While there are a variety of claims filed each year, the vast majority are due to a damaged roof or water loss. Today we’re going to talk through when the insurance will cover to replace a roof, when it will not, and whether or not you want to file a claim.
An important thing to remember about insurance is that you are protecting yourself from immediate unexpected loss, not expected wear and tear. Shingles on a roof are only meant to have a limited life expectancy. There are an extensive variety of shingles to choose from made with different grade materials meant to last different amounts of time. Most shingles last roughly 20 to 30 years. There are definitely instances in life when it’s just time to replace your roof from regular wear and tear because the shingles have naturally reached their life expectancy.
What type of loss is covered?
What loss may potentially not be covered?
When purchasing a new home, make sure you know when the last time the roof was replaced and what type of shingles were used. If the roof is close to 20 years old, negotiate the purchase price based on that fact. Most companies will not write a home with a roof that is already past it’s expiration because it’s already at increased risk of damage. It’s not uncommon for companies to require you to put a new roof on within the first year if they agree to insure it for you with shingles over 20 years old.
What should I know about filing a claim?
While your insurance is there to protect you, your premium is being paid based on the potential of loss. I completely understand the frustration as a consumer of expecting everything to be automatically covered, and being disappointed with increased rates after filing a claim. It’s important to remember that you’re paying for protection in case a claim needs filed. The protection is provided in return of a premium collected. If you actually file a claim, the premium is adjusted to reflect your need of having used the provided protection.
Lets say you pay $2000 per year in protection for four years. You’ve now paid the insurance company a total of $8000. In year four you have a house fire that ends up as a total loss. The insurance company then pays you $350,000 to rebuild the home. You would never expect them to only give you the $8000 back that you paid. You expect the full insurable amount that you signed on your contract to receive. Likewise, you need to use the same logic in understanding that the insurance company is charging a premium based on potential risk. Should you need to use the protection of the policy, the premium adjusts to require a higher amount being paid back in.
How long do claims stay on your score?
A claim will stay on your record for five years. This claim will follow you no matter what insurance company you use as it becomes part of your insurance score. There are instances when it’s absolutely necessary to file a claim. However, it’s always important to weigh all the facts and costs to determine the times when it’s wise to just pay for the loss yourself.
Suppose you have $3000 in damage to your roof and have a $1500 deductible. You will be paying the first $1500 regardless, and then have a claim on your insurance score for 5 years if you choose to file the claim for the pay out of the other $1500. In some instances, that may be the right decision. In others, even though it is a covered loss, it might be wise to just pay for the $3000 loss and not turn it in. This is an individual decision and your agent can help talk you through the best route to take.