When the roof of a commercial property is damaged, it can make for costly repairs and the potential loss of business depending on the extent of the damage. Roofing systems are a major investment for business owners, making any damage they sustain incredibly frustrating. Before the unexpected can happen, ensure your business insurance provider covers any potential roof damage.
Depending on the type of damage sustained to the roof of a commercial property, insurance carriers may cover some or all of the claim. There are damages, however, that will not be covered by your business insurance policy.
Damages Not Covered by Insurance
There are a variety of scenarios that would make a claim for damages unlikely to be covered by an insurance policy, including:
Leak and Water Damage
Water damage including leaks is only covered if the damage was caused by a covered event. For instance, if a hailstorm damaged your roof, which resulted in a leak, that damage would be covered. Insurance policies will generally not cover water damage to a roof if hail or wind damage is not covered by the existing policy, if a leak develops over time due to gradual wear and tear, or if the roof has not been properly maintained.
A roof damage claim may not be covered if the roof is too old. In most cases, “old” means 20 years or older, which accounts for the lifespan of most shingle roofs. The roof of a commercial building can also be deemed too old if one of the lower layers is 20 years old and a new layer was added to it rather than having the whole roof replaced.
Damage Caused By Property Owner
If the property owner damages their own roof, the claim will likely not be covered under their insurance policy. Property owner damage can occur in the form of water damage due to wear and tear or attempting to self-repair the roof and only damaging it further.
Financially Risky Materials
Certain roofing materials that are either highly expensive or can be easily damaged are likely not covered by insurance. Materials like wood burn easily and thus may not covered. Expensive metal roofs can be damaged by hail. Slate roofs are incredibly heavy and costly to install, meaning they are likely not to be covered.
While covered perils account for most weather events that will likely cause damage to a building’s roof, several perils are generally excluded, including:
- Earth movement, such as earthquakes, landslides, mudslides, or sinkholes
- Mold and mildew, except in certain instances
- Pest infestation
- Sewer backup
- War or government action
- Nuclear leak or explosion
Roof Damage Claims Process
Filing a roof insurance claim can be stressful for property owners. Familiarizing yourself with what to expect when filing your claim can help mitigate this frustration. The most common steps involved in the claims process include:
Have your property inspected to find out if there is damage to your roof and how severe.
File Insurance Claim
Once the damage has been assessed, the business owner should take the appropriate steps to file a claim with the insurance company.
Estimate Roof Services
The insurance company will send an adjuster out to inspect your roof and estimate what the cost of repairs or replacement.
If the insurance company approves your claim for damages, a roofing company can then repair the damage.
Commercial property damage can be incredibly devastating for both building owners and their tenants. Commercial property insurance may be costly, but it is crucial – and in many cases required – to protect the livelihood of the business. And we expect insurance carriers to keep their word.
Insurance companies can deny, delay, or underestimate the value of your commercial property damage claim. If the property’s roof has sustained damage covered by the current policy, but the insurance company won’t pay the claim, it may be in the best interest of the business owner to enlist the help of an experienced insurance coverage attorney.
Commercial Property Damage Attorneys
Damage done to the roof of a business can be detrimental to ongoing day-to-day operations. At Raizner Slania LLP, we understand this frustration and that dealing with a commercial property damage claim can hurt the livelihood of the business. If you or someone you know is being denied coverage for a valid insurance claim, contact the attorneys at Raizner Slania LLP today to discuss your needs.