Many homeowners wonder whether their insurance company will cover the expense of a roof replacement. It depends on the type of homeowner’s insurance and the circumstance that caused the roof damage.
Most policies allow for a roof replacement, and others cover major roof repairs. However, not all roof damage is covered by your insurance. Most policies will pay if the damage results from an act of nature. But if your roof is old or requires constant maintenance and repair, standard homeowners insurance may not step in to reimburse roof replacement.
How Roof Coverage Works
Roofs are built to withstand the elements for years. But over time, some roofs develop cracks and weaken, leading to leaks and other damage. It is costly to replace or repair a roof, and homeowner’s insurance generally covers major roof repairs. However, each company may define a major repair differently. A repair could be anything from minor patchwork to a complete roof replacement.
If your roof has experienced severe damage and the cost of repairs would be equal to or exceed 50% of your home’s value, you may want to consider a replacement. Policies typically require an inspection by a contractor. Still, the company may choose to replace the roof without inspecting it if you have sustained other damage through a storm, fire, or wind.
If your roof is old or damaged by constant wear and tear, you will probably be liable for the expenses. Standard homeowner’s insurance is concerned with covered perils only. Roofs are not included as standard coverage. Most standard policies require that the insured pay a portion of the cost of repairs.
Damages Covered by Insurance
Some examples of covered hazards that commonly damage or destroy roofs include:
- Fires and smoke
- Earth movement
- Lightning strikes
Causes of Insurance Claim Denial
If a covered peril has damaged your roof and the damage is not considered an act of nature, your insurance company may deny the claim. Here are some reasons why your claim might be denied:
1. The Roof Is Too Old
If your roof is old and damaged by wear and tear or poor construction, you may have to fund the bill for a replacement. Standard policies do not cover materials that fail from age, exposure, or lack of maintenance. Insurance companies typically refuse to cover roofs that are older than 20 years. However, if the roof is older than 20 years and has recently passed a home inspection or if it was damaged before the inspection, then the company may approve a claim.
2. Your Roofing Material Isn’t Covered
If your material is considered substandard and high-risk, such as wood shingles, you may be denied coverage. Your claim may also be denied if the company determines that the coverage applies to a material that is not common, such as copper or clay tiles.
3. Homeowner Is at Fault
If the homeowner is at fault for causing the damage to the roof, then the insurance company may deny coverage. Most policies don’t cover damages caused by homeowners or their careless actions and negligence.
4. The Damage Type Isn’t Covered
If the damages to your roof were caused by a hazard not listed as covered or excluded in your policy, such as skylights or chimneys, the claim would likely be denied. If the cause of your roof damage is due to a safe or non-dangerous condition that does not qualify as an insured peril, you may be able to file a claim. Common exclusions include hail, wind, or water damage. Some policies might have certain exceptions that disqualify coverage under certain circumstances. Therefore, read your policy carefully to determine if the damage is covered or not.
Preventing Roof Damage
A properly maintained roof can help to avoid costly repairs. To keep your roof in its best condition and ensure it protects you from outside elements, you should consider the following maintenance.
1. Schedule Annual Inspections by a Professional
Before you determine that your roof replacement would exceed the cost of a new roof, it’s important to get your roof inspected. Check to see if any areas are visibly damaged and see if you can locate any missing shingles or damage to the roof.
2. Keep Gutters Clean
Clean your gutter to prevent clogs from leaves and other waste.
3. Prune Nearby Trees
Use a ladder to clear the branches of the tree that are in contact with the roof. It will help prevent branches from falling on the roof and causing damage to the structure. Tree branches rubbing against the roof for a long time will displace shingles and deteriorate the roof surface.
Getting Reimbursed for a New Roof
You could file a claim with your insurance company if you were forced to install a new roof. For insurance to pay for a new roof, you’ll want to do the following:
1. Hire a Professional to Make Temporary Repairs
If your roof is replaced, your insurance company will not consider it damaged. You should hire a contractor to repair the roof to get a claim approved.
2. Document the Damage
Take pictures before and after the damages to document the extent. Keep all the receipts and invoices from the contractor and send the pictures and paperwork to the insurance company.
3. File a Claim
You can do this through an agent, online, or by mail. Once your insurance company receives your documentation, it should issue a claim number and begin the process of approving or denying your claim. If the company denies your claim, it should provide you with an explanation as to why.
4. Schedule an Appointment With Your Insurance Adjuster
After the insurance company agrees to your claim, it will send an adjuster to assess your damages. Make sure that you have all the correct information ready for the adjuster. The adjuster may want to list all the damages and ask more details about why you need a new roof.
Tips to Save on New Roof Costs
New roofs often come with a high price tag. However, you can minimize your repair costs by doing the following:
1. Do Your Research
Research the type of roofing materials that are available in your area. If you decide that a new roof is the best option, get quotes from at least three contractors to compare prices and services.
2. Shop Around
There are many different roofing contractors in your area, and each one offers a variety of services and prices. Compare quotes from several roofers before you settle on one. Ensure that these quotes include all necessary components your new roof needs, including flashing, guttering, skylights, and ventilation system adjustments.
3. Do Some of It Yourself
If you’re not interested in a new roof, there are plenty of ways to save on costs. Contractors may be willing to fix a few minor issues without replacing the entire roof. If you have the time, consider doing part of the work yourself.
4. Consider an Overlay
An overlay is the best choice for those who are financially strapped. Overlays are added to the original roof, extending its life and significantly lowering your monthly expenses. However, they may shorten the manufacturer’s warranty on roofing materials and increase future replacement costs.
Installing a new roof requires the knowledge and expertise of a certified roofer. If you don’t have the time, talent, or resources to replace your roof, consider hiring a professional by contacting ProTek Roofing, Heating & Air today. We offer installations, repairs, maintenance, and replacement of roofs in Tampa and the surrounding neighborhoods. We offer the best warranty, and our dedicated team of professionals will help determine how we can best serve your needs. Contact us for any HVAC needs as well.