Most standard home insurance policies cover roof replacement after sudden and accidental damage due to covered perils. Due to the high cost of roof repair or replacement, some stringent criteria need to be met in order to have your roof covered. These criteria include the age of your roof, the materials used, how well maintained it is and if it is installed properly. For example, most homeowners insurance policies won't replace your roof just because it's in bad shape or old. Your home insurance premium may also be affected by these factors.
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Does home insurance cover roof replacement?
Most home insurance policies cover repair or replacement of your roof due to sudden and accidental damage by perils listed in your policy. Roof replacement can run upwards of $15,000. As such, insurers have hard lines on what they will and will not cover regarding your roof.
What roof damage does home insurance cover?
If your roof is well maintained, a standard home insurance policy will cover the following perils:
- Snow and hail
- Wind and rain
- Falling objects
What roof damage is not covered?
Standard home insurance covers a wide array of damage. However, some exclusions tend to be consistent across most policies:
- Wear and tear: Insurers consider roof maintenance to be a homeowner's responsibility. If roof damage occurs as a result of something you could have taken care of, such as a rotted shingle, they will not cover it.
- Improper installation: If your roof wasn't correctly installed, it can be difficult to assess the exact cause of damage. It's not uncommon for home insurers to exclude poorly installed roofing from their policies.
- Some roofing materials: Due to their replacement cost or protection ability, some roofing material is excluded in a standard homeowners insurance policy. For example, wood shake roofing may not be covered due to its high flammability. Talk with your insurer to find out which roof materials they don't cover.
- Rot, mold and vermin: Damage due to problems such as rot, mold and animals often happens over time. Home insurance only covers sudden and accidental damage, so these perils usually won't be covered.
- Flood and earthquake: Standard home insurance does not cover these perils, but separate insurance policies are often available to provide coverage for them.
- Multi-layered roofs: Roofs made of more than one layer of material are costlier to replace. Also, the weight of a multi-layer roof increases the chance of collapse. Home insurers may have policy exclusions because of this.
Cost factors involving your roof
Certain conditions can affect both your annual home insurance premium and your claim payout. They include:
Actual cash value vs. replacement cost
A key factor regarding your payout amount for a roof replacement claim is whether your home insurance policy payout method is actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost.
ACV is based on the cost of your roof minus depreciation. As your roof ages, its value diminishes. For example, say your roof originally cost $10,000 when it was brand new and had a lifespan of 20 years. After 10 years, you have to file a home insurance claim for roof damage. Due to depreciation, your payout may only be $5,000 — half of the roof's original value. With replacement cost coverage, you would be paid out based on whatever it costs to replace your roof to its original condition.
While replacement cost policies provide better coverage, they also have higher premiums than ACV policies. Despite the price difference, it is highly advised that you choose replacement cost coverage. This could save you a considerable amount of money in the long run.
Cost of roofing materials
Some roofing materials cost significantly more than others, which may affect your annual premium. Asphalt is a popular roofing choice for home insurers because it has a low cost of $100 to $150 per square on average. Asphalt roofing won't usually result in higher premiums. On the other hand, roofing material like tile can run between $150 to $250 a square for concrete and $800 to $1,800 a square for clay. While higher-cost materials may lead to higher rates, overall a high-quality roof will cost less to insure due to the lower chance of making a claim.
Where you live
If you live in an area with a history of extreme weather, it can affect your premium and your coverage. In Oklahoma, for example, you may see higher home insurance costs due to the frequency of tornadoes in the state. Furthermore, many home insurers only offer roof coverage with ACV payout in Oklahoma. Check with your provider to see what region-specific coverage conditions they have.
How to prevent roof damage
The best way to avoid filing a claim for roof replacement is to take preventative measures before the damage happens. While some perils, such as an extreme hailstorm, can only be prevented so much, any mitigation measures can help.
- Leak: Water damage to your roof is a common cause for filing a home insurance claim. Before your area's rainy season starts, check the roofing. Replace any damaged squares you find. Inspect the flashing around your chimney, vents and any skylights as well. Get into the habit of checking your roof after storms. You'll want to take care of any new potential water damage to your roof.
- Hail damage: Having the right roofing materials in the first place is the main way to prevent filing a claim after a hailstorm. If hail damage to your roof is a concern, hire a professional roofer to inspect your roof. Hail can split your shingles and reduce the protective capability of your roof. A pro will be able to find potential weak spots and give you options for mitigation.
- Wind: Many times the worst damage that can be done by the wind to your roof isn't the wind itself, but what it throws onto the roof. Cut back any tree branches near your roof. Dead, heavy branches can punch a hole right through it. Also, check your gutters for leaves after a heavy wind. Clogged gutters can lead to water damage to your roof, as well as your home's foundation.
Additionally, check your roof's ventilation. Properly cared-for ventilation can help make sure shingles stay in place and don't fly off during a windstorm.
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