is Every Old Roof a Potential Insurance Claim?

Is every old roof a potential insured event? At the end of June 2020 I received a call from Stuart Thomas, a resident of Hanover. His 19 year old roof had leaked during a storm earlier this year and he was looking for estimates to have his roof replaced.

“I have a steady income,” he said, “so I would like to look into financing options, if you have any.”

I told him we could find all of this out later and come up with a payment plan that would fit his budget if needed, but first we wanted to inspect his roof. And as we suspected, Thomas’s roof was littered with signs of wind and hail damage.

We showed him the damage and gave him a blank copy of our contract which will allow us to make a claim on his insurance policy to try and get paid for the roof. Mr Thomas and his wife Carolyn did not believe their roof would be eligible for an insurance claim but after double and triple checking with me that there would be absolutely no cost in case the claim was denied they agreed for us to try.

“But I have to tell you,” warned Mr. Thomas, “this all sounds too good to be true, and I’m very skeptical.” When we received a check for $ 25,000 two weeks later with approval for a full roof replacement as well received new gutters, downspouts, metal cladding for the instrument panel, and a new bathroom fan that was damaged by the leak. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas were shocked and thrilled.

They did not know what they were entitled to under their home insurance.

Potential insurance claim

Every day we get calls from people like Mr Thomas who want to pay for a new roof because their current roof is 15, 20 or 25 years old and it is time to get a new one. Most of these homeowners just don’t know that not only is their roof old and dilapidated, but it’s also damaged by wind or hail or wind and hail.

If we do this initial inspection and find signs of storm damage, we’ll tell them they’re eligible for an insurance claim and may not have to pay anything other than their own deductible (usually $ 500-1,000).

“That sounds too good to be true,” everyone says. “You’re the tenth local roofer in York I called and the first to mention insurance. My roof is really old. What’s the scam? “Insurance companies love this misunderstanding! It’s true that old age and deterioration are not an insured hazard, meaning an old but undamaged roof is not eligible for insurance just because it’s old and it’s time for a new one.

However, storm damage is a covered risk under most homeowner policies. By the time a roof is 15 to 25 years old, it has weathered some severe storms. This means that there is a very good chance that the damage is there. It only takes a specialist who knows what to look out for, how to document it and how to control the complaint process.

So is every old roof a potential insured event? No, but any old roof is worth checking for storm damage. The vast majority of them do and are therefore eligible even though they are old.

What to Expect

Unfortunately, the presence of storm damage does not guarantee that a full roof replacement will be approved. Insurance companies often only pay for small repairs and patches if they can get away with it.

Sometimes they completely deny hail damage based on weather records. If the service they use says there has been no hailstorm at your location in the last year (which is the typical deadline for filing a claim), the claim will be denied.

Worse still, some policies have all kinds of “exclusions” and reservations that limit eligibility. For example, exceptionally high deductibles for wind and hail that make filing a claim unaffordable. There is also a so-called roof area plan. It reduces the amount of coverage depending on the age of the roof.

This is particularly pronounced with one wearer (note: you are not always in good hands). In most cases, insurers want to treat their policyholders fairly. We’re not out to portray them as villains. The truth, however, is that they are in the business of collecting premiums – not paying claims.

They will do everything possible to reduce their costs and this is usually not verified as most people do not know what their policy is for them to be entitled to.

It helps to have someone by your side during the damage process to level the playing field. Because the restoration of the condition before the damage is exactly the aim of a household insurance. That is why we pay our premiums year after year.

Company to call

RJ D’Angelo is the operations manager at JWE Remodeling & Roofing LLC, a Hanover-based roofing company serving all of south-central Pennsylvania. RJ is also a licensed public insurance surveyor with the Pennsylvania & Maryland Department of Insurance.

His public law appraiser StormScope Public Adjusters & Loss Recovery represents Hanover’s policyholders in negotiations with their insurance company about storm damage, which JWE and StormScope work on as a team. Once the work is approved, JWE owner Jeff Erb takes over and performs the work.

Jeff has been working as a roofer in Hanover for 20 years and has given JWE a 4.9 / 5-star rating on Google. You can reach RJ at (717) 524-6964 or Jeff at (717) 640-7131. You can also contact both of them via their joint email, [email protected] Feel free to drop by her office during business hours: 1060 Baltimore St, Suite R, in Hanover.

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