Most people, when working with their insurance company to have their roof replaced, get very confused. The confusion arises because most of the time the insurance company will issue you two separate checks for your roof replacement. Not understanding that they will receive two checks, most homeowners panic when they receive their first check, and think, “This is ALL the insurance company is paying to have the roof redone?”
How Will the Insurance Process Work?
No need to fear! Here is an explanation, in easy-to-understand terms, of how most roofing claims proceed with the insurance company involved. The six steps will cover everything you'll need to know about the roof insurance claims process.
The first step is for you, the homeowner, to call your claims department and file a claim. REMEMBER – this page explains the process that will occur when you get your insurance company involved. Before you ever call your claims department, you should always have your roof checked by a trustworthy roofer. If you think you have hail damage and don’t have your roof inspected, but call your claims department instead, you have just filed a claim on your roof. The insurance company is not there to inspect your roof for damage for you. They’re there to verify damage that you have.
When you call your claims department, you’re filing a claim whether you have damage or not. To call in a claim, you can either call your local agent and ask for help or call your claims department directly. You will be asked questions like: “What kind of damage do you have?” “When did the damage happen?” and many other questions. If you don’t know the answers to the questions, just tell the service rep.
Once the service rep has taken all your information, she will assign the claim to an adjuster, which leads to Step 2.
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The insurance company’s claims adjuster will call you and tell you when he will come to inspect your roof. You don’t have to be there for this unless you want to be, however, it is a good idea to let your roofer know (if you already have a roofer selected) when that inspection will occur. Most roofers like to be there when the adjuster arrives.
Step 3 – Receiving the Estimate Letter & Check
If the adjuster believes that you have damage on your roof, he will write an estimate for the scope of the work to be done. He may be able to print that estimate letter in his car, but most of the time, that letter will be mailed to you. The adjuster may also have the ability to write you a check on the spot, too. But, again, most of the time, that check will come in the mail with the estimate letter. The estimate letter shows, in a line-by-line detail, everything that the adjuster is putting in the claim. In addition to the roof, it may include gutters, furnace vents, painting, windows and screens, and even fences.
Step 4 – The First Insurance Check
Here’s where most people get confused. The adjuster will determine a value to replace your roof. Then he also determines a value of depreciation for the existing roof based on its age and damages. Then you will receive a check for the amount of the estimate, MINUS the depreciation, and MINUS your deductible (in most cases). That’s what confuses and scares so many people, because your first check will seem unusually small for a re-roof project!.
There are 2 exceptions to this 2-check procedure!
If your claim is small, your insurance company may pay the entire claim on one check.
If your insurance policy is “Actual Cash Value” rather than “Replacement Cost Value,” then the amount of the estimate minus your deductible and depreciation costs will be the only check you will receive. You will be responsible for paying the difference for the cost of your roof. Be sure to check your policy before calling in a claim on your roof.
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Step 5 – Getting the Work Done
Once you have your estimate letter and first check, your roofing contractor can get started on doing the work of replacing your roof. If he also subcontracts the other work, such as gutters, vents, or other items, he’ll take care of those things at around the same time. If the roofer does not handle the “peripheral” work, then you will need to find contractors that do those other things.
If you’re needing to find contractors to do other work that is in the insurance estimate, make sure that your roofer does not collect all of your insurance money. Make sure to hold back the money needed to complete that other work.
Step 6 – Once the Work is Done
Once your roofer has completed the work, he will send a final invoice to the insurance company stating that the work is complete and showing his costs for the project. The insurance company will then release the depreciation (if applicable – see notes on Step 4 above) to you and you’ll receive your second check.