Are Roofs Covered Under Home Insurance?
A typical insurance policy for all-hazard homeowners covers your roof and the cost of replacing it if it gets damaged. That is the good news here. But usually, only if the damage or destruction results from a sudden accident or act of nature will you be covered. Problems arising from general wear and tear or from a roof that has exceeded its intended life span are not eligible for reimbursement because they are the responsibility of the homeowner for general maintenance.
- Most insurance policies for homeowners cover roof replacement if the damage is the result of an act of nature or a sudden accident.
- Most insurance policies for homeowners will not pay to replace or repair a roof that is progressively deteriorating due to wear-and-tear or neglect.
- Roofs over 20 years old often have limited, if any, coverage.
- To ensure your claim is approved, keep records of repairs, before-and-after images, and inspection reports. When damage occurs, notify your insurance company promptly.
How Roof Coverage Works
The roof arguably has the most direct exposure to the elements of all the parts of your home. The weight of heavy snow and hail or ice storms is present in northern climates. Tornados and cyclones are common problems in the Midwest as well. There is the potential for gales and hurricane-force winds in tropical climates.
Mother Nature can not only do direct damage, but she can also cause other kinds of havoc, such as a violent windstorm that topples a tree on your roof. Wildfires may be there. Or more unlikely events, such as something crashing down from above on the roof, such as debris from an explosion or aircraft, might occur.
Fortunately, the roof is an integral part of your home structure, and so your homeowners insurance policy's dwelling coverage section typically protects you from such dangers. Damage and destruction resulting from such events qualify the owner of the home for a total or partial roof replacement.
IMPORTANT: For roofs over 20 years old, coverage is often curtailed; they can only be insured for their actual cash value, not for their current replacement cost.
Of course, before your coverage kicks in, you'll still have to pay your policy deductible. Some policies, particularly those written in certain high-risk states, impose a higher deductible for hurricane or hailstorm damage. Additional coverage, or a separate windstorm insurance policy, is often required for residents in those areas wishing to protect their property. Of course, it can also be bought by anybody who wants extra protection or a higher degree of coverage.
Special Considerations for Roof Coverage
If a dramatic event causes dramatic damage, the roof crashes, has a significant hole, or is completely torn off, coverage is likely. Instances where the damage is less dramatic, even if an act of nature caused it, are more problematic. Let's say a violent thunderstorm nicks up a bunch of the shingles of your roof. The insurance company may classify, and not cover, this as cosmetic damage. Or let's say that you notice your roof has become leaky after the aforementioned storm. Although the rains triggered it, the insurance company could claim that it is a general wear-and-tear issue that reflects the gradual deterioration of your roof, which is never covered.
Ironically, under the all-perils section of your policy, any water damage caused to your walls, floors, or furniture by the leaking roof would probably be covered. It would not, however, be the roof repair itself.
Preventing Roof Problems
It is the responsibility of the owner of the property to properly care for their roof and maintain it, and to be aware of the life span of various materials that can range from 15 to 100 years. Homeowners can take other steps, such as hiring licensed experts to perform regular inspections, to help protect their roof. In the hope of gaining future business, many roofing companies will inspect a roof for free (just don't be surprised if they find a lot of problems).
Make sure that your roof is debris-free and does not hold or collect water. It is appropriate to trim back any trees that touch or hang over the roof. Always check your roof after a big storm or a long snowy spell, to see how the shingles and gutters are doing. See that your home and roof are up to the current building codes if you live in wind-prone regions.
Getting Reimbursed for Roof Replacement
Age isn't a friend on your roof. Unless it is made of a material with famous longevity, such as slate, every year a roof depreciates; many insurers will not cover those over a quarter-century old. Improper maintenance or neglect, the use of certain costly roofing materials (such as cedar or recycled shake shingles), or roofs with more than two layers of roofing material could be other possible policy exclusions.
The first step is to call them out for an inspection in order to give yourself the best chance of having your insurance company pay for a roof. Gather as many documents as you can before they arrive, including a copy of your current home insurance policy, any home inspection reports, receipts for any repair work you have done, and pictures of any damage that has happened. (Since shots before and after are always helpful, taking photos of your roof when it's healthy is a good idea.) In the claims process, everything will be helpful. To inspect the damage and offer their own assessment, the insurance company will send out an adjuster.
Tips to Save on New Roof Costs
Depending on the roofing material used, the average price range for a roof replacement may run from $260 to $700 per square foot. For asphalt shingle repair, someone might be able to help you out for as little as $150 to $350 per square foot. For metal roofs, for tile and metal roof repair, expect between $ 350 and $ 1,000. Here are some tips on how your repair and replacement costs can be minimized:
- Do your research: Before talking to a Atlanta Roof Contractor, know the size and complexity of your roof and the exact materials you want to have installed.
- Shop around: Get quotes from several roofers and, before hiring someone, always request and check local references. Be careful of extremely low bids, which could mean subpar work, and ensure that roofers offer a material and installation warranty.
- Time it right: In late summer and fall, roofers are most busy. In late winter or spring, scheduling your roof replacement may yield lower prices or off-season discounts.
- Do it yourself (or some of it): Consider doing part of the job yourself. Removing old roofing before the installer arrives could help cut costs if you have the time, the proper equipment, and a stomach for heights.
- Consider an overlay: An overlay involves the installation on top of existing ones of new shingles. Overlays require fewer hours of labor and cost less than a full replacement because the old roofing stays put. An overlay may, however, void or shorten the warranty of the manufacturer for roofing materials. Due to increased labor and job waste, overlays also typically boost future replacement costs.