Getting A New Roof

I’ve mentioned several times that we need to replace our roof.  We had planned to do it ourselves, but the more we thought about it, the more we decided that might not be such a great idea.  One of the slopes of our roof is steep and two stories up, with nothing but the glass of our greenhouse and our picket fence under it.  The other three sections of our roof aren’t bad, but that one is pretty rough.  So we started talking about hiring a roofer.

We talked with a neighbor who had his roof replaced last fall, and he mentioned that his homeowners insurance paid for it.  We were surprised, because his roof had been in even worse shape than ours – we assumed that insurance would only pay to replace a roof that was in relatively good shape when it was damaged.

We called our American Family agent, and he confirmed that they would send an adjuster out look at our roof, and noted that there had been a major windstorm here last December, and a huge hailstorm four years ago (I remember that our garden got flattened in that storm).  They came out twice in the last week, once to evaluate damage from the windstorm, and then yesterday to check for hail damage.  They ran their numbers, subtracted depreciation (to account for the fact that the roof was old to begin with) and are sending us a check.  For $2200!!

We got estimates from two roofers, both of whom have been in business for quite a while and have A+ ratings with the BBB.  The less expensive estimate is $5300, which includes new 5 inch seamless gutters and downspouts.  With the $2200 from American Family, we will be able to pay for the new roof without dipping into our emergency fund, which is a huge plus.

Since I’ve been known to rant about companies that have annoyed me, I wanted to balance that out by giving a big shout out to American Family.  I never expected them to give us such a big amount, considering how old our roof was to begin with.  Obviously we’re thrilled with the payout.  But beyond that, everyone we talked with at American Family was fantastic.  Our agent explained that we would not lose our claim-free discount if we filed a claim because of wind or hail, and got everything going for us.  The claims reps and adjusters we worked with bent over backwards to make the process easy and fast.  We have our cars, home, and liability umbrella with American Family, and have been with them ever since we bought our house.  This is the first time we’ve ever had any interaction beyond basic additions and subtractions to the policies, and we are thoroughly impressed.

We’ll be scheduling the roof replacement very soon, and are excited to finally be getting it done.  We’ve been doing all sorts of other (much smaller!) home improvement projects over the last couple weeks – update coming soon.

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  1. Juli Adams says

    Please Please Please look into the “depreciation” it is not what it seems to be. I am a Hurricane Ike victim and have found that the Insurance use that term to let us think it is to compensate for age, it is not. It is fully reimbursed at the completion of the repair regardless of the age. I would have missed it and who knows how many others down here who heard mumbled words about age from the adjusters and thought the same as you stated above in your blog. If you check the State Board of Insurance site for your state you will find this info as it pertains to your location. Love your blog, look forward to it and hope I can help you out with this info. Good Luck.

  2. FrugalBabe says

    Julie – Thanks for the comment, and you’re right about depreciation. The adjusters were actually very clear on how it works, and explained that after the work is completed, we can submit the receipts to get reimbursed for the depreciated amount. BUT this only applies if the repairs are done within a year of the damage. We had very little damage from the windstorm in December (17 missing shingles) but very extensive damage from the hailstorm in 2005. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that we had so much damage until now. Since it’s been four years, we’re only eligible for the depreciated amount.
    My explanation of the depreciation wasn’t clear, but that was my mistake. American Family was very clear about the whole thing from the start.
    I hope that your recovery from Ike is complete – sorry you had to go through that!

  3. Juli says

    That is really great that you were informed, it has been such a different story down here. But we are excited, we are finally getting our roof replaced next week, the interior damage has not been fully paid yet still going through that issue, it has been almost 6 months and I had no idea the ordeal this would be, having never filed a claim before. If only more of the companies would be more upfront about everything it would help so much. Lets hope the mother nature will be kinder and gentler this year!

  4. lolgator says

    American Family rates as an excellent company. Unfortunately, they do not write any policies in my state. In fact, State Farm is leaving here also on the homeowners insurance side. Fortunately for us, my wife is a teacher, and we can get Horace Mann Insurance. It’s half the price of State Farm and a good company.

  5. aj says

    Wow! I discovered your site from Thrifty Chicks and this article is just what I needed! We need to replace our roof also and I have been so worried about how we are going to pay for it. We just recently had the worst wind storm I ever remember and it really did a number on our roof. We have lived in our house for 5 years, but I am not sure how old the roof is…but I didn’t even think of checking with insurance about it. I really don’t know how much of the damaged shingles was recent and what was before…but thanks for opening my eyes and letting me know that there is a possibility to recover some of the cost from our homeowners insurance!

  6. says

    I’ve been thinking of the same thing. Replacing a roof is not that easy, and you can’t say that it’s not hassle free. Good thing you have an insurance company that pays for all your roofing needs.

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