Q: I have a metal roof on my house. My insurance company approved replacement of the roof due to “cosmetic reasons,” small dents, not because it is damaged structurally. They sent me a check for 50 percent of the replacement amount. They told me that when the replacement was done, I’d get the other half and had to replace it within a year or I’d lose the balance.
Other roofers, say the roof is structural sound, even with the dings. But, there is need to replace the fascia. If I live with the cosmetic damage, complete the minor repairs, what is my legal and ethical responsibility for the balance remaining of the “initial 50 percent”, already paid to me?
One Realtor told me, I may suffer, when I decide to sell the home because of the dings. Others tell me that the dings are minor and I shouldn’t worry. What do you think?
A: Go ahead and replace the roof. Presumably your roof was damaged during a hail storm and has been dented up. While you may feel that the issue is cosmetic, the insurance company clearly believes that the damage is sufficient to warrant the full replacement.
When you go to sell the home, you may find that buyers of the home don’t like the dings in the roof and they may discount the purchase price in an amount of a full roof replacement. They might discount the price in any case and still ask you to replace the roof. You might be better off getting that issue off the table and getting the repair done.
While you can keep the money and not use it to repair the roof, you’ve had an insurance policy on your home. Now that your home has been damaged, the insurance company has evaluated your claim and is settling it by giving you the choice. You can keep half the money and end up with a damaged roof or have the roof replaced. In my mind, your choice should be to fix the roof.
I think the Realtor that gave you the advice that future buyers may consider the roof defective is sound advice. One other thing to consider is whether the roofer or the Realtor tells you whether the life of the roof would remain the same with the dings. Was the metal roof compromised in any way?
Based on the possible uncertainty and the current real estate market and the possibility that the real estate market could be flat for some time to come, you don’t need a roof problem when it comes time to sell. Those dings will only look worse over time as the roof ages.
You may live in an area of the country where metal roofs are standard, and if they are, buyers will probably want to see that the roof is in good conditions and without all the dings. If you live in a part of the country where metal roofs are uncommon, a buyer will be more skeptical about the condition of the roof and the dings. Either way, this would be the time to fix the roof and any other portion of the roof or fascia of the home.