Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A storm damaged several trees on my property, one of which fell on my roof. The insurance company would only pay for the tree that fell on the house. They said that I was responsible for removing the other fallen trees and it would not be covered. Is this correct?

Most insurance policies cover damaged structures to your property. You have two types of structures, 1) Main Dwelling and 2) Detached. The main dwelling structure is the part of your property where people living at the property reside in. Detached structures include anything that is not attached to your house. This could include a pool, shed, detached garage, fence, etc. If a tree falls on your property and doesn’t damage your main dwelling or detached structures, typically they will not pay for removal of that tree. Thus, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to remove the tree and it’s parts off their property.


I have an old roof and I has been having water problems in the past, but recently a strong storm passed through and now the level of water intrusion inside my house has significantly increased. Will my insurance company cover the latest problems?

Potentially, dependent upon the source of the issue. If you have a roof that has extended past its lifecycle, then the “wear and tear” exclusions on most policies would prevent them from covering any internal or external damage caused by a roofing systems that is at the end of its lifecycle. The subsequent water damage in your home may not be covered, but it is always good to have a seasoned professional look at the damage because it could be other underlying issues. At Presidential Construction, we work on hundreds of insurance claims yearly so we know the in’s and out’s of the insurance industry, which may be the difference in getting the damage at your property covered.


I looked at my roof and it appears that there is nothing wrong.

The common misperception of storm damage to a roof is that the damage is substantial. A lot of storm damage to a roofing system is typically not visible to the untrained eye. For instance, most hail marks on a roof are very difficult to find, but if left unattended issues like granular loss and broken matting over the years could potentially compromise your roofing system, leading to internal problems.


Do I need to involve a roofing contractor in the claim process?

A roofing contractor is not required to file a claim, but it is beneficial if you have a trained professional on site to meet with your adjuster so you get a fair assessment of the damage and nothing is overlooked at your property.


How do I know if I have hail damage?

When roofs are damaged by a hailstorm, it usually isn’t obvious. In the case of most hail damaged roofs; the roofing system appears to be undisturbed from the ground, but in fact areas damaged by hail break the matting of the shingles and cause granular loss. If left unrepaired, there is a potential chance that over an extended amount of time, the roofing system can fail. This could cause water protrusion into the interior of your home or building.


Are building code upgrades covered in my insurance claim?

This is dependent on if code upgrades are warranted. As years pass, cities update or implement new building codes. Many older and some new homes are outdated with the most up to date city code requirements.


What is (ACV) actual cost value and (RCV) replacement cost value?

When your property is damaged, insurance companies pay two different ways for the losses. Actual cash value (ACV) is the fair market value for the damages, or what the current value of your damage is, including depreciation. Alternatively, replacement cost value (RCV) is the cost to replace damaged property with like, kind and quality. Replacement cost value will always be higher then actual cost value, but insurance companies typically pay out the ACV dollar amount first.

Insurance claims compensate you on the actual cash value basis first because the current value of your property, lets take a roof for example, has depreciated x amount of years since new shingles were put on. Insurance companies only pay you for what they are currently worth the moment after the damages happen to the property.

Replacement cost value policies offer more protection to the insured. This is the cost to fully replace the damaged item. For example, if the shingles on your roof have a 40 year lifespan and are 20 years old, the insurance company will depreciate them 50%. If it hypothetically costs $18,000 to put new shingles of the same like, kind and quality on the house, the actual cash value of those shingles would be $9,000. The RCV covers the difference between the ACV and the amount of depreciation. This ensures that the shingles can be replaced without having to spend money extra money out-of-pocket. Even if you have an RCV policy, insurance companies will still reimburse you first with the ACV amount.

If you have a replacement cost value policy, the insurance company will only pay the depreciated dollar amount after the work has been completed for each item. So in the instance of the roof above that was depreciated $9,000 dollars, that amount would be issued as another check after the roof was reshingled.

It is important to know how your insurance policy will reimburse you in the event of a loss.


What is depreciation? How is it calculated?

Your dwelling and the contents on your property – such as your roof, siding and fence – typically reduce in value over time from wear and tear. The loss in value of these items is called depreciation.

Depreciation is calculated by looking at each damaged item, assessing a typical lifespan, then determining at what stage of the lifespan that item is at. It is up to the merit of the adjuster to determine the depreciation.

For example, if the shingles on your roof have a 40-year lifespan and are 20 years old, the insurance company will depreciate them 50%. If it hypothetically costs $18,000 to put new shingles of the same like, kind and quality on the house, the shingles depreciated $9,000.


Why does the insurance estimate say that there are more shingles to replace then remove?

The reason insurance companies pay to replace more shingles then replace is due to a waste factor that is associated with each roof. When you replace a roof, you need more shingles then the actual square footage of your roof. This is because items like valleys and facets on your roof require the shingle to be cut. These shingles that are cut typically cannot be reused and are thrown away. In order to ensure that your roof can be fully reshingled, additional square footage of shingles are required. Each house or building gets assigned a waste factor. The level of complexity on the roof determines this waste factor.


Why is my mortgage company name listed on the checks from my insurance company?

If you still own have a mortgage on your house, the insurance company will typically put your mortgage company on your checks to ensure that you fix these items. The mortgage company still partially owns your property, so they are sometimes involved in the claim process. Most of the time, you will have to mail that check to the mortgage company for them to endorse it. Typically, before they send it back, they require some paperwork to be completed.