Along with the rain this summer, we’ve seen the kind of violent hailstorms that frazzle nerves and damage roofs. After such a storm, roofing companies typically swarm into the affected area. Their job is to sell new roofs, while offering to negotiate with insurance companies to get them paid for.
But should you always aim for a new roof immediately? Or, if the roof isn’t leaking, should you wait to file a claim until your roof is older and you’ve gotten more use out of it?
In a recent letter to the editor to Stapleton’s newsletter, Front Porch, one homeowner expressed her dismay that so many people in her neighborhood were replacing roofs on recently built homes. “How could these roofs, constructed only a few years ago, have so much damage?” she asked, lamenting that her insurance premiums have gone up 20%, “which is, at least in part, due to ‘increasing claims of storm damage’ in our area.” She urged others to show restraint in replacing roofs.
While it’s true that copious claims affect everyone’s rates, it’s important to know that waiting to report roof damage until you feel the roof has had a longer life and is closer to leaking may result in lower insurance reimbursement. Insurance companies generally require timely reporting In order to reimburse at the highest level.
State Farm, for example, requires homeowners to report a loss no longer than two years from the date of the damage in order to receive full replacement cost. If the loss is reported after two years, the company pays actual cash value (replacement cost minus depreciation) only.
Other companies have similar policies, if differing timelines. Insurance companies prefer to see roofs repaired sooner rather than later in order to mitigate any further damage created by the loss.
While not all hailstorms cause the kind of damage that would mean roof replacement, the best plan of action is to have your roof assessed immediately after a violent storm by a reputable roofing company. If the amount of damage exceeds your deductible, file a claim quickly to avoid any downgrade in reimbursement.
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