Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Roof coverage

Who Cares How Old My Roof Is?

   When quoting a home, one of the first questions we ask is, "How old is your roof?" Often the response is, "Why does it matter?" 

Why does it matter?

Roofing and foundation are the start and finish of your home. If one of them is damaged, the rest of the house is in danger as well. This is why insurance carriers are interested. If your roof is in poor shape, the chances of a claim are greater. Which is exactly what carriers want to avoid. Insurance is there to make you whole again in the case of a loss. But carriers do not want to have to pay claims. They will (if the loss is covered), but it costs them more money than you have paid them. So it isn't very cost effective for their bottom line. And trust me, while they are providing a very needed and valuable service, profit is a priority.

Why does it seem to be an issue in Texas?

   In Texas, we have storms, many, many storms. Texas has the most volatile weather of any state. We have wind, hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, even a few earthquakes! Your roof is the first line of defense for a home during a storm. It is the first part damaged, which leads to damage for the rest of the home. It is a huge risk to insure.
   Most carriers will send out inspectors to look at the home they are insuring. This is a business practice. They are not trying to find a reason to not insure your home. They are making sure your home is a risk they are willing to cover. Since they are the ones paying out thousands, possible hundreds of thousands, they do get to decide if they want to insure the risk. This inspection is not the same as the pre-sale inspection. I have seen the carrier inspection come back with a very different view of the home than the pre-sale inspection. The carrier's inspector results are the ones the carrier will use. The two inspections have different goals. The pre-sale inspector is there to evaluate the condition of the home for move in. The carrier's inspector is there to evaluate the RISK involved in insuring the home.  The most common issues found are fences and the roof. Thankfully, most carriers will give the insured 30-45 days to get the issue fixed or find another insurance policy. But if you don't repair the issue, you will most likely run into the same problem with the next carrier. 

Who decides if the risk is worth insuring?

   Sometimes, we run into customers who want to debate whether the carrier is right or not. I want to get this point across to the consumers out there. You can argue all you want. But in the end, it is the carrier who will have to cover the cost of replacing your roof or any other claim. They have the final decision as to whether or not they want to insure a risk. 
   This can be so frustrating to both the insured and the agent. Our goal, as agents, is to keep you insured. Your goal, as consumers, is to stay insured. We both need the carriers if we are to maintain our goals. Since they set the rules and guidelines, we are subject to those rules and guidelines. 

Who watches the carriers?

   The carriers are not out there setting whatever limits and premiums they want. Insurance is one of the most regulated industries. Each state has a Department of Insurance that governs what the carriers can and cannot charge, cover and pay out. So again- you can debate all you want, but the rules and guidelines are set long before you buy your insurance. The gray area lies in the hands of the carrier as to whether they will insure a risk. Now, whether they will pay a claim once they have agreed to insure your home is a different story (and a different post). 

When shopping for home insurance...

   When you are shopping for home insurance, be honest with your agent. Tell him/her about your claims history and the age and condition of the home. This will help the agent place you in the correct policy from the start. Different carriers allow different levels of risk. Some will require a different deductible amount if your roof is over 10 years old. Some will require a higher deductible for an older roof. Give your agent all of the details so he can offer you the most suitable choices. And if you recieve a cancelation notice because of conditions of your home, take it seriously. Either get it fixed or get with your agent and see if he/she can find you a different policy!

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