Homeowners insurance protects your home, which is likely among your biggest investments. While different levels of homeowners insurance cover different risks, damage to your roof is covered by most standard policies. Insurance pays to repair or replace your roof if it is damaged as a result of lightning, a fallen tree or high winds, but not if it needs replacement as a result of normal wear or something for which you lack coverage, such as an earthquake.
Even if you're not sure whether your homeowners insurance covers your roof following a disaster or accident, contact your insurance company once your family is safe and the situation is stable. Most insurance companies have representatives available by phone 24 hours a day for such emergencies. The representative can tell you whether your roof damage falls within your policy's coverage and how you should proceed.
Estimates and Repairs
Once you report a claim, each homeowners insurance company has its own method for processing payment and getting your roof replaced. Some use networks of approved contractors, and you can contact them directly to arrange for the necessary inspection, estimate and work. Other companies send an agent to your home to investigate the damage. In either case, you can proceed with a roof replacement only after the insurance company authorizes the repair.
Homeowners insurance that covers your roof also covers any damage to your home's contents from the same event. For example, if a tree branch falls through your roof during a thunderstorm, your insurance also covers damage to your carpets and furniture from the rain that entered before you could have the hole covered. Compile a complete list of the damage to your home's contents, and submit it to your insurance company to be eligible for an additional payment you can use to buy new furnishings.
Reimbursement or Payment
Your homeowners insurance company's policy for inspecting your roof and authorizing repairs determines how the final payment takes place. If you use a contractor within the insurance company's network, the insurer may be able to pay the contractor directly, meaning you pay nothing out of pocket for your new roof. In other cases, your insurance company requires you to pay for the repairs and issues you a check once the work is completed for the cost of repairs, up to your policy limits, minus your deductible.