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Is Your Roof Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?

Being a roofer means giving hundreds of quotes every year. While most homeowners are shopping for the best roof at the best price, most of them ask me the same question when I first meet them, “Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the cost of replacing my roof?” Invariably, my answer to each and every one of them is, “That depends.” You see, there are a number of factors that need to be weighed to determine whether part or all the cost of a roof replacement can be covered by your insurer. Today, I’ll cover these topics in detail. 

  1. What caused the damage to your roof? – One of the covered perils in every homeowner’s policy is roof damage.  That means if a storm blows down a tree that punctures your roof, your insurance company will pay to repair the hole, minus your deductible.  So too are you covered if a hailstorm turns your roof into something that looks like a golf ball, or if a hurricane strips the shingles off it.  Depending on the damage done, an insurance adjuster will need to determine whether the damage should be repaired, or the roof should be replaced.  That’s good news.  The bad news is if your home’s roof was in poor repair or on its last legs prior to the storm, chances are a claim for a new roof will be denied.
  2. Can a roofer guarantee that your roof replacement will be covered by your insurance? – Absolutely not.  In fact, it’s illegal for a roofing company to make such a claim since only a licensed insurance adjuster can make that determination.  This means if you’re approached by a roofing rep who tells you point blank that he can get the cost of your new roof down to the cost of your insurance deductible, don’t you believe it.  Should you sign a contract with a roofer only to learn later that your claim has been denied, you could be liable for the cost out of pocket.  The only way to determine if your insurance company is willing to pay for a new roof is to file a claim on your own.  Even then, there’s no guarantee your claim will be approved.
Is A Leaky Roof Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
  1. What should you do to help the adjuster come to the right conclusion? – Insurance adjusters are like anyone else.  They don’t want to work any harder than necessary.  This means you need to help the adjuster out a bit.  The best way to do this is to file a claim as soon as the damage occurs.  It helps if you can tell the adjuster when the roof was installed or how old it is.  Before and after photos of the roof will also be a godsend, since much of the initial process will that you document the damage. If you recently purchased the home, feel free to share the home inspector’s report with the adjuster.  In short, the more info you can provide, the better your chances for success. On the other hand, if your roof is 20-years-old or older, chances are it has little if any coverage remaining.
  2. What makes roof coverage tick? –  Roofs aren’t like wine.  They don’t get better with age.  As they age, shingles get worn down by wind, weather, sun, and snow.  Insurance companies know this, so they build in a clause that gradually reduces the value of a roof as time goes on.  After 20-years, a roof may only be covered for its actual cash value, as opposed to its replacement cost. Another thing that many insurance companies have done recently is require higher deductibles for damage caused by hurricanes and hail in areas that are prone to either.  Some insurers also require a separate windstorm policy.  This means you need to read your policy thoroughly to make sure you understand the coverage, limits, and exclusions.
Do Roofs Come With Warranties?
  1. What else can cause a claim to be denied other than age? – Even a claim on a relatively new roof can be denied if the adjuster determines that the roof was in poor repair prior to the incident that damaged it.  For instance, if the adjuster discovers evidence that the roof was leaking prior to the event that damaged it, the claim can be denied by sighting wear and tear.  The same applies if the adjuster notices nicked as opposed to cracked or missing shingles, by writing the incident up as cosmetic damage.  That doesn’t mean that water damage caused by the leak would be denied since this is part of the covered perils section of your policy.  But the cost to replace the roof can be denied if the damage is determined to be the result of gradual deterioration.
  2. What can you do if your claim is denied? –  Even if your insurer denies your claim or offers you a fraction of what you need to make your home whole again, that isn’t necessarily the last word.  If you believe you have a legitimate claim, you don’t have to take the insurance adjuster’s word for it.  You have the right to hire a public adjuster.  A public adjuster isn’t employed by an insurance company.  They are a licensed advocate who works for the public.  While they charge for this service, they only get paid a portion of any claim that gets approved.  This means if they don’t succeed, you don’t owe them a penny.  They will also tell you if they believe your claim is valid or not since adjusters know the ins and outs of roof claims.  The bottom line is if you’ve done your part, but the insurance company refuses to do theirs, there is still hope. 

Hi, my name is Nicole Corson and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.

Take a Peek at Roof Leaks

Nothing puts the fear of God into a homeowner faster than discovering a leak during or after a rainstorm. Whether the leak is drip, drip, dripping, or gushing into your home, most people want to know what they should do other than put a bucket under the offending water. That’s a good question since by the time you discover a leak, it has probably been percolating into your home for weeks or months. What’s even more distressing is when a homeowner knows they have a leaky roof but can’t locate the source. That’s bad since a leak can do more than cosmetic damage to a home. It can cause everything from water damage and mold to electrical short circuits and fires. To help you get a bead on what you need to know about roof leaks, I thought I’d dedicated this week’s blog to help you keep your roof from raining on your parade. 

  1. Where is the water coming from? – If you climb up on your roof only to see missing or bent shingles, it isn’t all that difficult to determine where the leak originated.  Unfortunately, sometimes determining the source of a roof leak isn’t all that easy.  It isn’t necessarily coming from your shingles either.  The water could be emanating from the flashing, from a leaky skylight, or a corroded vent.  In short, unless you see an obvious source for the leak, sometimes it’s better to start beneath the roof to get a bead on the origin.  That means crawling around in your attic.  While it won’t necessarily tell you precisely where the leak is, it can definitely help you eliminate where it isn’t.  Once you are able to determine the general vicinity of the leak, it will be much easier to track it back to its source from above. 
  2. What should you do if you still can’t find the source of the leak? – Since water always runs downhill, it’s quite possible that you still may be unable to pinpoint the cause of the leak.  If that’s the case, the best thing you can do is to tarp the area where the leak was discovered and call in a professional.  Not only will a licensed roofer be able to spot the problem, he or she will also be able to plug the leak before it does any more damage to your home.

Is A Leaky Roof Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
  1. What else can cause a roof to leak? – One of the most common causes of leaks are clogged gutters.  Once gutters get clogged, not only can’t they shed water from your roof when it rains, but they can also cause costly leaks when the water backs up onto the roof.  Since shingles are gravity-fed, this means that anytime the water can’t run off, it will most likely back up beneath the gutters.  When this happens, water will find its way beneath the shingles looking for a way out.  Any crack, crevice or even the tiniest of holes is all water needs to permeate your home.  Since the gutters are located directly above the outer walls, it won’t be long before the water starts to puddle which could cause mold to grow long before the leak is noticed by you.  Fortunately, this is one of the easiest leaks to prevent.  If you have gutters, make sure you clean them out annually.  If you have a lot of leaf litter lying on the roof, this can cause the same problem as clogged gutters.  So, make sure you blow twigs and leaf litter off the roof to prevent leaf dams from forming.
  2. The light of your life or the bane of your existence? –  A skylight not only lets light into a home, it can also allow water to penetrate if they are improperly installed or the flashing around them is compromised.  If you find your skylight leaks, the simplest way to fix it is to apply a bead of silicone sealer.  If that doesn’t do the job, you’ll need to call your roofer to replace the flashing.
Can Gutters Cause Roof Leaks?
  1. What else can a leaky roof damage? – When they detect a leak, most people are only concerned with stopping the immediate source of the problem.  This could be a big mistake.  Depending on how long the leak went undetected, water could have done serious damage to a home that if left undetected could come to haunt the homeowner later.  Once a leak gets started, it can cause timber to rot or it can start mold to grow between the walls of your home.  Left untreated, either of these problems could grow to gargantuan proportions in a few months or years.  That’s why every homeowner should take the time to trace a leak from cradle to grave if they don’t want to wind up with a much larger problem down the line.  It’s cheaper to fix water damage earlier than later.
  2. What can you do to prevent roof leaks  – As Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  That goes double when it comes to roof leaks.  Instead of waiting for a leak to occur, by performing a little annual maintenance on your roof you can stop leaks from starting.  Make sure you clear out your gutters and blow leaf litter off your roof.  Climb a ladder every now and then to give your roof the once over.  If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can call a local roofer to inspect your roof for free.  They’re better trained than you to spot anything amiss with your roofing system.  This will help you keep the rain off your head while helping your roof last longer.  Last but not least, don’t put off replacing a roof that’s long past its prime.  Postponing the inevitable will only lead to more damage and a bigger bill in the end.

Hi, my name is Nicole Corson and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.

How Much Should You Pay Upfront for a Roof?

Getting a new roof installed on our home is one of the biggest investments most of us will ever make on it other than the initial purchase price. That’s why it’s so important to choose a reputable roofing company when the time comes. While I’ve explained in past blogs how to find good roofers and avoid bad ones, as well as what to look for when it comes to roof warranties, there’s one other bit of advice I’d like to impart and that can save you time, money, and grief when it comes to replacing that old roof. This has to do with paying all or part of the job upfront. 

  1. Beware of roofers who offer a huge discount for an upfront cash payment. – While everyone is interested in saving money, if a roofing company offers you a big discount as long as you pay in advance, my advice is to look for another roofer.  While some roofers ask for a small down payment, if you pay the entire amount upfront, it could be a long time before your roof is replaced, if ever.  Even worse is you will have little recourse should the work prove to be less than ideal.
  2.  How much of a deposit is a fair amount? – This is a trick question of sorts since any well-established company should have more than enough means to complete the job of replacing your roof without asking you for anything in advance.  I know that’s what we at RoofCrafters do. However, it’s not uncommon for some roofing companies to ask for anywhere from 10-50% upfront.  If you decide to go with any of them, make sure you have a firm date for the work to begin as well as some way to cancel the payment if the work isn’t completed or the roofing company goes out of business before it has begun. 
Should I Pay A Roofing Contractor Up Front?
  1. Why would a roofing company ask for an upfront deposit? – Since about half the cost of replacing a roof is the purchase of materials, some roofers want customers to cough up some of it in advance.  This is what’s known in the business as a “Good Faith Payment.”  If you have faith that the contractor will live up to the terms of the agreement, you may choose to pay a portion of the money upfront.  After all, it’s your money. However, if the material the contractor purchases should prove to be substandard, or if the installation is less than adequate, good luck getting your money back if you paid the deposit with anything other than a credit card. 
  2. What could go wrong? –  The more you pay in advance for a roof, the more of a disadvantage you put yourself in.  While a contractor can place a lien on your home if you don’t pay them, you as a homeowner have little recourse other than the expense of filing suit if the work isn’t done to your satisfaction (or at all). The only thing consumers have to hold over the heads of any contractor is money.  The more of this advantage you give up, the more the ball lands squarely in the contractor’s court.
  1. Doesn’t a contractor have to pay for their supplies in advance? – Not unless they have maxed out their credit.  Just like consumers, well-established roofing companies have access to credit that gives them 30-days to pay up before interest kicks in.  Since the average roof takes 2-3 days to install, this gives a roofer plenty of time to pull the permits, purchase and deliver the materials and complete the roof before the bill comes due.
  1. Why would a roofer need a substantial upfront deposit?  –  If neither good faith nor materials are the reason to ask for a substantial down payment, then what reason could a roofer have for demanding a big advance?  Rather than answer that question personally, I’ll leave you to consider a quote by Tim Carter of the Washington Post.  In his article, he stated, I’ll give you a few reasons: The contractor might be using your money to pay off his last job. Your contractor may be in a cash bind for any number of reasons. Do you really want to do business with a capital-strapped individual? The contractor may not have credit at local supply houses. Why is that? I could go on and on and on with reasons.” 
  2. Are there any legitimate reasons for a roofing contractor to ask for a large deposit? – If you live in a mansion or own a shopping mall that will take weeks to complete your roof, the answer is no.  Even then, the contractor should never ask for payment in full.  Rather they should ask for a deposit and progressive payments as the work progresses.
  3. What should you assess before you give any roofer the final payment? – Once the roof installation is complete, should you immediately stroke a check for the full amount to the contractor?  Any roofing company worth their salt will make sure they let you inspect their work before you give them the final payment.  If the job has been done properly, there should be no materials left lying on the roof or on your property.  The shingles should be evenly spaced and the roofline ruler-straight.  The vents and flashing should look shiny and new.  You should detect no bent or missing fasteners.  Last but not least, there should be no damage to your home or your yard.  

Hi, my name is Nicole Corson and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.

10 Signs that You’re Working with the Wrong Roofer

When it comes time to replace your home’s roof, you want to make sure you’re working with an experienced, reputable roofer who will get the job done right the first time. When you consider the cost and time it takes to replace a roof, you also want to make certain that the estimate and warranty you receive are both going to stand the test of time. Below are ten things you need to consider before, during, and after you hire a roofer. 

  1. Beware of roofers who refuse to set foot on your roof before giving you a quote. – While it’s fairly easy to use Google Earth to rough out the amount of material needed to replace your roof, only by walking the roof and inspecting your attic can a roofer be able to produce an honest quote.  A reputable roofer will take the time to examine the roof and everything connected with it before writing a quote.  To do otherwise would lead to a lot of guesswork that could later come to haunt you when the roofer demands more money for damage that should have been discovered before the estimate was written.
How Do I Find A Good Roofing Company?
  1. Did your roofer quote you a lowball price only to jack it up during the installation? – This is a variation of the old bait and switch scam.  Some roofers will underbid the competition only to later demand more money once the shingles are removed.  While it’s possible that an old roof may have more than the average amount of rotten decking beneath the shingles and underlayment, make sure you see the damage before you authorize the work, or you could wind up being nickeled and dimed to death when the roofer soon points out other expensive repairs that weren’t included in the initial bid.
  2. Did your new roof quickly spring a leak? – This is a big red flag that indicates the roof or the flashing wasn’t installed properly.  While the error could have been caused by an honest mistake that can easily be repaired by your roofer, it could also be a symptom of deeper systemic problems.  Cut rate materials or fasteners could have been used to save money.  Old underlayment or flashing could have been installed   While any of these underhanded tactics can save the roofer money, they are guaranteed to cost you big when your roof springs a leak or wears out years before its time.  Beware of roofers who come in with a significantly lower bid than the competition.  They have to make up for the difference somehow.
What To Do If Your Roof Is Leaking
  1. Did your roofer neglect to replace the old roof vents with new? –  Just like shingles, roof vents have a limited useful lifetime.  That’s why a reputable roofer will always include their replacement in the quote.  That’s also why consumers need to read the itemized estimate to make sure that new roof vents have been included.  Poor ventilation is one sure way to increase your utility bills and decrease the useful lifetime of your new roof. 
  2. Does your new roof look like an old horse? – Just like horses that are past their prime, an old roof can start to sag if the decking or the support timbers below them start to rot.  One of the first things that a competent roofer will do when they strip off the old shingles is to check the roof decking for signs of rot.  If water damaged wood isn’t replaced before new shingles are installed, the decking won’t hold the roof nails in place for long. This will result in leakage or loss of shingles after a windstorm.  If rotted support timbers aren’t replaced, the result could be the collapse of a portion of the roof.
  3. Did the roofer neglect to install drip edge flashing on your roof?  –  Drip edge is a thin strip of metal flashing that’s installed next to the gutters.  Their task is to keep the rain from getting under the shingles to rot the wood that lies beneath.  It also helps steer runoff into the gutter instead of letting it seep behind it, which could cause the wood that supports the gutters to rot.  If you climb up on a ladder and look at the area where the shingles meet the gutters and see the shingles overhanging them, this is a sure sign that the roofer cut corners by excluding drip edge flashing.  While this will work for a few years, what will inevitably happen is that the shingles will start to curl at the edges which will allow water to get beneath them.
  4. Have you taken a good look at your roof? – Unless you climb up on a ladder, you can’t really appreciate your roof properly.  What may look like a picture-perfect roofing job from the ground can expose obvious errors in installation from a higher vantage point.  Since homeowners are only required to pay a portion of the quote upfront and the balance when the job is done, it would behoove you to take a good hard look at the final result up close before you sign off on the work.  A properly installed roof should have no damaged or missing shingles.  The flashing and roof vents should shine.  The roofline should be ruler-straight.  There should be no mismatched shingles or stains on the roof. 
  5. How long does it take for your roofer to respond to a question or a concern? – Whether it’s during or after installation, a reputable roofer should respond to a question or concern about a roof within 24-hours.  If your roofer either fails to or takes forever to respond, this is a sign that the roofer cares more about the bottom line than about establishing a long-term relationship with their customers.
  6. Is your roof warranty worth the paper it’s written on? – While a roof warranty is important to every homeowner, it only works if the roofing company honors it.  That’s why you need to make sure that any roofer you hire is not only licensed and insured but a local roofer who has been in town for a long time.  If your roofer moves out of town or goes out of business, the warranty you receive won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.
  7. Other danger signs – A reputable roofer will always provide you with an itemized estimate that lists what is and isn’t included.  A reputable roofer will never hesitate to show you their certifications, their insurance, and their references. A reputable roofer will never ask you to pay for a job upfront.  A reputable roofer should never ask you to pull a permit or purchase materials to complete a job. 

Hi, my name is Nicole Corson and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.