3 Key Things To Know About Your Roof Warranty

3 Key Things to Know About Your Roof Warranty

Buying a new roof can cost almost as much as buying a car. Naturally, when making a purchase of this size you’ll want some assurance that the product will perform as expected. You need a good roof warranty. But what should you know about roof warranties BEFORE you buy a roof?

  1. The first thing to know is that not all roof warranties are the same. In fact, you should receive at least two warranties with a professionally installed roof, and roof warranty upgrades should also be available.
  • The types of roof warranties are:
    • Standard Product Limited Warranty
      • Covers materials against defects or failures
      • Typically 25-30 years in duration, some can be longer
      • Can be voided by improper installation
    • Workmanship Warranty
      • Provided by your contractor covering the labor/work portion of the total roof cost
      • Typically 5-10 years in duration, sometimes negotiable
    • System Warranty (extended warranty)
      • Must be certified contractor performing the installation
      • Roof System must contain 3-5 specific components from the manufacturer
      • There is an additional cost from the manufacturer typically billed by the contractor

You should talk to your contractor and make sure to understand what warranties you will receive with your new roof. You can always ask to see the warranty documents before you commit to your purchase.    

2.  A shingle manufacturer’s product warranty can be voided for a number of reasons. It’s not that they don’t want to stand behind the product. For the products to work correctly they must be treated correctly.

The most common reasons for a roof warranty to be voided are:

    • Poor installation – when the products are not installed per the manufacturer instructions
    • Layering over old shingles – when you do not remove the old shingles before installing new ones
    • Improper ventilation – you must allow a specific amount of airflow to your roof, per the International Residential Code which is followed by most manufacturers’ warranties
    • Improper washing – you see discoloration from algae, rust, or mold and decide to remove it with chemicals or a pressure washer

When selecting a roofing contractor, ask them for some addresses that you can drive by to see previous installations. This also gives you the opportunity to see different roof colors to help with your product selection.

Some local municipalities require a permit for roof installations. If so, you can check with your local city or county building department to see if they provide post-installation inspections. This will confirm that your roof was installed to code.

3.  DIY roof installations are not fully warrantied. With the right amount of research, and typically more hard work than expected, some folks can install their own roof both to local building code and to manufacturers specification. And you might save some money, but it will come at a cost.

 The costs include:

    • No workmanship warranty, you have a leak and the damage is on you
    • No option for warranty upgrade
    • Some manufacturers add additional limitations to their standard warranty

Manufacturer certified roof installers receive training and they know the warranty rules. DIYers are one-time customers for the shingle manufacturer. As a recurring customer, a certified installation company holds more leverage with the manufacturer if a warranty claim should arise.

Conclusion – It is important to know what warranty options are available to you, before you purchase a new roof. Make sure you are comfortable with the level of warranty coverage you will receive and ask for upgrade options if it suits your needs.

Be sure to select a roofing contractor that you trust to stand behind their work. Local companies are usually best, but still do your homework. Google reviews, Better Business ratings, and even a call to the building department to ask if there have been previous issues will help you to choose the right roofing company.

Using a roofing contractor that is certified by the shingle manufacturer is important for your roof warranty. And, it is required if you want to upgrade your warranty. It is best to find a partner that the manufacturer trusts to do your installation correctly.

Myths & Answers

Truths & Myths – Roof Insurance Claims

Common Myths About Roof Insurance Claims

Will filing a roof damage claim make my homeowner’s insurance premium go up? Can a contractor waive my deductible? Don’t I need to get 3 repair estimates? These are all common questions related to insurance claims in the roofing business. And they all have myths tied to them. 

We’ll lay out some of the most common roof insurance myths and storm damage contractors. Then we’ll give you the truth about each…

question marks and light bulbs

Myth #1: Not filing a claim keeps my premium from going up

Many homeowner’s claims will be filed with your insurance company when a large storm hits your region. As a result, the insurance company might decide to raise rates across entire zip codes. Your premium could increase even if you don’t file a claim. And then you’ll be paying for everyone else’s repairs but your own.

Myth #2: My insurance company will drop me if I file a claim

To be clear, an insurance company can choose not to renew your policy for any reason, claim related or not. They tend to measure risk by geographic region. So, for example, if you live near a volcano that suddenly becomes active then your insurance company may choose not to renew all of the policies it holds in your area. 

Now, when individual homeowners start to get “claim happy” the insurance company can begin to recognize them as high risk. However, in most cases one or even two claims in a three year period will not trigger your insurance company to drop your coverage. That is especially true if they are storm related and not the result of disrepair or lack of maintenance. Some state’s laws even prohibit coverage from being dropped due to damage claims caused by natural events, like storms. 

So if you haven’t made a claim in the past few years, or even if you’ve made just one claim, then your risk of being dropped is fairly minimal.

Myth #3: I only have 1 year to file my storm damage insurance claim

Some insurance companies put a limit on how long you have to file your claim, in most cases 1 year. However, not all companies set a time limit. And occasionally the limitation will be lifted if the storm was large enough to affect a significant geographical area. 

When a large storm event takes place, insurance companies use complex calculations to estimate their financial exposure. That is the total cost they expect pay for all of the resulting claims. Then they assign a budget to that event/region. Often, how they treat claims as the 1 year limit to file approaches will depend on how much of the budget remains. 

Myth #4: I don’t have to pay a deductible for my roof restoration

This is a big roof insurance myth, but it’s not far from being true. You are legally responsible for paying your deductible for roof repairs or replacement. And, technically and legally, a roofing contractor cannot waive your deductible. The insurance company is going to take your deductible amount out of the first check they send you. 

If your roofer simply gives you a discount in the amount of your deductible then that discount will be reflected in your final invoice. The final invoice must be sent to the insurance company in order for your final payment to be released (see myth #6 for more details). Insurance will then pay the final payment based on the new lower amount, thereby taking the discount for themselves. If your contractor gives a discount and omits it from the final invoice that would be committing insurance fraud.

But many roofing contractors have developed workarounds. They can offer you “referral bonuses” for other customers that you may or may not have sent them. Or they can pay you “marketing fees” for allowing them to post a sign in your yard. Or perhaps they will provide you with products or services equal in value to the deductible. For example, giving you upgraded materials or an extended warranty.

Myth #5: A roofing insurance claim means a new roof

Your home insurance policy likely covers your roof based on the condition it was in when you bought the policy. And policies typically cover roof repair or replacement using “like kind and quality” materials. So, if similar materials are available and your roof can be returned to its original condition by being repaired, the insurance company will not pay for full replacement.

Where that gets a little murky is in determining what can be repaired vs. what justifies a full replacement. The majority of insurance carriers will use the 50% threshold. If more than 50% of your roof is damaged then you’ll be approved for full replacement.

Myth #6: Insurance gives me a check and I spend it how I want

You might say this roof insurance myth is both true and false at the same time. Here’s why…

Most homeowner’s coverage extends to full roof replacement cost. But, the insurance company is not going to pay full replacement unless you actually restore the property to its original condition. In other words, you have to prove that the repair work was done in order to receive full reimbursement.

When you file a valid claim, at first the insurance company will only reimburse a portion of the replacement cost. The amount they pay initially is called the “actual cash value”, known in the industry as your ACV. The reason is, just like your car, the property covered by your homeowners insurance depreciates.  

Of course, if you are okay with your property remaining in its damaged condition then you can spend the ACV check as you like (technically, the myth is true). But you will only receive the ACV, not the full replacement amount. And the insurance company will never cover any damage to that facet of your home ever again. Furthermore, any future damage resulting from the lack of repair will also not be covered. 

To be fully paid you must prove the home restoration work was done. That means working with a contractor who will produce and submit all of the required paperwork to the insurance company. Only then will the difference between the depreciated value and full replacement cost be paid by your insurance company.

Myth #7: You should go with the lowest bid

Many homeowners think they need to provide 3 repair estimates to their insurance company. But this is a roof insurance myth. Similar to the way a contractor discounting the amount of your deductible turns into savings for your insurance company and not for you, choosing the lowest bidder is helping the insurance company and not helping you. 

Insurance companies use an estimating software called Xactimate. It has set prices for materials and labor based on the going rates in your area. Insurance will pay the Xactimate price and no more. But they’d be happy to pay less if you can find a contractor who will do it for less. That usually means cutting corners, using lower quality materials, or forgoing the programs that would offset your deductible. All of those results are bad for you. 

As the homeowner, you should choose the contractor that you trust the most to do the job right. You are not going to “make money” from the insurance claim. So you might as well get the best materials and the best workmanship you can find for the price the insurance company will pay.

Myth #8: Insurance coverage will match any roof repair or replacement estimate

The overwhelming majority of homeowners insurance claims result in the insurance company sending their adjuster to assess the damage. The adjuster will decide what they believe to be the extent of the damage and then use Exactimate to estimate the restoration costs. 

Your insurance company will not pay more than their original estimated amount, unless you and your contractor can reasonably justify the additional costs. This is done through a process called supplementing the claim. 

If the additional costs are not necessary to return your property to its original condition, then you will be responsible for the extra amount. For example, if you upgrade the materials used then you would pay the difference.

Myth #9 – The total amount of your claim is approved after the restoration is complete

After the insurance adjuster has inspected your property they will provide you with a claim summary. In that summary you will find their estimate for the cost of repairs. That is the amount you will have to pay a contractor for everything the insurance company has agreed to cover, less your deductible of course. 

A good contractor will review that insurance summary and immediately know if the adjuster overlooked or omitted any required expenses. An example would be, in the event of a large storm your insurance company may bring in out-of-state adjusters to handle the influx of claims in your area. An out-of-state adjuster may not be familiar with local building codes causing them to miss required labor or material items. 

In this case, your knowledgeable contractor will address the oversight with your insurance company before beginning restoration. They do this by submitting a supplement to the claim. In doing so, your contractor has streamlined the process for you and helped to ensure you receive full benefit from your policy. 

There are some supplement worthy expenses that cannot be foreseen. Consequently, it is true that the full claim amount will not be known for every single claim prior to restoration work being completed. But you could say 90% of the time a homeowner and their contractor will know the total contract amount before work begins.

Myth #10: Home insurance covers damage caused by age or lack of maintenance

Home insurance does not cover damages caused by poor maintenance, including mold. If your home falls into disrepair and a reasonable person would recognize the need for maintenance, then any resulting damage might not be covered by insurance. 

Here’s an example: 

Your home is struck by a hail storm and insurance approves your claim for roof replacement. You collect the ACV check from the insurance company. Instead of replacing the roof you decide to buy yourself a fancy vacation. 

Six months later you have a roof leak and water runs down the ceiling and walls in your kitchen, bathroom, and master bedroom. Now you will have to pay out of pocket for the new roof and all of the interior repairs. All because you knew the roof was damaged and decided not to fix it.

In Summary

Many roof insurance myths are perpetually circulating. Most of them have some basis in truth. Nearly all of them involve ways that an experienced contractor can work you to make the most out of your storm damage claim. 

If you have questions about any of the topics above, or any other questions about storm damage claims, contact the experts at Legacy Exteriors TN. We’ve been helping homeowners in the Nashville area for years. And we know how to pull all of the levers for our customers to maximize your return on a claim.