How to Know If Your Roof Is Covered Under Your Insurance
Are you wondering if your roof is covered under your homeowner’s insurance? Here is everything you need to know about roofing and insurance.
Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. Keeping your house, family, and belongings safe and in good condition starts with making sure your roof is intact and equipped to weather the elements.
But what happens when your roof takes damage? Will your homeowners’ insurance cover it or will you have to pay out of pocket? Here’s what every homeowner needs to know.
When Your Homeowners Insurance Covers Your Roof
Standard home insurance policies offer generous coverage for roofs and roofing projects. You can expect your insurance policy to pay for repairs or replacement if your roof is damaged by:
- Storms or other extreme weather
- Other covered perils
Most accidents and weather damage are thus covered under common homeowners’ policies.
Importantly, your policy may require that you pay a deductible out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. So, for example, if the deductible on your policy is $1,000 and your roof takes $15,000 worth of damage, you would have to pay the first $1,000 in repairs before your insurance paid the remaining $14,000.
Other People’s Insurance
In some cases, a third party may be responsible for damage to your roof. When that happens, your insurance company might require that the responsible party’s insurance pay for damages rather than paying out on your policy.
For instance, perhaps your neighbor sets off fireworks over the Fourth of July. Some of the fireworks land on your roof and cause serious damage. Since your neighbor was acting recklessly and is at fault for the damage, your insurance company would likely insist that your neighbor’s homeowner’s policy pay your roof repair costs.
In general, however, you can rest assured that your insurance will cover any accidental or incidental damage your roof takes.
What Your Insurance Might Not Cover
There are some types of damage that fall outside of standard homeowners’ insurance coverage. These include:
- Exempt perils
- Wear and tear
- Damage resulting from lack of proper maintenance
- Intentional or reckless damage inflicted by the homeowner
Most insurance policies explicitly exempt certain types of hazards from their coverage. Common exemptions include:
If your roof sustains damage as the result of an excluded peril, your insurance will not cover it unless you have a special rider or other supplemental coverage. In some cases, policies may offer partial coverage. For example, if your home is damaged by an earthquake and fires that resulted from that quake, your policy may pay for fire damage but not other damage your property sustained.
Wear and Tear and Maintenance
As a rule, insurance policies do not pay to repair or replace roofing that deteriorates as the result of normal wear and tear. Such long-term degradation is considered a natural process and it is the homeowner’s responsibility to replace the roof at the end of its functional life.
Likewise, insurers expect that homeowners will make an effort to maintain their homes and keep them in good condition. Damage or deterioration that results from failure to maintain your roof is not covered. This includes damage from:
- Insect or pest infestations
- Water damage
- Rot and mold
Moreover, if other portions of your home sustain damage because you failed to maintain your roof, your insurance may refuse to cover that damage.
Finally, if you intentionally or recklessly damage your roof through inappropriate actions, your insurance will not cover your costs. The same is true if another member of your household, such as a child or spouse, inflicts such damage.
Repair vs Replacement
Insurers will often elect to pay for roofing repairs rather than outright replacement whenever possible. This costs less money and takes less time to complete.
You may qualify for a whole roof replacement if:
- Large portions of your roof are damaged
- The material used on your roof is no longer available or cannot be matched
- Underlying damage requires stripping off and replacing everything for safety
In every case, it is important to have a roofing professional assess the damage to your home so that your insurer can make informed choices about whether to repair or replace your roof.
Maximizing Your Coverage
There are several tips, tricks, and best practices that homeowners can use to get the most out of their insurance when facing a new roof installation or repairs.
- Be proactive
- Respond right away
- Keep documentation
- Involve a professional
When it comes to your roof, being proactive is best. Make a habit of checking your roof once or twice a year and after major storms. Look for problems and repair them right away when you find them.
This ensures that when damage does occur you can prove that it is the result of a storm or other peril rather than any lapse on your part.
Documenting repairs you make to your roof through photos, notes, and receipts can:
- Prove that you are maintaining your home
- Demonstrate that you’ve paid your deductible
- Connect damage to a specific peril
- Help you get the most out of your insurance
While all documentation is valuable, photos and video can be the most important. They provide date and time stamps and objective evidence your insurer can use to validate your claims.
Involve a Professional
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is involve a professional in the care, upkeep, and documentation of your roof’s condition. A roofing professional will be able to:
- Identify and assess the damage accurately
- Effect quality repairs
- Provide invaluable insight into the best course of action
- Provide documentation of your efforts and your roof’s needs
When you suspect damage to your roof, call a professional right away. Even better, make a habit of having your roof inspected periodically to identify preventative maintenance you might have otherwise overlooked.
Talk to a Professional
Maximize your homeowner’s insurance coverage by taking good care of your roof and acting promptly when damage occurs. Request a quote or schedule an inspection today to get an expert assessment of your roofing needs.