurance companies often have different coverage for wind and hail damage from coverage for other types of roof damage. If your roof is older, you might only be eligible for "actual cash value" coverage for wind and hail damage, instead of replacement cost coverage. 

This means the insurance payout will be based on the roof's depreciated value at the time of damage, considering factors like the roof's age and material. Consequently, this could result in receiving less reimbursement than the actual cost needed to replace the roof, leaving you to cover the remaining amount.

3. Cosmetic Damage and Roof Material Considerations:

For homeowners with metal roofs, it's important to note that cosmetic damage from hail might not be covered by your insurance. Additionally, the type of roofing material can affect insurance costs.

Regarding upgrades, while insurance typically doesn't cover enhancements beyond the original state of your home, there is an option for a "fortified roof endorsement." This endorsement allows for the replacement of a non-fortified roof with a fortified one in case of total roof replacement. Fortified roofs adhere to standards set by the Institute for Business & Home Safety and are designed to be more resilient.

Types of Roof Damage Coverage in Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance policies typically include dwelling coverage, which is designed to protect the structural integrity of your home, including the roof. The specific types of roof damage that are covered by your insurance depend on the details outlined in your policy and reasons that need to be roof repaired or replaced.

Generally, homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for roof damage that is sudden, accidental, and attributable to specific incidents. Commonly covered events include damage caused by wind, fire, hail, or the accumulation of snow weight. 

It's crucial to review your policy's terms to understand the extent of coverage for roof damage under different scenarios.

1. Insurance for Partial Roof Damage:

There are instances where damage, although partial, significantly reduces the lifespan of a roof. In such cases, your insurance provider might cover the expense of replacing the entire roof. 

For instance, if your asphalt shingle roof suffers extensive hail damage, an insurance adjuster will assess the severity by counting the hail strikes in a specific area. If the number of strikes is high enough to substantially diminish the roof's lifespan, your insurer may consider a complete roof replacement necessary.

2. Dealing with Discontinued or Unavailable Roofing Materials:

When it comes to repairing roofs, the availability of matching materials is a crucial factor. If the original materials used on your roof are no longer available, your insurance company might need to replace the entire roof.

This situation often arises with unique or older roofing materials, such as slate tiles. If such materials can't be sourced or matched, a total roof replacement may be the only solution to maintain consistency in material and appearance.

3. Homeowners Insurance Limitations for Hail Damage and Other Exclusions

Homeowners insurance policies typically have specific exclusions, especially regarding damage that can be attributed to inadequate maintenance. It's important to recognize that damages resulting from general wear and tear or the natural end of a roof's lifespan are not covered under standard homeowners insurance. This means that costs for repairing or replacing a roof due to age or lack of maintenance will not be reimbursed by your insurance.

Moreover, the condition of the roof prior to a storm can significantly impact insurance claims. For instance, if a roof was already old or poorly maintained before a storm, this could potentially lead to difficulties in obtaining full compensation for storm-related damage.

Additionally, standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by certain natural disasters, including floods and earthquakes. This is particularly relevant for roof damage resulting from these events. Homeowners residing in areas prone to such risks should consider obtaining specialized flood or earthquake insurance to ensure comprehensive coverage for their properties.

Do You Need Hail and Wind Insurance?

Homeowners typically seek comprehensive and robust coverage for their properties. However, when it comes to wind and hail insurance, the scenario can vary significantly across different states. Insurance providers often adjust their pricing to account for the costs incurred from previous wind and hail claims, which can impact the premiums for current policyholders.

As a homeowner, you might have the option to opt out of wind and hail coverage in your insurance policy. This decision is often considered for the potential savings on insurance premiums. 

It's important to weigh the risks and benefits of such a choice, especially if you live in an area prone to frequent wind and hail events. Excluding these coverages can reduce your insurance costs, but it also means taking on the risk of potentially significant out-of-pocket expenses in the event of wind or hail damage to your property.

Is Roof Damage from Hurricanes Covered Under My Home Insurance Policy?

Home insurance coverage for damage caused by hurricanes can be complex. While standard home insurance policies usually cover wind damage, there are exceptions, particularly for hurricane-related damage. For instance, in some Atlantic coastal states, insurers may not include wind-related damage in their standard policies, leaving roof damage from hurricanes uncovered.

To ensure comprehensive protection, homeowners might need to add windstorm insurance, either as an additional endorsement to their existing home insurance or as a separate policy. This is especially important for those residing in hurricane-prone areas. It's advisable to consult with an insurance agent to confirm that your coverage is adequate and has no significant gaps.

For optimal protection against hurricanes, a combination of homeowners insurance, flood insurance, and, where necessary, separate wind insurance, is often recommended. This blend ensures that various aspects of hurricane damage are adequately covered.

Can I Get Separate Insurance Coverage for Hail Damage?

Hail damage coverage for roofs is usually a component of a home insurance policy's dwelling coverage. However, in certain states, insurance providers have the option to partially or entirely exclude hail damage from standard home insurance. In such instances, you have a few potential options:

  • Acquire a distinct windstorm and hail insurance policy.

  • Add hail coverage as an endorsement to your existing home insurance policy, which may come with a separate wind and hail deductible.

  • Secure a policy through your state's Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan, designed as a last-resort option for homeowners who are unable to obtain coverage through other means.

Tips for Successfully Filing a Roof Insurance Claim

If you're planning to file a claim for roof damage with your insurance company, it's crucial to approach the process strategically. Here are some key steps to follow:

1. Understand Your Insurance Policy: 

Begin by thoroughly reviewing your insurance policy. This is essential to ascertain what is covered and what is not. For instance, check if your policy includes coverage for the type of roof damage you have, like wind and hail damage, and whether it offers replacement cost or actual cash value coverage.

2. Evaluate the Extent of the Damage:

Before filing a claim, inspect your entire home, not just the roof, to understand the full extent of the damage, especially if the damage might be due to a storm. This comprehensive assessment will be crucial information when you initiate the claim process with your insurer.

3. Obtain a Professional Repair Estimate:

It's advisable to get a professional estimate for the repairs, based on the current state of your roof and not on potential upgrades or changes. Don’t solely rely on the insurance adjuster's assessment. Ensure you receive a detailed written estimate from a reputable roofing company, including their contact details.

4. Prompt Action is Crucial:

Time is a critical factor in roof damage claims. As noted by Severaid, delaying action can lead to further weathering and wear, making the original damage less discernible. Promptly filing a claim can prevent such complications.

5. Maintain Detailed Records of All Communications:

Keep a comprehensive log of all interactions related to your insurance claim. This should include photographs of the damage, records of conversations (including dates, names, and details of the discussion), and any other relevant documentation. This meticulous record-keeping can be invaluable, especially if the claim process becomes complex or contested.


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