Thursday, August 18

Surprise Roofing Deductibles Appear in Homeowner’s Policies

If you haven’t checked out your homeowner’s policy within the last six months, you may be in for a less-than-pleasant surprise from a potentially expensive new deductible sneaking it’s way into many policies.Most homeowners write one deductible into their policy, set anywhere from 250$ to $1,000 depending on how much the homeowner is willing to pay. However, homeowners who request insurance quotes are finding out that many large insurance providers are slipping in a new deductible for hail, wind, and other types of damage that seems to be particularly focused on conditions that can damage roofs.

Unfortunately, these deductibles aren’t set dollar amounts, and they aren’t determined by homeowners. They’re set by large companies like Farmers, Allstate and State Farm and they deduct a percentage of your home’s value. These deductibles may be as low as 5% even in hurricane prone areas, but that can add up depending on the total value of your house.

The recent severe hurricanes have had a significant impact on this policy. Hurricane Ike blasted through nine states in 2008, inflicting the fourth-highest property damage cost in US history, even before calculating losses for flood damage.

Hurricane Katrina cost insurers even more, racking in a total of $41 billion in damages in 2005. After so many major storms, many insurers saw the need to adjust in order to avoid such extraordinary losses during severe weather.

Several companies still offer flat deductibles, like Safeco’s single $1,000 deductible that covers roof damage. The Hartford seems to offer an identical program, but it includes an unusual depreciation program that starts as soon as you claim roof damage. The value of your roof will depreciate by 3% every year after you make a claim, so if after only 5 years, the value would have been depreciated by 15%, and that amount would be added added onto the $1,000 deductible.

“Your roofing company professional should be your first phone call after a storm because they know the parameters of the insurance company requirements for replacing your roof due to storm damage and he can tell you, at no charge to you and without making a claim against your insurance company, if you really do have a claim for hail damage or not.” says Matthew Rock, Owner of Rock’s Roofing, Inc.Check your homeowner’s policy regularly to avoid being surprised by hidden deductibles during storm season.

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