Most Common Insurance Questions Answered
1. What should I expect in the insurance claims process?
The insurance claims process is overwhelming and can be confusing. The entire process is outlined in this article entitled, “The Insurance Claims Process.” Most of your questions should be answered there.
2. Should I call my insurance company first or a roofing contractor?
Most roofing companies will tell homeowners to call them first. Why would they do that? Because they want your business and money. Beware of roofing companies that tell you to call them first no matter what, and beware of roofing companies that make you sign anything until the claim is already filed and approved. Reputable roofing companies won’t have you sign a contract until your roof has been approved by insurance. Again, never sign anything until after your insurance company has approved your claim.
In reality, it doesn’t matter if you call the insurance company or a roofing company first. It’s much more important that you know what kind of policy you have than which phone call you make first. Generally, homeowners may not know if they have enough damage to warrant a claim—this is why you would want to call a roofer first. If you file too many claims (that are not approved) on your policy, it could negatively affect your premiums. You want to make sure you have enough damage before you call the insurance company. However, if you know you have significant damage to your roof, by all means, call your insurance company, ask them any questions you have and file a claim.
3. What’s the difference between an ACV policy and an RCV policy?
Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value Coverage
Homeowner insurance policies provide either replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage. To be fully protected, make sure your policy has replacement cost coverage.
Replacement cost coverage (RCV Policy) pays to repair or replace your house and personal property at current prices. For example, say you bought a new roof 10 years ago and the current price for a new roof is $10,000. If you have to replace your entire roof after a storm, a replacement cost policy would pay for a new roof at today’s prices. If you have a $2,000 deductible, your company would pay $8,000.
Actual cash value coverage (ACV Policy) pays replacement cost minus depreciation. Depreciation is a decrease in value because of wear and age. In the same example of the 10-year-old roof, the actual cash value might be $7,000. After your $2,000 deductible, your company would pay $5,000. You’d have to pay the rest of the cost of the new roof yourself. This means your total out-of-pocket costs for an actual cash value policy would be $5,000, compared with $2,000 for a replacement cost policy. The premiums for an ACV policy are usually much more inexpensive, making it an attractive choice for many homeowners.
4. How do I know if I have enough damage?
There are some things you can do to check for damage from the ground. Read “How to Tell if My Roof Has Storm Damage” for a more complete explanation. Some things you can inspect on your own include looking for damage to other structures, such as gutters, AC units and mailboxes. The primary way to see if you have enough damage to warrant a claim is to call a roofing contractor to come out and inspect your roof.
5. What types of damage is covered by insurance?
Each policy is different, so it’s important to read your individual policy. Many policies change according to geography. For example, if you live in a floodplain, you may not have flood coverage, or if you live in Texas, you may not have snow coverage. Make sure you are aware of any exclusions in your policy. Generally, insurance policies will cover the following:
Accidents: If your roof is damaged during an accident, your insurance will cover the damages.
Natural disasters: Not all policies cover all natural disasters, so make sure you know what your policy covers. These clauses in policies can also vary from area to area depending on where you live.
Falling objects: Roof damage by falling objects such as trees, utility poles, etc. during storms or otherwise is covered.
Fires: Insurance covers damage caused by a fire, even if it’s caused by a natural disaster not covered by your policy, it’s usually covered under the fire clause.
Vandalism by a third party: You can sometimes claim insurance if a third party vandalizes your property.
Storms: Your insurance covers damage caused by storms such as roof leaks, broken roofing, missing shingles, impact damage by hail and damage from winds.
Weight of snow: Your insurance company covers roof damage caused by the excessive weight of snow.
6. Do I have to have an insurance adjuster come out to my house?
Not necessarily. Once you have filed an insurance claim, an adjuster will be assigned to your case. The adjuster will contact you to set up an appointment to come out and look at the damage to your home. In some cases, adjusters may ask you to download an app such as Hover to submit photos for the claim instead of coming out to your home.
An adjuster is required to approve any insurance claim. A roofing contractor cannot approve your claim. A roofing contractor can document damage and advocate for you as a homeowner, but it’s up to the adjuster and the insurance company if the claim is approved or not.
7. Do I need to get quotes from multiple roofing contractors?
If your roof is being covered by insurance, there’s really no reason to get multiple quotes from roofing contractors. In roofing, it’s really not about pricing—it’s about trust. This is because the pricing is pretty much decided by the insurance company anyway. Insurance companies use a computer program called Xactimate to calculate the cost of replacing your roof. The program uses current pricing for materials, as well as an average for your area for labor. Reputable roofing contractors will stay within the budget of the insurance claim.
Once we begin the roofing process, if there is something unexpected that comes up, we can supplement your claim, and it should be covered by your insurance. (See below for more on supplements).
8. What is a supplement?
There was a metal roof we replaced not too long ago. The insurance company quoted just enough money to remove the old metal roof and put on a new metal roof. Once we took of the metal roof, we discovered there was a shingled roof underneath the old metal roof. We sent a “supplement” to the insurance company, so that they could send the money to cover the additional cost of removing the shingled roof as well. A supplement simply means that your roofing contractor incurred unexpected costs, and they need to ask the insurance company to cover those costs.
Sometimes adjusters omit line items in an estimate that need to be covered by the claim. For example, if your old roof is no longer up to code with current construction standards, it will cost more money to bring it up to code. If an adjuster didn’t take this into account, your roofing company would need to supplement. A supplement is filed when unexpected costs are incurred when removing and replacing a roof. This is to help protect the homeowner from being responsible for these costs. At Evoke, we handle all supplements directly with the insurance company, and we will let you know what’s happening every step of the way.
9. Do I have to pay anything for my roof to be replaced if I have insurance?
Each homeowner policy is different, but with an RCV policy, you should only be required to pay your deductible. With an ACV policy, you will have some insurance money, but you may have to come out of pocket to get a new roof. However, if you want upgrades, such as luxury shingles, paint, etc. those will have to come out of pocket.
10. What if the insurance company says no to my claim?
There are many reasons an insurance company may deny your claim. One reason could be that the damage isn’t covered by your policy. In that case, you may have to come out of pocket to make the repairs. However, the most common reason claims are denied is that the adjuster doesn’t believe there is enough damage to your roof to warrant a roof replacement. Sometimes insurance companies will cover repairs, but not a full roof replacement.
In the case that your insurance claim is denied, yet our inspector believes you have enough damage to warrant a full roof replacement, we will call a public adjuster. At Evoke, we work with several public adjusters who can work with you to get your adjuster to re-evaluate your roofing needs. A public adjuster only gets paid if you get a new roof, so there's no worry about a public adjuster trying to take advantage of you. A public adjuster works for you, and he/she wants to see you get a new roof.
11. Will my insurance premium increase if I file a claim?
Most likely, no. A liability claim generally will raise premiums, but not usually damage claims. Sometimes when there are several claims on a policy, it can drive up premiums because the insurance company because they now think you may file more claims in the future. This makes you a larger risk for the company. However, one claim when you have damage will usually not drive your premiums up. According to the Texas.gov website, insurance companies cannot charge you more for claims they didn’t pay or for claims stemming from natural causes. In fact, many policies actually will offer discounts when you get a new roof on your home.