We Had a Recent Hail Storm. Should I Use My Insurance To Fix My Roof or Pay Out of Pocket?

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Welcome to Ask Clark, a column designed to answer your financial questions, by money expert Clark Howard.

A Hail Storm Damaged My Roof. Should I Use Insurance or Pay Out of Pocket?

Justin from Illinois asks: “We had a recent hail storm in my area, and roofers are knocking on my door to inspect and repair roofs in my neighborhood. I don’t have any major damage, but they tell me insurance will pay for a whole new roof. Should I use my insurance to fix my roof or pay out of pocket?”

Clark’s Take on Whether You Should File an Insurance Claim To Fix Hail Damage

Clark says: Beware of dishonest roofing companies and others who try to get you to cheat your insurance company by filing a fraudulent claim.

“These dishonest people involved in saying, ‘Get a free roof, It’s gonna cost you nothing. Your insurance company’s gonna pay. We’re just gonna write it up and say it was because of hail,'” are going to end up costing policy holders big money, he says.

“This is unethical, dishonest, dirty, crooked and will demolish the ability for us to buy adequate homeowners’ insurance at a reasonable price,” Clark says.

In Florida for instance, Clark says rampant insurance fraud has led to people who have never made a claim before having their policies canceled or suffering massive escalations in premiums.

“I hate if this becomes a plague around the country with these roofers cheating the insurance companies by telling you, ‘There’s a free lunch.’ It’s not a free lunch!”

In any case, Clark recommends paying out of pocket if the bill comes to less than your deductible plus $500. This is especially true for car insurance, but the principle holds for homeowners’ policies as well. Let’s look at an example:

  • If you have a $1,500 deductible, you would file a claim only when the bill exceeds $2,000.
  • If your deductible is $2,000, any repair bill more than $2,500 would call for an insurance claim.

Here’s why Clark says you should be careful with insurance claims.

To hear Clark’s full take on this question, listen to the segment:

Do you have a question for Clark? Use this form to ask him! And remember that you can listen to the Clark Howard Podcast at any time here.

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If you have a question but don’t want to go on-air, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center for free money help.

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