What does homeowners insurance cover and not cover when it comes to your roof?
Your house is one of your biggest investments. All the time and money you’ve spent making your house a home can be wiped out in a matter of minutes. That’s why you have homeowners insurance.
Whether it’s theft, an unfortunate accident, or catastrophic weather event, it’s important to make sure you’re covered when disaster strikes. But when it comes to roof damage, the lines can get a little blurry.
We’re here to break it down for you.
What Is Roofing Insurance and When Can You Use It?
Roofing insurance is part of your homeowners insurance and covers your roof in cases where it is damaged to the point that it needs major repair or even replacement.
This can include roof damage caused by reasons outside of the homeowner’s control, such as a fire or vandalism. Damage from extreme weather or “acts of God” including hurricanes and tornadoes are also usually covered. Along the same lines, roof damage caused by general weather incidents such as hail, wind and rain are often covered by your home insurance policy.
That’s the easy part: If the damage was caused by an unavoidable event, you’re usually covered. But when it comes to avoidable events, it’s not so clear.
Beware the Fine Print
Not all homeowners roofing insurance covers all roofing needs. There are many other factors at play. For example, if you have an older roof, say more than 20 years old, insurance companies generally consider those roofs to be past their life expectancy and could choose to reimburse only a portion of any repairs or replacement, or nothing at all.
Other possible policy exclusions, according to AngiesList, could include improper maintenance or neglect, the use of certain, expensive roofing materials (like slate or recycled shake shingles), or roofs with more than two layers of roofing material. Even your home’s geographic location can affect whether an insurer will cover a roof claim.
“Insurers are trying to limit liability for all types of roof claims for wind or hail or anything other than fire. The only way they can do that is by changing types of coverage. Here in Colorado we’re seeing wooden shake endorsements, and what some companies are doing is only insuring them on an actual cash value basis, meaning that those roofs are only covered for what they’re worth at the time instead of for the cost of replacement,” Scott deLuise, president of Matrix Business Consulting in Broomfield, Colorado told Insurance.com.
The best way to determine what is covered is to speak with your insurance provider about your particular policy.
Signs of Damage That May Indicate You Need a Roof Replacement
According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, homeowners should perform a regular roof inspection twice a year, in the spring and fall to diagnose potential problems early. Homeowners should also inspect their roof after any major storm or weather event. Here’s what you should be looking for:
- Shingles: Look for old or worn out shingles that are curled, buckled or split. Make note any missing shingles.
- Gutters: Make sure gutters are clear and not overflowing. Also, inspect gutters and downspouts for any granules from your shingles—a sure sign of roof decay.
- Water Damage: Soft sections on the roof could indicate water damage. Indoors, look for cracked paint, discolored plasterboard and peeling wallpaper as signs of damaged roof areas. Also, check the insulation in the attic: if it’s soggy, there could be a leak.
- Flashing: Check the flashing around vents, skylights and chimney seals to ensure there are no cracks or breaks that could let rain or moisture in.
- Venting: Make sure all sources of roof ventilation are open and not blocked off. Without proper ventilation, heat and moisture can build up in the attic and lead to rot, buckled shingles and ineffective insulation.
Why It’s Important To Fix The Problem ASAP
No matter the cause, it’s important to fix even minor roofing issues right away. Catching a leak early can save you time and money.
The safety and integrity of your entire home is dependent on a good, strong roof. Even minor roof damage can make your home vulnerable to water damage, mold, and pest infestations—all of which can lead to expensive repairs and maintenance costs down the line and shorten the overall life of your roof.
Not to mention, your roof plays a huge role in a home’s weatherproofing and insulation system. Without a strong roof, a home loses a great deal of efficiency when it comes to heating and air conditioning.
Finally, a compromised roof can thwart your ability to sell your house quickly, particularly in a hot “sellers” market like Washington, D.C. “According to the 2016 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, only 19 percent of buyers were willing to compromise on the condition of the home. Major repairs, such as a new roof or updated water heater, may be necessary to attract a buyer,” writes RisMedia.com.
Tips for Filing a Roofing Insurance Claim
To begin the process, call your insurance company so that they can inspect your roof to determine if damage has occurred. They can then give you an estimate for your roofing insurance claim.
Also, be sure to gather up as many documents as you can before you call your insurance company. A copy of your current home insurance policy, any home inspection reports, receipts for any repair work you’ve done (especially major repairs, roof work, etc.), before-and-after photos of any damage that has occurred, are all helpful in easing up the claims process.
The insurance company will then send out an adjuster to inspect the damage and offer their own assessment and determine the amount the insurance company will cover.
Other Financing Options
There are other financing options for repairing and replacing your roof, including, obviously, cash. Another option is company financing. Long Roofing has secure and convenient financing that fits every homeowner’s budget with multiple payment options, including online payment.
Thinking about a new roof? Give us a call
Need your roof looked over (and maybe even replaced)? Call the roofers you can trust to bring you peace of mind. Contact Long Roofing at 1-800-417-5664 to get a price, schedule a free, in-home consultation or find answers to any home roofing questions.