Will my home insurance cover roof replacement?

24 Dec

The answer to the question “does insurance cover roof replacement,” is not always clear cut. In most cases, it will depend on the reason that your roof needs to be replaced. 

If your roof has simply reached the end of its life, the cost to replace it will fall to you. On the other hand, if it is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril, your insurance will likely cover the cost of a new one, but there can be restrictions. 

When will insurance replace a roof?

In most cases, your insurer will pay to repair or replace your roof if it is damaged by a covered peril. While covered perils can vary by insurance company, most insurers will cover the following perils:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm and hail
  • Explosions
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge/overflow of water
  • Sudden tearing/cracking of appliances
  • Freezing
  • Power surges

When it comes to roof damage, most insurers lump it into two categories, damage that is covered, and wear and tear which is never covered. As an example, if your roof is leaking due to hail, a tree branch falling on it, or any other covered peril, your insurer should cover the damage, up to your coverage limits.

However, if the damage is caused by a lack of maintenance, the age of the roof or something other than a covered peril, the cost to repair or replace your roof will fall to you. Unfortunately, roofs can be very expensive which is why it is important to properly maintain your roof.

The age of the roof matters

The age of the roof will often come into play when an insurer is setting a premium or deciding whether to offer coverage. If a roof is over a certain age, 25 years is fairly standard, an insurer may refuse to cover the roof or only offer actual cash value on the roof. 

Actual cash value takes deprecation into account when setting a value for your roof. As an example, if your roof is 10-years old when it is destroyed the payout may be $7,000 but if your roof was 20-years old at the time the check may only be for $3,500. Once a roof is over 25 years of age, an insurer may be reluctant to offer coverage at all.

Maintaining your roof

A properly maintained roof can last for 30 years or more depending on the material. Here are a few tips on how to maintain your roof:

  • Have it inspected: Having your roof inspected on a regular basis is essential to keeping your roof in good working order. Finding issues quickly and getting them fixed before they turn into something more serious will help extend the life of your roof. 
  • Keep trees pruned: Tree branches falling onto the roof can cause plenty of damage to the roof and if the tree is big enough, it could damage the structure of your home. Prune back trees near your home to avoid roof damage. In most cases, this should be done by a professional.
  • Clean your gutters: Debris filled gutters can cause overflowing which puts water on the roof which can eventually lead to a leak. The issue doesn’t go away in winter as clogged gutters can lead to ice dams which can do major damage to a roof. Keeping your gutters clean is an excellent way to keep your roof in good shape.

How much does a roof cost?

A roof can be very expensive, with the average roof replacement costing $8,000 according to Forbes but the cost can easily range up to $11,000 or more. If you are in need of a new roof, check with friends and family for recommendations as well as read reviews online of any company you are considering. 

Always verify that any roofer you are using is fully licensed, boded and insured. It is also a good idea to consider the roofing materials you will be using for your new roof. Different materials have different lifespans, as well as different costs. Depending on where you live, some roofing materials might not work so always check with a contractor or other roofing professional. Here are a few roofing types to consider:

  • Copper
  • Slate   
  • Concrete        
  • Clay    
  • Asphalt           
  • Fiber cement shingles          
  • Wood  

Some states have restrictions

When it comes to roof damage, some states require homeowner insurance policies to have a separate wind and hail section which only covers damage that is done by wind or hail. These policies typically have a separate deductible that kicks in for damage that is done by wind or hail.

While a standard homeowners insurance deductible typically ranges from $500 to $1,500, a wind and hail deductible can either be a flat rate deductible or a percentage deductible. A percentage deductible means that you pay a percentage of the total coverage you are carrying. As an example, if your home is insured for $300,000 and the windstorm section of your policy comes with a 3 percent deductible, you will be on the hook for $9,000 of new roof costs. Deductibles range from 1% to 5%.

Windstorm coverage varies by state, with many states not requiring a separate deductible while others (typically states that experience frequent severe weather) will require separate wind and hail coverage. North Carolina,

South Carolina, Texas, and Florida are examples of states that have a separate windstorm deductible. 

Helpful Articles on Wind and Hail Insurance Coverage:

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