Your roof really bears the brunt of it all. Whether it be a tornado or hail, many natural disasters make pummeling into your shingles their first line of attack. Because the roof is quite literally out of reach, assessing its damage can be difficult. You shouldn’t try to handle a roof claim alone, especially when it comes to doing the actual inspecting. Not only is scaling height dangerous as a layman, but roof damage can be difficult to detect. If nails were completely upheaved, leaving the entire shingle to blow away, the issue is, of course, transparent. But less obvious tears to shingles can become points of entry for moisture, making proper roof inspection and treatment imperative. This process can get costly, especially if your roof was aged from the get-go.
As much as it may seem like the opposite should be the case, “well it, was old anyway” isn’t much of a consolation when negotiating a roof claim. The reason is depreciation. Of course, like many pricey components of your home, roofing value decreases over time as inevitable wear and tear sets in. While you may watch your laptop’s speed and battery lifespan decrease over time, your roof is out of sight, out of mind, and gradually degrading from constant exposure to the elements. As a result, when it comes to getting an insurance check for your new roof, you’re going to have to be ready for a compensation discrepancy—at least at first.
Depending on what’s dictated in your insurance policy, you may be able to get back at least a portion of your depreciated value. This concept is called recoverable depreciation. Eligibility should be printed on your insurance declarations page. At this point in the process, you are only being compensated for the original cost of your roof, minus the depreciated value (number of years times percentage rate), as well as your deductible. Unfortunately, even if your depreciation is recoverable, you must first repair your roof with the funds given in your first check for the depreciated value. Once the repair has been completed, your contractor can submit your invoice to your insurance company, which will prompt your insurance company to release its hold on your compensation. Long story short: the final amount you end up receiving for the depreciated value is directly dependent upon how much it cost to fix it.
As a result, having a thorough estimate performed by a seasoned contractor is key. Some contractors may be ignorant towards the possibility of recoverable depreciation and will charge you at the same rate as your insurer’s initial offer. This pricing may seem like a favor, but it will really keep you from recovering the original price of your roof prior to its degradation in value. Another important party to have on board is an attorney, especially if your insurance company is trying to assert that damage to your roof occurred prior to the incident in question. In general, a bad faith claim against an insurer involves the insured getting the runaround. You may be required to take a step backwards to prove that this damage was not pre-existing, just for your insurer to continually dispute your roof’s value or whether contractors truly performed any work.
By conducting independent investigations, lawyers can help negotiate scenarios where the insurer clearly never intended to pay depreciation in the first place. Keeping a roof over your head can be challenging enough—don’t let your insurance company shutter its value.