Roof Information & Tips for REALTORS® | Guest Post

September 3, 2020

REALTORS®, once you have a listing or are working on behalf of a buyer, I suggest you call the jurisdiction where the home resides and find out the last time a roof permit was passed for the property. If it has been over 10 years since a new roof was installed, consider having the roof evaluated before setting the sales price of the home if you are a listing agent. Some insurance companies are not insuring homes with roofs over 10 years old. The buyer’s insurance company will be calling to see the last time a roof permit was pulled and also pulling the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) to check past claims on property.

If you are a buyer’s agent, make sure the insurance company who is quoting the premium for your buyer knows the number of layers of roofing, type of roof and age of roof. Just because a roof is certifiable against leaks and general condition, does not mean all insurance companies will cover it. I see post-sale of home insurance policy cancellations because the insurance company does not inspect the roof until after ownership changes hands. Once the insurance company inspects the actual roof, it can trigger cancellation if the roof is not replaced.

Remember, insurance is for catastrophes and is not a home maintenance policy. The insurance company wants to reduce the chances the roof will be storm damaged with a new policy.

Please note the following are not covered by insurance:

  • Old age
  • Manufacturer defect
  • Mechanical defect
  • Poor installation
  • Too many layers
  • Poor ventilation

Always ask the home inspector to perform a thorough attic inspection, as many leaks start very small and it can take over a year to show up on the ceiling as a stain. Any roof leaks need to be disclosed to the roof inspection company prior as a roof can look good, but something small can be causing a leak.

REALTORS®​, when a local hail storm occurs you can reach out to your past clients, friends, family and neighbors with a public service announcement. Please educate the public. You are a valuable resource to your database. You can provide your clients with contractors you trust. Roof Brokers performs free hail checks to verify there is storm damage.

Do be aware not all roof door knockers have your best interest in mind. Their goal is to get you to call the 1-800 claim number, which is not a good idea until someone you can trust has verified the damage. Some of the roof companies that door knock are legitimate, but many door knockers come in from other states (trouble with warranty issues) and many are not legitimate, preying on seniors and those not savvy with how insurance claims work.

I have heard many sad stories where the roof company collects the first check from the insurance company and is never seen again. Or the roof company installs the roof but never pays the material supplier and that supplier puts a lien on the home. Substandard materials being used or not pulling a permit. Some roof companies knocking doors will pretend to be with your insurance company and ask you to sign something before they get on your roof, it could obligate to use them to be your roofer. The insurance company is NOT going to just show up until you have called in a claim and they have arranged a date with you. Avoid being taken advantage of, call your insurance agent for advice or call a local roof inspection company, like Roof Brokers for a free roof inspection to make sure there is hail or wind damage before calling the insurance companies 1-800 claim number.

Once you call in the claim you can not reverse it even if there is no storm damage, but you may have triggered a cancellation if the roof is too old or other reasons it needs replacement not storm-related.

Most wind damage can be repaired for less than the deductible, so why get the hit against your C.L.U.E. if you are going to have to pay out of pocket anyway? Avoid having your C.L.U.E. report damaged, several zero pay claims can affect your insurance credit score negatively and lead to higher premiums and in some cases cancellation. With all the changes to how roofs are covered by insurance in Colorado, ask your clients to ask their insurance agent specifically "how much would I be out of pocket if I need to replace my roof due to hail damage?" 

Some insurance companies now require specific endorsements in regards to the roof. For example, without a “marring” endorsement on a metal roof, the dents can be deemed cosmetic damage and not covered. You might need to have a special endorsement for “Ordinance of Law” for building code changes to be covered when the roof is replaced. As another example, a mandatory building code re-deck may not be covered and could add thousands to your client's out-of-pocket expense. Some homes owners learn they only Actual Cash Value (ACV), which deducts depreciation. ACV + depreciation = Replacement Cost Value (RCV). Or they learn they have a percent deductible of the home's value.

Keep in mind, most insurance companies now give you six months to a year to turn in the claim from the storm date and have the work completed. So, even if your client’s roof has hail damage they may not get it covered if the hail is more than a couple years old. Many roofs from last year’s storms have not been replaced yet. We find hail from last year every week. Once you have had the hail damage verified by Roof Brokers, the best time to turn in a claim is while the “CAT Teams” (out of state catastrophe teams) are here. CAT adjusters follow very different rules than local adjusters. Local adjusters get paid a flat fee regardless of the outcome and have to show in diagrams and photos a specific number of hail hits per 100 square feet. A CAT adjuster gets paid a percentage of dollars totaled and we have seen them total roofs that a local adjuster would not have been able to total based on the rules.

If you do need a new roof:

  • Make sure you comply with your HOA.
  • Keep your warranty and read the warranty transfer instructions.
  • Your warranty can be a valuable selling tool in the future and if you do have a manufacturer defect you can get a new roof without cost in many cases.
  • Ask your insurance company for a new roof discount. 
  • If you installed an I.R. Class 4 (Impact Resistant Shingle) ask the insurance company for an additional and separate discount for installing the I.R. roof shingle.

Please email me with any questions.

Angela Grunst

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent those of the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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