Home Improvements That May Not Save You Money On Home Insurance
Bear in mind that not every home improvement that was made during your latest remodeling project will result in homeowners insurance savings. In fact, certain renovations like adding a room onto your home, remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, and finishing your basement will all increase your homes replacement cost. A higher replacement cost will likely result in higher policy premiums, but you should still notify your insurer of any renovations or additions to ensure your home is fully covered.
Do You Want To Exclude Wind And Hail
Usually homeowners want good and broad coverage for their homes. But wind and hail is a different ballgame in many states. Insurers pass along the costs of past wind and hail claims to current homeowners. You may be able to choose to exclude wind and hail from coverage in the interest of saving money.
For example, in Florida, State Farm offers these choices:
- Keep the wind and hail coverage offered in the homeowners policy.
- Exclude wind and hail damage from coverage in order to save money.
- Take a separate, higher deductible for wind and hail damage from hurricanes in order to save money.
Should You Stay Loyal Or Shop Around
Insurers often give discounts to customers who have been clients with them for a few years, especially those without any claims. Still, getting another quote for home insurance cant hurt, especially if your premium keeps rising. Obtain quotes from an aggregator site, like Ratehub.ca or work with a broker, who can also offer tips on how to save on home insurance.Brokers shop different companies for you, and youre dealing with just one person, says Lo. Im able to look at other companies year after year to see if theres something better, and if it makes sense to switch.
What will this service cost you? Nothing. Brokers receive a commission from the insurer you choose. One caveat: If you cancel a home insurance policy early, youll likely have to pay a penalty fee.
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Types Of Roof Damage Covered By Homeowners Insurance
The dwelling coverage portion of your homeowners insurance covers the house structure, including the roof.
Types of roof damage covered by your insurance will depend on the policys terms and the reasons your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. Typically, a policy covers problems that are sudden or accidental, and caused by certain events such as wind, fire, hail or the weight of snow.
Insurance for partial damage. In some cases, the lifespan of the roof is shortened because of damage. Your insurer may cover the cost to replace the entire roof even if its only partially damaged. For example, if a homeowner has asphalt shingles damaged by hail strikes, an adjuster would count how many strikes occurred in a section to determine the impact on the lifespan of the roof. If there are enough strikes, the roof lifespan is substantially impacted and it needs to be replaced.
Even if a roof isnt taking in water right now, the erosion or strikes compromise the lifespan of the roof. This means a roof will never last as long as it should have lasted otherwise, therefore it should be replaced, Steve Severaid, senior vice president & treasurer with The Greenspan Company/Adjusters International.
Insurance for matching issues. If the materials to fix your roof are unavailable, your insurance company may have to replace the entire roof. For example, if you have slate tile that you cant get any more, you may have to replace the entire roof to ensure materials match.
Getting Reimbursed For A New Roof
The first step to having your insurance company pay for a new roof is to submit a claim. The insurance company may send out an adjuster to inspect your roof and make an assessment of the claim. Before the adjuster comes out, its important to gather your documents, including a copy of your homes insurance policy. Note the date of the damage and take photos. If you cant reach your roof and document take photos yourself, call a roofing company for an inspection. And if youve had previous repair work done make sure to provide those receipts as well. All of this will be necessary for the claims process.
After youve submitted your roof insurance claim, find a trustworthy roofing company to perform a roofing inspection. They can look for damage and make a report for your insurance company. Even if the insurance company sends out their inspector, its important to hire an outside roofing contractor to give yourself the best chance to have your claim approved. Remember, you still have to pay your policy deductible if your claim gets approved.
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Research Roofing Companies And Hire The Most Reputable
After you submit your roof insurance claim, seek out a reputable roofing company with insurance claims experience to perform a roofing inspection. They can look for damage and compile a report for your insurance agency. If you dont hire professionals for the inspection, your insurance company may pay someone to inspect the roof on their behalf. Because this third-party inspector represents the insurance agency, they may try to find any reason to deny your claim. However, by taking charge and hiring your own inspectors, you give yourself the best chance to get your insurance to pay for your roof repairs.
But how should you choose a roofing company?
First, look for a company that provides both roof replacement and roof installation services for the most common roofing materials in Florida, including shingle, tile, and metal roofing. A reputable roofing company should also have a website and Google My Business page with reviews from other customers.
Make sure the roofers you choose have experience in dealing with insurance claims, as this will make it easier for them to communicate with your insurance agency and offer proof that your claim is valid.
A reputable roofing company will replace your roof correctlywithout causing more damage or charging you an unreasonable amount. If you choose roofers with a poor reputation, then your future insurance claims could actually be denied due to improper previous installations.
How Roof Coverage Works
Of all the parts of your home, the roof arguably has the most direct exposure to the elements. For northern climates, there is the weight of heavy snow and hail or ice storms. In the Midwest, tornados and cyclones are also common problems. In tropical climates, there is the potential for gales and hurricane-force winds.
Not only can Mother Nature do direct damage, but she can also trigger other sorts of havoclike a violent windstorm that topples a tree onto your roof. There may be wildfires. Or there could be more unlikely incidents, like something crashing down on the roof from abovelike debris from an explosion or aircraft.
Happily, the roof is an integral part of the structure of your home, and so the dwelling coverage section of your homeowners insurance policy typically protects you from such perils. Damage and destruction from such events qualify the homeowner for a total or partial replacement of the roof.
Coverage is often curtailed for roofs that are over 20 years oldthey may only be insured for their actual cash value, not for their current replacement cost.
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Electrical Plumbing And Hvac Updates Qualify
Discounts are not limited to new roofs. Your old home also may be eligible for a fire perils rate cut if a licensed contractor brought your electrical service up to code in the past 14 years. The project must include replacing the service panel, switches, wiring and fixtures or replacing the furnace and central air conditioning .
Meanwhile, a new plumbing discount may apply if a licensed plumber installed new water lines and plumbing fixtures within the past 15 years. Carriers often require copies of permits and inspection reports to verify that improvements met all building codes.
How To Reduce Home Insurance Costs With Renovations
As a homeowner, you have the power to make changes to your residence, be it in a house or condo. While some home renovations, like upgrading your kitchen or installing a pool, can increase the price of your home insurance, there are a few that can help reduce your monthly premium. Here is a list of 10 home renovations aimed at helping you save money on your home insurance.
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Raise The Roof Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Rates
If you’re a homeowner with an insurance plan to protect your finances and home from weather damage, theft and fire, you probably want to save all you can on your rate. While you can save money by bundling your homeowners and auto insurance with one provider, you might not know how to reduce this rate even more.
Rates through the roofMinor home improvements like new smoke detectors or an alarm system can knock off a small amount on your monthly insurance payments as well, but the big savings come in the form of major updates. To insurance companies, your home’s roof can pose one of the biggest financial threats.
Between debris from major storms, including wind, rain, hail, snow and hurricanes, your roof can withstand a lot. However, older roofs that haven’t been updated with newer, stronger materials are more likely to be blown off or damaged in a storm. When this happens, your home is more susceptible to other areas of damage and you are more likely to file a larger claim. As a result, your homeowners insurance could be significantly higher because of your home’s roof materials.
Insurance companies rate roof materials by Class, ranking them on a scale of one through four, with Class 4 considered to be the sturdiest. When you upgrade to sturdier materials for a tougher roof, your insurance provider may require a test to prove it. In addition to saving money on your insurance premium, you could also be eligible for a tax deduction by doing this upgrade.
Look For Private Insurance If You Are In A Government Plan
If you live in a high-risk area — say, one that is especially vulnerable to coastal storms, fires, or crime — and have been buying your homeowners insurance through a government plan, you should check with an insurance agent or company representative or contact your state department of insurance for the names of companies that might be interested in your business. You may find that there are steps you can take that would allow you to buy insurance at a lower price in the private market.
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Having A Swimming Pool Hot Tub Or Outdoor Spa
These nice-to-have features will increase your home insurance rates because you’ll need additional liability coverage in case someone is injured, according to Ruiz.
Most homeowner policies include a minimum of $100,000 of liability protection. The Insurance Information Institute recommends pool owners increase their liability amount to $300,000 or $500,000. This will add between $50 and $75 per year to your home insurance bill.
And the Insurance Information Institute suggests homeowners with swimming pools and other special features, such as spas, consider an umbrella policy to provide additional protection in the event someone gets injured on your property and decides to sue. A $1 million umbrella policy costs between $200 and $300 per year.
Insurers charge less than 1% extra for homes with a pool, so it’s a minor increase to your overall rates. However, make sure you have enough liability coverage so you’re protected.
Document The Damage And Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you determine that your roofs damage is covered under your homeowners insurance , the next step is to document the damage. Take plenty of photosnot only of the outside damage, but also of the interior of your home. If you have a tall enough ladder, and feel safe doing so, carefully climb it to take photos, or you can use a drone with a camera, which would be an even safer method. However, if you cant assess all the damage safely, call an experienced roofing company for an inspectionyoure better off safe than sorry.
Note the date of the damage, as well. If your roof was damaged by a storm, such as a tornado or hurricane, find articles online matching the date of these damaging events to back up your claim.
After that, check your insurance companys website for information about how to submit a claim. Many policies require the homeowner to file their claim within a certain time frame after the event. Youll want to know the protocol for your insurance company, as your claim may be denied if you wait too long.
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Roof Requirements For Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners insurance providers may closely inspect your roof’s condition before offering or continuing home insurance coverages. Roof insurability depends on various factors, such as:
- Age: The age of your roof and insurance coverage go hand in hand. A newer roof may mean a lower rate. A roof that’s 20 years old or more may be ineligible for coverage or only be covered for its actual cash value.
- Condition: Insurance companies are looking for roofs that are in good condition with no visible signs of wear or tear.
- Material: A slate roof is considered more stable and may earn you a lower rate. A wooden roof isn’t fire-resistant and poses a risk, resulting in a higher rate or may make you ineligible for a policy.
- Shape: Gable roofs and hip roofs are the two most common roof types. Their different designs affect their susceptibility to damage, and therefore impact the cost to insure them. Hip roofs tend to perform better during windstorms and discounts may be available in coastal areas.
You can select your roof material and shape during the quote processmaking it easy to see how your roof type affects your insurance price. Some roofs may not be eligible for a policy based on the age and material. If it qualifies you would then be able to purchase a policy. Once you have a policy the insurance company will often inspect the property to ensure the age and condition of the roof actually qualifies.
How Do I Avoid Roof Scams
Fraudulent contractors often take advantage of homeowners after an area has been hit by severe storms. A typical roof repair scam involves a contractor who demands payment up front and often takes off with the cash. If they do the work, its usually shoddy, incomplete and substandard materials.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau says to be aware of contractors who insist on up-front payment before they begin work or offer lowball bids that come in much lower than other contractors. They may even offer a special hurricane deal or say theyll rebate your home insurance deductible.
If your roof is damaged after a storm, its a good idea to coordinate with your insurance company and get more than one estimate from licensed and insured contractors. Make sure you get a signed contract before the work begins that specifies the cost, time schedule and any other expectations.
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Why You Can Trust Bankrate
Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make smart financial choices. Weve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that were putting your interests first. All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and reviewed by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and worthy of your trust.
Our insurance team is composed of agents, data analysts, and customers like you. They focus on the points consumers care about most price, customer service, policy features and savings opportunities so you can feel confident about which provider is right for you.
- We guide you throughout your search and help you understand your coverage options.
- We provide up-to-date, reliable market information to help you make confident decisions.
- We reduce industry jargon so you get the clearest form of information possible.
All providers discussed on our site are vetted based on the value they provide. And we constantly review our criteria to ensure were putting accuracy first.
What Shape Is My Roof
If youre not sure what the shape of your roof is, simply walk around the outside of your house and look at the roof line . Compare what you see with these most common roof shapes.
In southwest Florida cities like Fort Myers and Cape Coral, the two most common roof shapes are the Gable and the Hip roofs. If you see one or more sides which have a triangular shape , then its typically a gable roof. If your roof is pointed and the edge of the roof is parallel to the ground, then its a hip roof.
Even if your house isnt shaped like a rectangle, these roof shapes still apply. For example, if your house is shaped like an L or a T when viewing it from above, and your house has slopes on every side like a Hip roof, then you have a Hip roof.If you have a triangular shape on one or more sides, then you have a Gable roof.
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Understand Your Insurance Coverage
Knowledge is power. Dont let your insurance company tell you whats covered and what isnt.
Most of us dont read the fine print of the policy until something goes wrong. Now is the time to do that. If you dont have a copy of the policy, a common problem, request one from your agent. A paper copy or electronic file should be made available promptly.
In most states, there are two types of coverage: Repair coverage and replacement coverage.
Replacement policies are more common, though they do cost more. Replacement coverage provides for returning the roof to a brand-new condition when an event that is covered by the insurance policy takes place.
Repair coverage usually takes into consideration depreciation of the roof. This means you will get a percentage of the replacement cost based on the roofs material and age. It could be as low as 15% for a roof near the end of its service life.
Read your policy carefully. If the language is confusing, ask questions.
We recommend you talk to:
- Your agent if you have a good relationship with the person and trust them, they should be able to honestly and clearly explain your coverage. Thats their job.
- A roofing contractor with good experience dealing with insurance claims. Call two or three pros, tell them your issue, and ask for some advice.
Many roofers will offer a fair evaluation of your policy because they understand that giving homeowners a few minutes of their time is a proven way to get more business.