On Your Side: Insurance claim may not cover full roof replacement

On Your Side: Insurance claim may not cover full roof replacement

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - Now is the to time to find out whether your homeowner's insurance covers a new roof or just a repair.

We found out some pretty interesting things while looking into a viewer's call following a ceiling collapse and roof complaint in Colonial Heights. Ever heard of a "half" roof replacement? It's more common than you think, and industry experts say it's a point of contention between policy holders and their insurance company.

You're covered under most policies if the unpreventable strikes, like vandals, fire, or a storm.

Cindy Lou Hayhurst says a fallen tree limb during a storm back in 2013 put a gaping hole their roof.  She says their insurer, USAA, opted against total roof replacement and installed a new roof on half the house. Cindy blames the half-roof two years ago for a recent ceiling collapse.

Hayhurst says, "I don't have any words to tell you how I feel. I'm displaced from my home."

USAA is covering the family's hotel stay, meals reimbursement, clean up and restoration work inside, plus a $900 tarp covering the bad roof.

The kicker: Cindy says the adjuster originally approved a total new roof replacement back in 2013, but then someone else from USAA stopped payment on the contractor's check a day before the work was set to start.

"Wilton Construction had all the materials ordered. They were ready to go on Friday.It just doesn't make any sense. They are spending 50 cents to save a quarter," Hayhurst says.

USAA sent a statement that reads in part: "Out of respect for our members' privacy, we don't talk publicly about their insurance business. We communicate directly with them and work through the entire claims process."

Industry experts say the age of the roof at the time of damage is key. Expect to get the depreciated value if it's older than 10 years and normal wear and tear, and maintenance issues are not covered.

Experienced agent Mike Fisher is not associated with the claim or the company. Also not covered, he says, "Water that has seeped in over time where there's mold, mildew, rot or decay... typically, that's excluded."

The Hayhursts say they're upset with how the claim was handled, stopping a project approved three weeks earlier after discovering an adjuster's mistake.

"She didn't have authorization," says Cindy Hayhurst. "Their response is, 'I'm sorry, but we have to correct our mistake.'"

The contractor says USAA asked them to work with the family and help them get a suitable roof.  USAA sent out an independent engineer to verify its findings, which led to the roof claim being denied.

To know what's in your policy and what's covered, talk to your agent now.

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