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Replacing your roof without hitting the ceiling

Your roof is your first line of defense against severe weather, and it takes a beating. Here’s what you need to know when buying a policy, filing a claim, and replacing your roof.

1 Replacement cost or actual cash value?

A replacement cost policy will pay to replace your roof based on current construction costs. An actual cash value policy will decrease your payment based on the age or wear on your roof.

Example: Let’s say it will cost $20,000 to replace your 10-year-old roof after hail damage, and your home policy has a $3,000 deductible.

  • A policy with replacement cost will pay $17,000 ($20,000 - $3,000).
  • A policy with actual cash value coverage will take into account the age of your roof. This is usually done with a depreciation schedule. If the value of your roof had depreciated by half after 10 years, this policy would pay $7,000 ($10,000 - $3,000).

2 Choose the right deductible.

Your deductible is the amount you pay before the insurance company will pay. It’s usually offered as a percentage of your coverage amount, but some companies offer a fixed dollar amount. Some policies have a separate deductible for windstorm claims. Higher deductibles will lower your premium, but remember that you'll have to pay more out of your own pocket if you have a claim.

3 Filing a claim.

If your policy covers the replacement cost of your roof, be aware that you’ll probably get the payment in two checks. The first will cover the actual cash value of the roof. Once you have replaced the roof, your insurance will pay the rest of the amount.

Here are tips to help you select a good contractor:

  • Start with a call to your insurance company to get an idea of what repairs should cost.
  • Use local companies and check references and contact numbers.
  • Get written estimates. These should be on company letterhead with clear contact information.
  • Get more than one bid. This will help you tell which offers are too high or too good to be true.
  • Be cautious of contractors who offer to waive deductibles. They could be submitting false information to your insurance company about the cost of the repairs.
  • Don’t pay the full cost of the repair in advance. Good contractors may require a partial payment up front to get started. Your final payment should come after the job is done.
  • Be aware that Texas law prohibits public adjusters from taking part in the repair process to prevent conflicts of interest. For example, roofers can’t advertise that they will handle your insurance claim.

4 Selecting a replacement roof.

You may want to consider roofing materials that are less likely to be damaged by wind, hail, or fire. Ask your home insurer if using these materials would mean a discount on your premium.


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Last updated: 6/8/2018