Your roof is your home’s main line of defense against the elements, so when it comes to roof damage, there’s no getting around the cost of repairs. With winter months ahead, you may be wondering how you can possibly afford the cost of roof replacement.
You pay the high cost of homeowners insurance; will your policy cover the price of a new roof? Insurance companies have an interest in this area of maintenance, since a roof in need of replacement can lead to further damage and bigger claims.
Will Insurance Pay for an Older Roof?
Storm chasers work neighborhoods and talk homeowners into claiming hail damage when they don’t have any. Door-to-door salesmen make fraudulent claims to talk trusting homeowners out of insurance money. Insurers are becoming warier of claims and increasingly restrictive with coverage.
Some insurers keep tabs on roof ages and cancel policies when the roof nears 20 years old. They require the homeowner to pay for a new roof before they will issue a new policy.
Other companies offer a reduced amount for homeowners to replace older roofs, calculating a percentage of the roof’s value based on its age.
What About Roof Damage?
Insurance policies almost always replace roofs damaged by “acts of God,” like hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes. If a tree falls on your roof or a tornado carries a portion away, insurance will pay to repair the damage.
Most policies also cover damage from less severe types of weather like rain, hail and wind. They may reduce the amount they offer according to the age of your roof.
Sometimes insurance companies cover roof leaks, but they usually have requirements for how the leak is fixed. If you hire a sub-par contractor, insurance might not cover subsequent leaks or the property damage they cause.
Many companies have exclusions and limitations. For example, some insurers have exclusions for wooden shingle or shake roofs. Other policies will not replace metal roofs because of hail damage because they say the roof is still functional and the damage is only cosmetic. The best way to know what your policy covers is to check with your insurance company.
4 Filing Tips
- Look for damage right away. If your car, mailbox and outside air conditioner have hail dents, your roof does too. After high winds, you can often see missing shingles from the ground.
- Document the damage. Note the date and time of the storm and take photos of any evidence.
- Talk to your adjuster. Each company has a procedure for filing claims, and it’s important to follow it exactly.
- Contact an experienced roofing company. Let them inspect your roof and provide you with a written estimate to give your insurance company.