Many homeowners have specific questions about their insurance policies and how those pay out under their specific circumstances. Your roofing contractor should be happy to review your situation and provide advice for navigating the process of getting your roof repaired or replaced, but your insurance company will have the final say. Ideally, an amiable partnership between you as the homeowner, your claim representative and a professional roofing expert will yield the best outcomes in getting your house restored to tip-top condition.
That said, we do hear some questions that are common to a number of situations. Here are some of the questions we hear most often and the insights we can share.
How Does My Policy Type Impact My Coverage?
There are you may have on your roof: RCV, or replacement cost value, and ACV, or actual cash value.
RCV is the most traditional type of coverage and does not factor in any depreciation. Even if your damaged roof was 5 years old, the insurer pays you enough to make your house right again — that would be the current cost of replacing the roof, minus any deductible.
The second type, ACV, means that your insurance company takes you the amount needed to repair or replace your roof, then subtracts your deductible and any depreciation you have because your roof is older to determine your payout.
Let's say your roof is 5 years old. Your insurance company may find that the cost to install a brand-new roof is $10,000. If you have an ACV policy with a $1,000 deductible, your insurer will reduce the full installation cost by the amount that a new roof would depreciate in 5 years PLUS your deductible. The end result will be $10,000 minus depreciation of $5,000 minus your $1,000 deductible. You may end up with only $4,000 toward the cost of replacing the roof and have to come up with $6,000 out of pocket. That can be a big hit for homeowners on a tight budget!
ACV policies have become more common in states where wind and hail damage are more likely to lead to increased insurance payouts. In an effort to minimize the amount they'll need to pay, many companies have encouraged ACV policies in the past few years. You will pay smaller premiums for a policy that pays out actual cash value, though, so it could make sense if you're able to either save the difference in premiums or come up with a few thousand dollars toward your roof without much financial hardship.
What is Recoverable Depreciation and How Do I Get Reimbursed For It?
With a replacement cost value (RCV) policy, you do get depreciation — but how it works can be confusing.
Typically, your insurance company will quickly give you the actual cash value, or what your roof is worth after depreciation. To get the amount of the depreciation, called recoverable depreciation, you'll have to submit proof that the roof replacement or repairs were actually completed. In other words, you'll receive two checks from your insurance company; one will be the actual value of your roof and the other will be difference between the cost to fix it and the value.
To get the recoverable depreciation, you will likely have to submit a copy of your roofing contractor's invoice to your claim representative. The invoice can indicate any payments that you've already made, but it has to show that the total payments and any remaining balance are equal to the replacement cost value (RCV). This prevents unscrupulous homeowners from inflating the bill or having your contractor do less than complete repairs and pocketing the difference.
Most roofing companies will work with you and will wait for you to receive your recoverable depreciation so you aren't faced with a big bill that you need to pay out of pocket.
What are Supplementals and How Can I Get More Money for Coverage?
A supplemental (sometimes called a supplement) is a charge that needs to be added to your claim because something has been discovered after work began on your roof. Sometimes this is a mistake that the adjuster made that isn't found right away; other times it may be due to problems with the roof that weren't found until a portion was removed.
In still other cases, filing for supplemental coverage may be needed because not enough materials or materials of lesser quality than what you're replacing were approved by the insurance adjuster. For example, adjusters may leave some items off their estimates like pipe jacks, HVAC caps, or ridge caps that must be replaced. Depending on your insurance company's policies, getting these included will likely require a supplemental to prove the items are necessary.
In most cases, preparing this supplement requires your roofing company to create documentation — including paperwork, photos or video — and submit to your insurance company. Your roofing contractor may have to educate your insurance adjustor on local codes or best practices and explain why certain work is needed. It takes time to go back and forth with the insurance company, and can lead to delays in the project, but it will result in getting your roof fixed or replaced to your satisfaction. You'll rarely have to get involved, but it may be necessary to call your claims representative to encourage the company to approve the supplemental request.
It's important to work with a roofing company that understands the process of submitting supplementals and can properly document the requests for changes. By working through the system that insurance companies require, you'll be able to get a beautiful and functional roof that looks and works exactly as it did before your home was damaged by storm winds or hail.
Do you have other questions about the process of filing a roof insurance claim? Bennett Roofing and Restoration can answer all your following storm or hail damage, including how to get started with the insurance process. As professional roofers we have been working with insurers for years, getting the most out of our customers' insurance policies and ensuring that roofs are restored to their ideal state. for an assessment of your damage and to get started on fixing your roof.