Yes, house insurance covers roof replacement if the roof is damaged by a covered peril, such as fire, wind, hail, or vandalism. However, house insurance does not cover roof replacement if the roof is old, worn out, or neglected. The amount of coverage and the deductible may vary depending on the age, type, and condition of the roof.
In this article, we will explain how house insurance policies cover roof replacement, what factors affect the coverage, and how to claim for roof replacement.
Coverage of House Insurance Policies
House insurance policies typically include two types of coverage that are relevant for roof replacement: dwelling coverage and roof coverage.
Dwelling coverage is the part of the house insurance policy that covers the physical structure of the house and any attached structures, such as a garage or a porch. Dwelling coverage pays for the repair or replacement of the house and its components if they are damaged by a covered peril. The amount of dwelling coverage is usually based on the replacement cost of the house, which is the amount it would cost to rebuild the house with similar materials and quality at current prices.
Roof coverage is the part of the dwelling coverage that specifically covers the roof of the house. Roof coverage pays for the repair or replacement of the roof if it is damaged by a covered peril. The amount of roof coverage is usually based on the actual cash value of the roof, which is the replacement cost minus depreciation. Depreciation is the loss of value due to age, wear and tear, and obsolescence. Some house insurance policies may offer replacement cost value for the roof, which is the full replacement cost without deducting depreciation. However, this option may have a higher premium and a higher deductible.
The perils covered by house insurance policies vary depending on the type of policy and the insurer. However, some of the most common perils covered by house insurance policies are:
- Fire and smoke
- Wind and hail
- Weight of snow and ice
- Falling objects
These perils are considered sudden and accidental events that cause damage to the roof. House insurance policies usually do not cover damage caused by gradual and predictable events, such as:
- Normal wear and tear
- Aging and deterioration
- Neglect and lack of maintenance
- Animals, insects, and rodents
- Earthquakes and floods
These events are considered the responsibility of the homeowner to prevent or repair. Some of these events may be covered by a separate policy or an endorsement, such as earthquake insurance or flood insurance.
House insurance policies may also have some exclusions that limit or deny coverage for roof replacement. Some of the common exclusions are:
- Cosmetic damage: This is damage that does not affect the function or integrity of the roof, such as dents, scratches, or discoloration. Cosmetic damage is usually not covered by house insurance policies unless it is caused by a covered peril and is accompanied by functional damage.
- Pre-existing damage: This is damage that existed before the policy was purchased or renewed, or before the current claim was filed. Pre-existing damage is usually not covered by house insurance policies unless it is disclosed and accepted by the insurer.
- Intentional damage: This is damage that is caused by the homeowner or someone acting on their behalf, such as setting fire to the roof or damaging it with a tool. Intentional damage is usually not covered by house insurance policies, and may also result in legal consequences.
Factors That Affect Coverage for Roof Replacement
The coverage for roof replacement may vary depending on several factors, such as the age, type, and condition of the roof.
Age of Roof
The age of the roof is one of the most important factors that affect the coverage for roof replacement. Older roofs are more likely to have problems, such as leaks, cracks, or missing shingles, and are more prone to damage from weather and other perils. Older roofs also have lower actual cash value, which means lower coverage and higher deductibles. Some house insurance policies may have an age limit for roof coverage, such as 20 years, after which the roof is not covered at all or only covered for a fraction of its value.
Type of Material
The type of material used for the roof is another factor that affects the coverage for roof replacement. Different materials have different lifespans, costs, and risks. For example, asphalt shingles are the most common and affordable type of roofing material, but they also have the shortest lifespan, ranging from 15 to 30 years. Metal roofs are more durable and resistant to fire and wind, but they also cost more and may be susceptible to denting and rusting. Slate roofs are the most expensive and long-lasting type of roofing material, but they also weigh more and require special installation and maintenance. The type of material may also affect the premium and the deductible of the house insurance policy, depending on the insurer and the location.
Maintenance and Previous Damage
The maintenance and previous damage to the roof are also factors that affect the coverage for roof replacement. A well-maintained roof is less likely to have problems and more likely to be covered by the house insurance policy. A poorly maintained roof, on the other hand, may have issues that are not covered by the policy, such as mold, rot, or algae. Previous damage to the roof may also affect the coverage, especially if it was not repaired properly or reported to the insurer. Previous damage may reduce the actual cash value of the roof, increase the deductible, or void the coverage altogether.
Claiming for Roof Replacement
If the roof of the house is damaged by a covered peril and needs to be replaced, the homeowner should follow these steps to claim for roof replacement:
Filing a Claim
The first step is to file a claim with the house insurance company as soon as possible after the damage occurs. The homeowner should provide the details of the damage, such as the date, time, cause, and extent of the damage, and any photos or videos that show the damage. The homeowner should also keep any receipts or invoices for any emergency repairs that were done to prevent further damage or protect the property.
Working with an Adjuster
The second step is to work with an adjuster from the house insurance company, who will inspect the damage and determine the amount of coverage and the deductible. The adjuster will also check the age, type, and condition of the roof and any exclusions or limitations that may apply. The adjuster may also ask for proof of maintenance and previous damage, such as inspection reports, repair records, or warranty documents. The adjuster will then prepare a written estimate of the cost of repairing or replacing the roof, and the amount that the house insurance company will pay.
The third step is to review the coverage limits and the deductible of the house insurance policy and compare them with the estimate from the adjuster. The coverage limit is the maximum amount that the house insurance company will pay for a claim, and it may vary depending on the type of coverage and the type of peril. The deductible is the amount that the homeowner has to pay out of pocket before the house insurance company pays the rest. The homeowner should make sure that they understand the coverage limit and the deductible, and that they agree with the estimate from the adjuster. If the homeowner disagrees with the estimate, they can negotiate with the adjuster or hire an independent appraiser to get a second opinion.
The final step is to hire a licensed and reputable contractor to replace the roof and pay the deductible and any additional costs that are not covered by the house insurance policy. The homeowner should also keep the receipts and invoices for the roof replacement, and inform the house insurance company when the work is done. The house insurance company will then pay the remaining amount of the claim, according to the estimate and the coverage limit.