What to do if I I had hail damage to my roof so it now leaks but my insurer insists that the roof is just old and needs to be replaced so it won’t honor my claim?

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What to do if I I had hail damage to my roof so it now leaks but my insurer insists that the roof is just old and needs to be replaced so it won’t honor my claim?

My roof is leaking, so I called my insurance company of 2 years, the same amount of time I’ve own my home. The insurance adjuster told me my roof was shot, however the inspector (from when I bought the house) told me that I had another 5 years left on the roof. The first consultation with the insurance company was that it would pay for patchwork but not to replace the roof. I called out a construction company to see how much it would cost me to have the it replaced since I wasn’t going chance more leaks, The construction company told me I had hail damage. To make my story short, the insurance company said the damage was old and they would not be able to cover it. Do I have a case?

Asked on June 28, 2015 under Insurance Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You may have a case, but if you sue your insurer for breach of contract (for not honoring their obligation to pay for you damage), you'll need to have solid expert witness testimony (E.g. from a top-notch, experienced roofing contractor and/or an independent adjuster with experience with issues like this) to prove that the roof was not old and that the damage is from the hail. You'll have to prove in court that the insurance company is wrong and you're right, and since the burden of proof (as the party suing) would be on you, you have to more--not just equally--persuasive than the insurer.

Don't put too much stock in what your home inspector said--he probably didn't actually go up on the roof did he, or look at things closely, but rather probably "inspected" it visually from the ground or a deck...at least that's what mine did. Home inspectors miss a lot.


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