Keeping the roof on a rental property in good shape is an essential part of making a rental home attractive to renters and profitable to its owner, says SCUDO Management. Roof problems are among landlords’ worst problems because roof issues are often not isolated to the roof.

Fixing a roof costs a lot of money; you can expect to spend up to $400 on minor roof problems. But more often, the cost of resolving issues with the roof is between $1,500 and $7,000. If you are thinking of roof replacement, you are looking at expenses of well over $8,000.

Most landlords expect the cost of roof repairs to come from their insurance since the standard landlords’ insurance policy covers roof damage. But does this mean you can make claims for all kinds of damage to the roof of your rental?

The answer is no. Typically landlords’ insurance policy will only cover accidental roof damage; it did not happen gradually over time. Roof damage from gradual wear or neglect is not covered, but it will cover roof damage from a storm.

Filing an insurance claim for roof damage

If you think the issue with your roof qualifies for coverage under your insurance policy, the next step is to file a claim. What are the steps for submitting an insurance claim for roof damage?

1. Inspect the roof of your property

Get your roofing expert to inspect the damage and verify that it is due to an accident. Accidental roof damage can result from a storm ripping out the entire roof or part of it. It could also be due to a tree falling on the roof.

The best practice is to always check your roof after exposure to weather conditions that can damage it. The process does not have to cost you. There are roofing companies that will inspect your roof for free and give you an estimate for the repairs.

2. Document any visible damage

The sooner you find and document any damage to your roof, the bigger the chances of succeeding with your insurance claim. When inspecting the roof, ask that the inspectors take photos and videos of the roof. Whether the roof is damaged or not, you should do this to create a visual history of the property’s roof.

A regular roof inspection is a must if you want to make the evidence clear and compelling. Avoid waiting until there is a storm before you inspect the roof of your rental property. Besides your routine property inspections, we recommend you to schedule roof inspections at regular intervals throughout the year to have a baseline to compare with when you eventually have roof damage.

3. Inform your insurance agent and file the claim

After gathering your proof, contact your insurance agent to inform them of your intentions to file a claim. The agent will walk you through the steps for submitting a claim. Most insurance companies require the same information, but specific aspects of the process will vary depending on the insurer.

The insurance agent will also want to evaluate the situation to determine if it makes sense to file a claim. For instance, if your deductible is almost the same as the restoration cost, the agent may advise you against filing a claim. But your insurance agent can only recommend; the final decision still rests with you.

4. Meet with the insurance adjuster

After you send the documents to your provider, the insurance company adjuster will contact you to schedule a visit to your property. The visit aims to conduct an in-depth inspection of the roof to see if the actual cause of damage agrees with the evidence you submitted in your claim.

It is advisable to have your roof contractor present during this inspection. Your roof contractor knows the history of your roof and is in a position to deal with any questions or objections the insurance adjuster might raise. With the roofing contractor on site, the chances of success are higher.

Do not commence roof repairs until you complete this aspect of the claim. You should leave the damaged roof in its original condition – undisturbed – to give the adjuster an accurate view of the event that caused the damage. Tampering with the roof may result in a denied claim.

5. Approval and roof repair

If your claim is approved, the company will inform you and send you multiple checks to cover the cost of restoring the roof. Note that the funds will not be available immediately, and you may have to pay for repairs out of pocket and then wait for reimbursement by your insurer.

Finally, depending on the details of your insurance policy, you will get one of the following payouts:

  • A cash value payout: The cost of the roof will be depreciated, which means you will not get enough money to buy a new roof.
  • Replacement value payout: The cost of the roof will not be depreciated, meaning you will get enough money to buy a new roof.