(That could mean thousands more back in your pocket!)
I own a roofing company in the Atlanta area and I see claims on a daily basis. Sometimes a homeowner learns too late that their policy didn’t fully cover them. Here are my home insurance tips for making the most of your homeowner’s policy, as seen through the eyes of someone who you’ll need to call on to make those repairs:
You want a RCV policy.
This stands for “Replacement Cost Value”. The alternative is an “ACV – Actual Cash Value” policy. Simply put, if you ever file a claim, you want them to pay to fully replace things, not just pay for what the item is worth after all the years of wear and tear. (Also known as depreciation.) This is a big deal. If a wind storm flips back some of your shingles, your insurance company could pay to fully replace your roof. Roofs aren’t cheap, and an ACV policy could mean the difference of $5,000 or more out of your pocket, instead of just a deductible payment. Add other weather related damages from that same storm to your gutters, siding, etc., and you’re looking at some hefty expenses. This is the most important item on my list of home insurance tips.
You want a Low Deductible.
“Low” in this case is $1,000. It puts you in that threshold where you could handle small repairs without making a claim, but protects you when it comes to larger repairs. Insurance companies are a business, and one way we’ve seen them creep up is with their default deductibles, often without a homeowner realizing. Many major providers are moving away from a standard $1,000 deductible (or other increments of $500) to a percentage of value model. This is happening with new policies, and even with renewals, where this major detail is hidden within the print without any type of indication making it clear.
Case in point? I caught this 3 pages into my no-action-needed renewal paperwork. It jumped my deductible from $1,000 to nearly $3,000. Do you know what the difference was to put my deductible back at $1000? $14. (Yes, fourteen dollars.) Tricky, tricky! Obviously, I gladly paid that $14.
You want Code Upgrades.
Code upgrades. This little endorsement could pay hundreds or more. It covers you in the event you have added expenses because of new code regulations. In roofing, this comes into play with drip edge especially. (It’s a metal edging that wasn’t required in Georgia prior to 2014, but it has to be installed on all roof replacements now.) Drip edge averages around $500 on a typical job. In the past, most homeowners had this coverage, but things seem to be changing. (I was told years ago that people were getting their electrical systems upgraded with this loophole!)
Talk to your neighbors. Ask your neighbors about their experiences with their insurance companies. Some companies are more lenient in approving damage and have easier claims processes. Cheap premiums are great, but they are only as good as the company’s reputation in paying claims when you actually use all that insurance you have purchased. With a little research, you can find the best of both worlds.
Education and knowledge is everything – especially when it comes to your wallet!
I hope these Home Insurance Tips have been helpful! If you’re in the Atlanta area and need a roofer, give us a call at 770-624-1009 or check out out online at www.totalproroofing.com