Five Tips for When You Have Storm Damage
Hail, wind, rain, and fallen trees resulting from storms can cause roof damage requiring immediate repair. From a leaky roof to missing shingles, this type of damage can compromise your roof’s ability to protect your home.
If you have a damaged roof after a storm, you’ll need to contact your homeowners insurance company. The following are five tips you should know about filing your roof damage insurance claim:
- Know what your insurance covers and what your deductible is. Extra points for having your deductible set aside!
Roof damage may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. You should know in advance what your specific insurance policy covers before you need to file a claim. In general, homeowners insurance will pay an insurance claim for roof damage if it was sudden and unavoidable. For example, damage caused by hail or wind will usually be covered, but if your roof needs to be replaced simply because it’s old, you’ll typically have to pay for that yourself.
It also pays to know what your deductible is before you need to file a claim. This is the amount that you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company pays anything toward your claim. You can look at your insurance policy or check with your agent to see how much your deductible is. Set this amount aside in savings to help make things easier if you do have to file a claim.
- Know what to look for when you survey your roof from the ground.
You can look at your roof from the ground to spot-check for any obvious signs of damage but climbing up on the roof should be left to a roofing contractor. You could cause more damage by climbing and walking on your roof or even slip and fall in the process.
Have your camera or phone ready to take pictures of any damage you can spot from the ground so you can give them to your insurance agent or contractor. The following are some common signs of damage you’ll want to look for and photograph:
Damaged shingles or tiles — Look for broken tiles or curling shingles.
Missing shingles or other roofing materials — Wind can blow shingles off your roof, so check for a change in color that may indicate a missing shingle.
Cracked or bent flashing — Flashing is used to direct water away from areas such as vents and chimneys, and it can become cracked or bent after a storm.
In-home leaks — Check the interior of your home for leaks on the ceiling or walls or in the attic.
- Have the name and number of your trusted roofer handy. Bonus points for having regular maintenance so they know you and your roof.
Using a roofing contractor for regular maintenance will ensure your roof stays in good repair and can perform well for as long as possible. This also helps you show your insurance company your roof has been well maintained over the years and proves any damage isn’t due to neglect.
Building a good working relationship with a roofing contractor also allows them to get to know you — as well as your roof — before any major damage occurs.
- When choosing a roofing contractor, make sure they’re local and trustworthy.
A local roofing contractor knows your area and understands its specific weather challenges. They will also be available if there’s a problem with their work or materials, unlike an out-of-town company or individual. They should also be able to provide references you can contact, and will answer any questions you may have.
In addition, a trustworthy local contractor will have worked with insurance adjusters in the community and will be onsite when he or she inspects your roof for damage. The contractor can then work with the adjuster and share knowledge about what repairs must be done, how much they’ll cost, and why. They’ll have the knowledge and experience necessary to make the process of filing an insurance claim and having your roof repaired as easy as possible.
- When following these steps and having a roofer already familiar with your roof, it will be easy to feel like a pro when storm damage happens.
Preparation is key to making a storm damage claim. By knowing the specifics of your homeowners insurance policy (including its deductible), keeping your roof in good repair with a reputable local contractor, and documenting any damage you spot from the ground, your roof claim and repair or replacement will proceed more quickly and easily.