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Friday, April 1, 2011

Top Ten Roof Issues with Insurance Coverage

Since this article was written much has changed. Texas has passed the Barratry Law , which forbids roofers from acting like Public Adjusters, which is good, but also keeps roofers, specifically roofers, from discussing policy. I cannot mention class IV discounts, whether or not you have "Code Upgrade," or anything. This is not all bad as we know many roofers are unscrupulous, yet Texas refuses to pass a roofer license law. The Texas Roofing Contractor's Association of Texas, "RCAT", model requires a company to have insurance and pass a business test and either a low slope test or a steep slope test. Residential or commercial basically. As the insurance board is staffed with CEO's from the insurance industry they don't want it. Making roofing a real business would make the prices go up.
Most of us look at this as consumer protection but some look at it as a way to lock out competition. Those that feel  that way should be careful because it might happen to them.
The worst homeowner policy ever is being pioneered by Allstate. The roof will have only an Actual Cash Value worth with a deductible and non recoverable depreciation spread out over eleven years. So at about 7 or 8 years you have no roof coverage at all.
I can tell you to read your policy or start saving now.

1) Is my depreciation recoverable?

Depends on your policy. Full homeowner's policies have no depreciation in reality. The purpose of the hold back is for the customer to settle for what value he has left in the roof and pocket the money or to receive the hold back when the roof is completed. Profiting from an insurance claim is a crime and those who try to do so should not be surprised if they find themselves arrested and convicted.

If you have a fire or renter's type of policy, you won't receive any depreciation compensation. On full replacement policies, Texas does not allow for depreciation but in word alone. The money is recoverable as long as you have services performed that match up to the claim or better but you won't be paid for better. But if the policy is the type that has non recoverable depreciation, you can put on a lesser roof at no penalty other than having a lower property value or drive up appeal....and a cheaper roof.

.Most insurance adjusters want to find a way to total damaged roofs without losing their jobs but they must remain within reasonable parameters when adjusting roof damage. Otherwise they'll lose their jobs.

2)Does the insurance owe for a new roof if the damaged part cannot be color matched?

No. Usually they'll do a regional or entire slope repair.

3) Will the insurance pay for damage caused by old roofing or defective workmanship?

No. The damage must result from a hole or other catastrophe that occurred suddenly. If you allow your roof to leak, it is your problem.

4) Can I lose my depreciation.

Yes. You usually have one year to report damage once you know about it. This is a negative nearly impossible to prove if you take the Fifth Amendment.

Within one or two years from the claim, depending on your policy, you must complete and invoice the work or the funds are lost. You may apply for an extension but you must do so within the provisions of your insurance policy. They'll give you one to two more years. Ask what it is.

5) What if we discover additional costs while the roof is in progress?

They're called adjusters because they can adjust their totals and line item costs. Be sure the roofer owns a camera and documents everything. Usually a good roofer will know everything with a thorough roof and attic inspection. Once we had the insurance pay more to remove six layers of felt left by each succeeding roofer.  The photos showed it was a mountain of black paper chips. Since the laps were aligned on each roof it appeared that there was a soldier step, a double course, every three feet. Six layers of felt are thinner than the twelve were the laps took place. Six thicknesses of felt is pretty substantial.

6) Is rot covered?

Not normally because it took place over time. Remember the suddenness of damage requirement for catastrophic damage. Neglect is not not insurable.

7) Are termites, rodents, and other beasts covered?

Not normally. You may get a rider to cover something like a deer or bear looting your home but raccoons and squirrels cannot be convicted for vandalism. you can kill them though, if you are really hacked off enough.

8) What if some non-certified idiot destroys my home while roofing it or a lot of damage occurs after he is gone?

If he knocks down your home or allows water to penetrate and he is not insured, your insurance will cover it. He will be subrogated in the hot Texas son and his first born son will be taken. but remember, rain penetration is not always the roofer's fault. if rain is not forecast and a freak storm occurs, his insurance will probably beat your insurance in court. Freak storms are just that:freak. Roof removal may not proceed with impunity though. If rain is predicted and the fools remove your roof covering, they are guilty.

Bad or defective workmanship is not a covered peril. The insurance considers it your fault for letting the roofer do the job. did you check to see if he was certified by GAF, Certainteed, or Owens Corning? Have you seen a certificate of insurance? Roofers that have insurance paste it to their foreheads with enhanced lighting while thet twrill and plie. References? Anything? Ouija Board consultation? If there is a leak and the roofer has gone back to Austin or Topeka, it is not the insurance companies fault. This is not a sudden act of nature like a car driving into your home.

9) Will filing a claim effect my premiums or insurability?

Hell yes! Not only might the insurance turn down your claim, they might send you a letter giving you thirty days to get a new roof. Now you are in the pool, the insurance pool, and you don't have a paddle. The drain is open and the boat is beginning to twirl and plie. There is no insurance for this. Remember one of my first blogs about Strangers? Knock, knock, knock...we'd like to know if we could endanger your home by seeing if we get lucky and get an easy adjuster. It's like playing roulette or going door to door and pulling one armed bandits, but done by two armed bandits.

Roof claims don't hurt too much if they go through because you can't prevent hail like you can a burglary or a car or plane crashing into your home.

10) What about gunfire?

As long as the bullet is an innie and not an outieCinco de Mayo coverage because of all the celebratory gunfire. This custom has been eliminated by the Americanized immigrant wife. That is why my immigrant male friends call this "no man's land."

War is straight out. It is your duty to arm yourself and protect your property from invading marauders, sometimes called murderers. Just give the wife the gun and tell her that those misogynists outside have eyes on her flowers that she spent two years getting you to plant.

Final words: anything is insurable. Just ask Jennifer Lopez's bondoon, Betty Grable's legs, and Tom Jones' chest hair. Your wife can even take out insurance on you without you knowing it.

Protect yourself with good coverage, good roofers, and good materials.

Jon Alan Wright
Jon Wright Roofing, Siding, and Windows
1915 Peters Rd., Suite 310
Irving, TX 75061
972.251.1818 Office
214.718.3748 Cell
972.554.8090 Fax
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