How to Get Insurance to Pay for a Roof Replacement

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A homeowners insurance policy can help cover the repair costs for a roof — or pay for a new one entirely — whether the cause of damage is fire, wind, hail, or something else.

Here’s what you need to know about insurance coverage for your roof:

How do you get insurance to pay for your roof replacement?

You’ll need to have an active homeowners policy when the damage occurs, and a peril your policy covers must have caused the damage.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover many perils that could damage your roof. Some examples include:

  • Windstorms (including tornadoes, Santa Ana winds, and Nor’easters)
  • Hail
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Weight of ice, sleet, and snow
  • Falling objects
  • Vandalism
  • Aircraft

Homeowners insurance won’t cover roof damage resulting from neglect (lack of maintenance) or intentional damage. Here are some examples of roof neglect:

  • Mildew
  • Debris accumulation
  • Clogged gutters and downspouts
  • Excessive loss of asphalt shingle granules
  • Rusted flashing
  • Cracked caulk
  • Deteriorated vent boots
  • Vine overgrowth
  • Failure to prune overhanging tree branches that scrape the roof

Some of these problems can start as normal wear and tear. But if you don’t address them promptly (something an annual professional roof inspection can help you identify), your insurer might be able to make a case for neglect and deny or reduce your claim.

Related: How to Compare Home Insurance Quotes

Tip: Most homeowners don’t intentionally damage their home’s roof, but sometimes homeowners or contractors will try to mimic wind or hail damage in an attempt to get insurance to pay for a roof replacement. This behavior is considered insurance fraud. Don’t do it.

After you file a claim for roof damage, your insurance carrier will send out a claims adjuster. Depending on what the adjuster finds during their inspection, your carrier may cover roof repairs, a full roof replacement, or nothing at all.

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Steps to get your insurance to cover a new roof

These are the steps you should take if you think your homeowners insurance may pay to replace your roof:

  1. Document the damage. As soon as possible after the loss, take photos and videos of the damage. Your insurance provider won’t necessarily want your photos, but they may be helpful if a dispute arises. Photos can be especially helpful if you need to make temporary roof repairs to prevent further damage.
  2. Review your insurance policy. Review the perils your policy covers as well as the exceptions. Do your best to determine whether you have a legitimate claim. Also review your deductible (it’s on your declarations page) and consider getting at least one experienced roofing contractor to estimate the cost to repair the damage. They may also be able to offer insight on how your carrier is likely to handle your claim.
  3. File a claim. You can file a claim by contacting your insurance agent (if you have one) or by calling your carrier’s claims phone number. Many insurers also allow and even encourage you to file a claim through their website or mobile app.
  4. Wait for the adjuster. Once you file a claim, your carrier will assign an insurance adjuster to your claim. This person will come to your home to inspect your damage and become your point of contact for your claim.
  5. Find a reputable roofing contractor. If the insurer approves your claim, it’s your right and responsibility to choose a contractor. A good roofing contractor will be licensed, bonded, and insured; requirements can vary by state, so check with your state’s department of insurance to find out what to look for and verify.
  6. Begin roofing work. Depending on the cost of your claim, your insurance carrier may issue one or a series of payments to replace (or repair) your roof. If you have a mortgage, expect to funnel these payments through your loan servicer because it has a financial interest in making sure you actually fix your roof and don’t just pocket the claim payment.

Watch out for storm chasers

If your roof damage is the result of a major storm in your area, be alert for unsolicited bidders. Roofing companies (or straight-up scammers) may target your area trying to drum up business that they’re underqualified to perform or will overcharge to perform.

They may even offer to work with your insurance carrier to negotiate your claim or say they’ll cover your deductible. They may ask for a deposit up front and you may never see them again. It’s a good idea to proactively choose who you work with and make sure they’re a local, reputable contractor. Report any shady proposals to your state department of insurance.

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Disclaimer: All insurance-related services are offered through Young Alfred.

About the author
Amy Fontinelle
Amy Fontinelle

Amy Fontinelle is a mortgage and credit card authority and a contributor to Credible. Her work has appeared in Forbes Advisor, The Motley Fool, Investopedia, International Business Times, MassMutual, and more.

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