As a landlord, tenants expect you to conduct routine maintenance and upkeep on your rental properties each year. Property repairs and restorations can cost a pretty penny, and your insurance can help cover those expenses.
If there is recent damage on the roof on one of your rental properties, how can you get your roof insurance to cover your restorations?
Today we'll break down everything landlords need to know about roofing insurance claims.
What Is Landlord Insurance?
Every landlord must have landlord insurance (also called rental property or investment property insurance) for their properties.
This policy functions similarly to a homeowner's policy, as it helps cover the building itself (and other structures on the property if it incurs damage from a covered loss, like a fire, lightning, wind, or hail).
Depending on the policy type you purchase, your landlord insurance can provide:
- Property damage coverage.
- Liability coverage.
- Loss of income coverage
Landlord insurance policies may also include several policy riders/add-ons. While these add-ons are not necessary, they can provide more comprehensive coverage for your rental units. These add-ons may include things like flood insurance, emergency coverage, and additional construction expenses coverage.
Can I File a Claim for the Roof of My Rental?
If your roofer determines that your roof damage was due to a recent storm, you can and should file a claim ASAP. However, if your roof damage was due to gradual wear and tear, then the damage cannot be covered.
How To File Your Roof Insurance Claim
Filing a claim for landlord's insurance is relatively straightforward and is similar to the typical insurance claims process. If your roofing expert has determined the damage was due to a storm, there are a few steps you'll need to take:
Inspect The Rental Property For Damage
Whether you own a duplex, an apartment complex, or an office building, your rental property can sustain damage due to intense inclement weather. When a major storm rolls through, you may suspect possible roof damage. We recommend that you schedule a roof inspection with a reputable roofing contractor.
Reliable roofing professionals will offer free property inspections, so take advantage of those offers. You may even want to book multiple assessments with different roofers to ensure adequate identification of the roof damage.
They'll look for common signs of storm damage, such as:
- Broken or dented roof shingles.
- Missing, warped, or loose shingles.
- Sagging or dysfunctional gutter systems.
- Dented, rusted, or loose flashing.
- Interior signs of damage (e.g. water stains on ceilings, moisture in the attic, etc.)
Document The Damage
The more proof you can include in your insurance claim, the better the chances of approval. During their inspection, ask your roofer to provide you with thorough documentation of the damage.
Ask them to take photos and even some videos (if possible) to showcase the total extent of the damage. Be sure to write down everything that sustained damages in the event, including any injuries too.
Pro Tip: Throughout the year, take photos and videos regularly of your rental properties! Those time-stamped documents can showcase the original condition of your property and further strengthen your insurance claim.
File Your Claim and Contact Your Insurance Agent
When you're ready, contact and notify your insurance agent of the property damage and your insurance claim. Each insurance provider is unique, which means their claim processes may be slightly different too.
Your agent will walk you through the claim process, provide an outline of the documents they may need, and offer advice for you too. In some cases, they may even counsel you against filing a claim because your restoration expenses may be slightly higher than your deductible.
If it makes financial sense for you to file a claim, do it! Gather up all your documents, your insurance claim forms (and anything your agent requests). Then submit your claim to your provider.
Meet With Your Adjuster
Once you file your claim, your insurance company will need to send an insurance adjuster to your property to verify the details of your claim. During this scheduled visit, your adjuster will perform another in-depth inspection of the property to determine the root cause of the damage.
It would be wise to have your roofing contractor present for your adjuster's inspection. Why? Because your contractor will act as your advocate and will be able to voice legitimate concerns with the adjuster's findings. By having that roofing professional on-site for the adjuster's visit, you'll have a better chance of getting your roof damage covered.
Remember: Don't make any repairs until your adjuster can inspect the property. If you do, your adjuster will have a more difficult time assessing the damage, and they may deny your claim.
What Happens Next?
Assuming your claim is approved, your insurance company will send you multiple checks to reimburse you for the restoration costs. In many cases, you may have to foot the initial cost of the roof repairs, and your insurance company will reimburse you for the project.
There are two different types of payouts that you may receive, depending on your policy:
- Cash value payout - Provides you with the cash amount for whatever was damaged minus depreciation.
- Replacement value payout - A reimbursement of the entire replacement cost without depreciation.
It's essential to have a clear idea of which options are in your policy.
At this point, your roof repairs can commence! Make sure you do your research and select the right roofing contractor for your needs.