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Attorneys in Sioux Falls, SD

Does Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Only Cover Functional Damage?

It is important for homeowners to know whether their insurance policy covers only “functional damage” to their roof. To illustrate why, consider the following:

After a hailstorm, a homeowner decides to have the roof inspected by a roofer. The roofer tells the homeowner that the shingles are all still there, but they were still damaged by hail and will need to be replaced. The homeowner makes a claim with the insurance company. As is customary, the insurer conducts its own inspection of the roof as part of the claim handling process. The insurer then tells the homeowner that the claim is denied because the roof did not sustain “functional damage.”

 If this happens, it is important for the homeowner to request a copy of the insurance policy that was in effect at the time of the storm, as well as any reports that the insurance company has with regard to its investigation of the roof. Some insurance policies contain provisions, called endorsements, that limit the coverage for damage to roofs that is caused by hail and wind.

 Generally speaking, most homeowners’ insurance policies cover “physical damage” or “physical loss” to the home. More recently, however, insurers have started to add language to the policy that narrows the coverage off the roof so that the policy only covers hail and wind damage to the roof if the damage is considered “functional.” And “functional damage” can be defined as “damage that affects the water-shedding capability of the roof.”

 As you can see, whether hail damage is covered under an insurance policy can depend on whether the insurance policy’s coverage has been narrowed, or limited, to only cover “functional damage.” When there is such a limitation, however, there are other issues that might affect the outcome of the claim, such as whether the “functional damage” requirement applies only to the metal components of the roof.

 Unfortunately, many homeowners will not fully realize this issue until after the hailstorm occurred and the claim has been made. And if you find yourself in this situation, or if you simply have questions, our dedicated lawyers will talk with you, free of charge, to see if they can assist you with your claim.

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