How to Get Insurance to Pay For a New Roof

Roof Coverage

A typical all-perils homeowners’ insurance policy does cover your roof and the cost of replacing it if it gets damaged. That’s the good news. But usually, you’re covered only if the damage or destruction results from a sudden accident or act of nature.

Problems that ensue from general wear and tear or from a roof that has exceeded its intended life span are not eligible for reimbursement because they fall under the general maintenance responsibility of the homeowner.

Key Takeaways

  • Most homeowners insurance policies cover roof replacement if the damage is the result of an act of nature or sudden accidental event.
  • Most homeowners insurance policies won’t pay to replace or repair a roof that’s gradually deteriorating due to wear-and-tear or neglect.
  • Roofs that are over 20 years old often have limited coverage, if any.
  • To ensure approval of your claim, keep records of repairs, before-and-after photos, and reports from inspections. Notify your insurance company promptly when damage occurs.

How Roof Coverage Works

Of all the parts of your home, the roof arguably has the most direct exposure to the elements. For northern climates, there is the weight of heavy snow, hail, or ice storms.

In the Midwest, tornados and cyclones are also common problems. In tropical climates, there is the potential for gales and hurricane-force winds.

Not only can Mother Nature do direct damage, but she can also trigger other sorts of havoc—like a violent windstorm that topples a tree onto your roof. There may be wildfires. Or there could be more unlikely incidents, like something crashing down on the roof from above—like debris from an explosion or aircraft.

Happily, the roof is an integral part of the structure of your home, and so the dwelling coverage section of your homeowners’ insurance policy typically protects you from such perils. Damage and destruction from such events qualify the homeowner for a total or partial replacement of the roof.

Coverage is often curtailed for roofs that are over 20 years old—they may only be insured for their actual cash value, not for their current replacement cost.

Of course, you’ll still have to pay your policy deductible before your coverage kicks in. Some policies, especially those written in certain high-risk states, impose a higher deductible for damage that ensues from hurricanes or hailstorms.

Residents in those areas wishing to protect their property often have to purchase additional coverage, or a separate windstorm insurance policy or hurricane insurance policy. Of course, anyone who wants extra protection or a higher degree of coverage can purchase it as well.

Special Considerations for Roof Coverage

If a dramatic event causes dramatic damage—the roof comes crashing down, has a major hole, or is torn off entirely—coverage is likely. More problematic are instances when the damage is less dramatic, even if an act of nature caused it.

Let’s say a violent thunderstorm nicks a bunch of your roof’s shingles. The insurance company may classify that as cosmetic damage, and not cover it. Or let’s say that, after the aforementioned storm, you notice your roof has become leaky.

Even though the rains triggered it, the insurance company might claim that’s a general wear-and-tear problem—reflecting your roof’s gradual deterioration—which is never covered.

Ironically, any water damage caused by the leaking roof to your walls, floors, or furniture would probably be covered under the all-perils section of your policy. However, the roof repair itself would not be.

Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover a New Roof?

With the increased likelihood of severe storms occurring, many people are wondering “Does Homeowners Insurance Pay for a New Roof “. And for those who live in areas where severe storms cause a lot of damage to their roofs, the stakes are very high.

If one’s roof is damaged in a storm, the likelihood that further damage will be done to the house increases. And with every additional amount of damage comes further costs to repair. Well, the answer is very simple.

Homeowners’ insurance may cover roof damage, depending on what caused the damage. If the damage was due to hail or a falling tree, or anything not directly caused by you, you should be covered.

So, how does one go about getting their roof covered? Keep reading to find out more about how to protect your roof and your bank account.

Preventing Roof Problems

It is the responsibility of the property owner to properly care for and maintain their roof, and to be aware of the life span of different materials, which can range from 15 to 100 years.

Homeowners can take other steps to help protect their roof—like hiring licensed professionals to perform regular inspections. Many roofing companies will inspect a roof for free in the hopes of earning future business (just don’t be surprised if they find a lot of problems).

Make sure your roof is free of debris and does not hold or collect water. Any trees touching or hanging over the roof should be trimmed back.

After a big storm or a long snowy spell, always check your roof to see how the shingles and gutters are doing. If you live in wind-prone areas, see that your home and roof are up to the current building codes.

Getting Reimbursed for Roof Replacement

Age is not your roof’s friend. Unless it’s made of a material with famed longevity, like slate, a roof depreciates with each year; many insurers won’t cover those that are over a quarter-century old.

Other possible policy exclusions could include improper maintenance or neglect, the use of certain expensive roofing materials (like cedar or recycled shake shingles), or roofs with more than two layers of roofing material.

To give yourself the best chance of having your insurance company pay for a roof, the first step is to call them out for an inspection.

Before they arrive, gather up as many documents as you can, including a copy of your current home insurance policy, any home inspection reports, receipts for any repair work you’ve done, and photos of any damage that has occurred.

(Since before-and-after shots are always useful, it’s a good idea to take photos of your roof when it’s healthy.) All will be helpful in the claims process. The insurance company will send out an adjuster to inspect the damage and offer their own assessment.

STEPS TO GET A NEW ROOF ON YOUR HOUSE

  • Assess the Damage to Your Roof
  • Review Your Insurance Policy
  • Contact a Roofing Specialist or Roofing Inspector (It’s important to know that you have a valid claim)
  • Submit a Claim

If you believe you need new homeowners insurance to protect your property, here are a few simple steps to get you the coverage you deserve.

1. Assess the damage to your roof. 

If you live in an area that experiences brutal storms that have caused damage to homes in your neighborhood. You should also check to see if there is visible damage to your roof.

Utilizing a ladder and some basic roof safety techniques you should be able to see if there are missing shingles or divots in the roof from hail. It’s ok if you are unable to see visible marks. You may still have a claim but you may need the eye of an expert to confirm your suspicions. Some damage is more obvious than others.

If after the assessment, you discover damages, you will need to document what you think the damage is or you can even schedule a consolation with a roofing expert.

2. Review your homeowner’s policy. 

When you review your homeowner’s insurance policy you’ll want to look for roof coverage. This is not the time to contact your current insurance agent with a claim. We’ll save that for later. You should have access to your policy online or in written form.

You can contact your insurance agent to get a copy of your policy if you don’t have one but don’t file a claim until you’re sure your roof is damaged. By understanding what your homeowner’s insurance covers, and what it does not, you will better be prepared when speaking to an expert and filing a claim.

To protect themselves, many homeowners insurance policies have clauses and stipulations where, if you wait too long to report the problem, the roof replacement becomes null on their side, and you are left to replace the entire damaged area yourself.

So, it is best to call and submit your claim once you know for sure that it has been significantly damaged.

3. Roofing Contractor.

Contact a qualified roofing expert or roofing contractor to assess the damage for free. Make sure they offer a free assessment. When it comes to finding the contractor, you can google your area’s best contractor, ask your homeowner’s insurance agent, or even ask around your family and friend group.

It is always okay to shop around, before choosing your final roofing contractor. But, once you have found the contractor you wish to use, you should also consider asking them to work with your homeowner’s insurance company to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

If they see that damage has been done then it is ok to move forward with a claim. If your roof has sustained damage it’s important that you don’t file a claim. This can cause an increase in your insurance if there is no damage to the roof.

Most roofers provide free inspections and estimates of the work they will need to do to your roof. But, sometimes the work is muddled with contingency contracts that look like an inspection policy to you, the customer.

So, while you think you are signing off on the inspection, it could be an agreement to have the roofing contractors complete the work themselves. This is just another example of why you should always read what you are signing.

4. Getting the roof replaced.

Once you have received the final word from your homeowner’s insurance company and have been given the good to go, you will be given the money for the damages or the roofing contractor will receive the check. This is when your chosen roofing contractor can get to work on fixing your damaged room.

Tips to Save on New Roof Costs

The average price range for a roof replacement can run from $1.50 to $4.50+ per square foot, depending on the roofing material used. 

Sometimes roofing estimates will quote by the “square,” which is used to describe a 10’x10′ area, or 100 square feet (so you may see a quote for something like $325 per square). 

Someone might be able to help you out for less for asphalt shingle repair. Expect to pay a bit more for tile and metal roofs. Here are some tips on how to minimize your repair and replacement costs:

  • Do your research: Before talking to contractors, know the size and complexity of your roof and the exact materials you want to have installed.
  • Shop around: Get quotes from several roofers and always request and check local references before hiring someone. Be wary of extremely low bids, which could mean subpar work, and make sure roofers offer a warranty on materials and installation.
  • Time it right: roofers are busiest in late summer and fall. Scheduling your roof replacement in late winter or spring may yield lower prices or off-season discounts.
  • Do it (or some of it) yourself: Consider doing part of the work yourself. If you have the time, the proper equipment, and a stomach for heights, removing old roofing before the installer arrives could help cut costs. 
  • Consider an overlay. An overlay involves installing new shingles on top of existing ones. Because the old roofing stays put, overlays require fewer hours of labor and cost less than a full replacement. However, an overlay may void or shorten the manufacturer’s warranty on roofing materials. Overlays also typically increase future replacement costs due to increased labor and job waste.

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