What Do Insurance Adjusters Look For On Roofs?

Insurance inspector ascending roof via a ladder

Learn More About the Insurance Inspection Process

Within your homeowner’s insurance policy is coverage for the roof. Insurance claims this time of the year in Texas are frequent and many as hailstorms and high winds come with the spring season. Insurance coverage for the roof covers any damage caused by unforeseen events like accidents, tree branches (or trees!), and the weather. 

Not all insurance policies are the same, they can vary from house to house, even if every one of your neighbors has the same insurance company. As a homeowner, you should review your policy from time to time so that you’re not hit with surprises if you should ever need to file a roof insurance claim. 

How Do Roof Insurance Claims Work? 

When your home’s roof is damaged during a storm or other unexpected event, you need to contact your insurance company and advise them you need to file a roof insurance claim. They will assign a claim number to your file and assign a company insurance adjuster. 

The adjuster will schedule a time to come inspect the damage and take notes and pictures, possibly videos of the inside and outside of your home where the damage is located. Today, many insurance companies are using drones to save them from having to climb up on the roof. They will then advise you how much the insurance company will pay, less your deductible. 

What is an Insurance Deductible? 

This is the amount of money you are required to pay out of pocket prior to the insurance company paying your roof insurance claim. The deductible is based on the type of coverage you choose when you purchase your insurance policy. 

There are two different types of roof insurance claim deductibles you can choose from, and both provide help with the expense of replacing the roof. The two different types and how they work are: 

  • ACV (Actual Cash Value)

The insurance company will pay the amount of money needed to repair or replace your roof less the decreased property value due to the age of the roof. 

  • RCV (Replacement Cost Value)

The insurance company will pay the amount it cost to repair or replace your roof at fair market value. With this type of policy, your insurance company may pay the ACV, and then once you have proof the job is complete and paid in full, you’ll receive a check reimbursing you for the extra cost you paid out of pocket, referred to as “Recoverable Depreciation.” 

You should have your insurance agent review both of these with you. The RCV option will have a higher premium, but the payoff will be noticed if and when you need to file a roof insurance claim. 

How Does the Insurance Adjuster Determine if the Roof is a Total Loss?

First, you need to understand that the amount of hail that came with the hailstorm is not what the insurance adjuster will use as a guide as to whether they are paying for a full roof replacement. Factors that consider are the roof’s age and the extent of the hail damage. They will consider several weather factors in their decision making too, such as the direction, frequency, and size of the hailstones. Some indicators the roof insurance claims adjuster will use to determine if you’re getting a new roof are:

  • Missing granules
  • Exposed layer under the shingles
  • Soft & spongy areas where granules are missing (this is referred to as bruising)
  • If the fiberglass mats are broken or cracked 

Other things the roof insurance claims adjuster will look at include: 

  • Signs of leaking roof inside the attic and house
  • Peeling paint on the eaves, fascia, and soffit
  • Shingles that are buckled, curled, loose, or missing
  • Damaged or rusted metal flashing
  • Signs of wood rot 

It isn’t uncommon for a homeowner not to be aware of what a roof insurance claims adjuster is going to look for, so ask questions and do your research. While they want to make sure your home is safe and habitable, they are also on the side of the insurance company. 

As such, it is recommended to have your roofing contractor present when the roof insurance claims adjuster arrives to inspect the roof and other damaged areas with them.  The roofing contractor is on your side!

Why Would a Roof Insurance Claim be Denied?

Ah, the question asked by many homeowners: “Why was my roof insurance claim denied?!”  The roof of your home is an important component. You pay your premiums every month like clockwork, and yet,  when you filed your roof insurance claim for hail damage, wind damage, or maybe a tree fell on your house, they denied the claim. What reasons could an insurance company possibly have for denying a claim? Here are six possible reasons: 

  • Wear & Tear

The roofing materials used today are made with the latest technology to provide you with a longer lifespan. Yet, still with harsh weather conditions and the climate, any type of roofing material will start to degrade. While most asphalt shingles offer 20, 25, or 30-year warranties, you can be prepared to need a new roof within 15, 20, or 25 years respectively. 

This happens as we stated, the weather and simply aging, but lack of maintenance on your part can shorten the lifespan too. If the roof insurance claims adjuster deems the roof has reached its end of life prior to the damage reported, or the roof has been neglected, they will recommend the company deny your claim.

  • Damage Previously

Here in Texas, it’s unlikely that we’ll go 30 years without any significant weather events like hailstones, hard rains, high winds, or ice. What you should realize with your however, is that any repairs for damage prior to taking out your homeowner insurance policy will not be paid for the current/new policy. 

A homeowner’s roof insurance claim will only be honored for recent damage. If there is a combination of old and new damage, whether or not the insurance roof claims adjuster determines to deny will be based on the previous damage being the main source of damage.   

  • Partially Damaged

In order for your roof insurance claim to be approved for full roof replacement, the adjuster will need to determine if there is enough damage to justify it. This can be an iffy situation because every adjuster may have a different view while inspecting the roof. A partial repair or replacement denied claim is more often than not a disputable matter and the homeowner comes out the ‘winner’. 

  • Manufacturing Defect

If the roof insurance claim adjuster declares the damage is caused by defective materials, they will deny the claim.  Most major roofing material manufacturers have a standard limited warranty when you purchase their roofing materials. That warranty will provide coverage if the specifics they have set forth are met, starting with the roof must be installed by an approved roofing contractor. 

  • Late Roof Insurance Claim Filing

Most home insurance policies state that any insurance claim against the policy must be filed within 365 days from the time of damage. Failing to file that claim can result in your claim being denied. 

At The End of The Day

If your roof insurance claim is denied, is that it, there is no other avenue to try. Absolutely not! You can dispute the denial with your insurance company, and if you still don’t receive what you feel is a fair decision, you can hire an independent insurance claims adjuster.