Determining if a certain issue is covered by insurance is a somewhat common theme among homeowners today, and a good example area here is the roof. Whether you’re looking at roof repairs or even a replacement for significant roof damage, you’ll likely be wondering whether insurance (typically homeowners’ insurance) will cover some or all of the costs involved.
At The Roof Doctor, we’re happy to assist with a wide range of residential roofing needs, including everything from repairs and replacements to simple inspections — and we’ve helped many clients deal with insurance companies in the past. A professional roof repair specialist will often play a significant role in this area, helping homeowners “prove” the issues with their roof so that insurance will cover them. Let’s go over everything you need to know here, from some of the factors that will likely determine whether your roof is covered to how you should approach these situations to give yourself the best chance of coverage.
Homeowners’ Insurance and Common Roof Coverage
In many situations, homeowners’ insurance will cover some or all of your roof damage — but only if such damage is part of your coverage. There are several different formats that homeowners’ insurance can take, but a common one is called an “open perils” policy. This means that your insurance covers any type of damage that’s not specifically excluded from your policy.
When it comes to roof damage, these exclusions are typically things like wear and tear, deterioration, or insect infestation. Here are some examples of roof damage causes that are typically, though not always, covered by insurance:
- Weight-based damage: Whether due to snow, ice, wind, or other weather-related factors, a significant amount of roof damage can be caused by the elements. When these lead to heavy leaks or even the structure of the roof becoming compromised, homeowners’ insurance can often help.
- Fire: Damage from a fire is another common reason that homeowners’ insurance covers roof repairs and replacements.
- Hail: Hail can cause significant damage to roofs, often leaving behind dents, cracks, and other visible signs. In many cases, this damage will be covered by homeowners’ insurance.
- Flooding: If your home is damaged as a result of flooding, your roof may be one of the areas affected. In most cases, this type of damage will be covered by insurance.
- Natural disasters: Things like hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes can all cause damage to roofs. In most cases, this type of damage is covered by insurance. Lightning strikes are also usually covered here.
Now, depending on your specific coverage, the extent of the damage and the deductible you may need to pay, not all of these causes will be covered in full. For example, a policy may have a $1,000 deductible for roof damage. If your roof is damaged in a storm and the repairs cost $10,000, you would only receive $9,000 from the insurance company.
Age of the Roof
The age of your roof is an important factor that will often play a role here. During a home inspection, insurance adjusters make note of roof age and quality — if a roof is over a certain age, it must pass inspection in order for homeowners’ insurance to cover any damage. In many cases, roofs that are older than 10 years will not be covered.
This is because the older a roof gets, the more likely it is to experience problems like leaks and water damage. If your roof is in bad shape, even if the damage is from a covered cause, your insurance company may not pay for the repairs.
Frequency of Issues
Another area that may impact your coverage is the frequency with which certain issues take place. For instance, while hail and windstorm-related damage will usually be covered, those who live in states like Kansas or Oklahoma may have to pay more for this form of coverage — this is because these states are known for having more severe hail and windstorms.
In the same vein, if you’ve filed multiple claims in a short period of time, your insurance company may not be as likely to cover future damage. This is because they may see you as being a high-risk customer.
Damage Types Usually Not Covered
On the flip side, there are a few forms of damage where it’s rare that homeowners; insurance will cover them. These include:
- Pest or squirrel damage: If your roof is damaged as a result of an infestation by pests or squirrels, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to file a claim.
- Ice dams: Ice dams are a common problem in the winter, and they can often cause leaks in the roof. However, homeowners’ insurance typically doesn’t cover this type of damage.
- Cosmetic or aesthetic issues: If your roof is in good shape but you simply don’t like the color or style, these types of damages are usually not covered.
- General wear-and-tear: Finally, any type of damage that’s due to general wear-and-tear is usually not covered by homeowners’ insurance. This includes things like shingles that are starting to come off or rust on the metal roof.
Role of a Roofing Professional
If you plan to be looking into insurance coverage for any roofing repairs, it’s always a good idea to talk to a roofing professional. They can give you an idea of the condition of your roof and whether or not you’re likely to experience problems in the near future. They can also help you determine whether or not any damage is covered by insurance.
Furthermore, having proof of repairs or other roofing work that’s been done in the past can be helpful when filing a claim. Often, homeowners’ insurance will only cover damage if it’s been deemed necessary by a professional. Having a roofing professional’s stamp of approval may help your case.
For more on insurance coverage for any roofing issues your home is experiencing, or to learn about our roof repair or installation services, speak to the team at The Roof Doctor today.