How Homeowners Insurance Covers Your Roof
A home’s roof is its most important feature, and for good reason. If the roof leaks or is damaged in some way, it can lead to a host of problems — and insurance claims.
Many home insurance companies limit how they insure roofs, so it’s worthwhile before buying home insurance to know how your roof will be covered. Here are some of the ways a roof can be covered by insurance:
Old roof may need to be replaced
Some insurers won’t renew an existing policy or issue a new one on a home with a roof that’s 20 years old or older unless it passes an inspection.
Even if they do, they may only pay actual cash value for the older roof if it’s damaged, meaning they’ll only pay for what the roof is worth at the time of the claim and not for the cost to fully replace it.
Are leaks and damage covered?
Some types of roof damage are covered by most home insurance policies: fire, vandalism, hurricanes and tornadoes. Others, such as wind, rain or hail may only be covered based on the age of the roof, or not at all.
For example, a leak on a roof that’s 10 years old may be fully covered. But a roof that’s 20 years old may only be covered for a leak for the value of the roof after 20 years of wear and tear.
If proper maintenance wasn’t done to stop a leaky roof, then only partial reimbursement or none at all may be provided.
Other than an old roof, insurers may also limit coverage for such things as having a wood shake roof. A wood shake roof or wood shingle roof may require adding an endorsement to the policy, which is a written document attached to an insurance policy that excludes or restricts coverage of those wood features. Only the actual cash value of a wood shake roof, for example, might be covered.
Insurers may also want proof that there wasn’t pre-existing damage before insurance coverage begins.
This can be assessed by a roof inspector who can give you a written report on the condition of the roof. It can include a cost estimate of repairs.
Cosmetic roof exclusions may also be included in an insurance policy. For example, a metal roof that’s damaged by hail that causes dings in the roof may not be covered because it’s considered cosmetic and doesn’t harm the durability of the roof.
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