The short answer is, it depends. However, in many cases, yes, your home insurance covers roof replacement.
Most home insurance policies cover damage to components to the structure and roof if damaged by a covered peril, such as a snow or hail storm. Many policies spell out all covered perils as well as those that are not. When a roof needs replacement due to an unexpected act of nature or extreme weather (other than flooding), you are probably covered. However, if you have an older roof and it needs extensive maintenance and repair, a standard homeowners insurance policy likely won’t reimburse you for roof replacement.
Types of Roof Damage
In general, there are two types of roof damage as far as the insurance company is concerned: damage from a covered loss (such as a storm), or normal wear and tear. Let’s say your roof suffered a leak or other damage due to a rain, hail, wind, or snow storm, a fire, or a fallen tree limb, the insurance company would likely pay for the cost of roof replacement up to your coverage limit.
If, on the other hand, you suffered a leak that was not due to a covered peril (structure failure, lack of maintenance, old age), it’s likely that your insurance company won’t cover the cost of roof replacement. This is a perfect example of why you should keep up with maintenance on your roof through the years. If your roof fails due to neglect, you will have to foot the bill yourself. As you can imagine, roof replacement is not exactly cheap.
These are all generalities, but most insurance companies will cover roof replacement (up to your policy limit) as a result of the following events. Generally, these are events the homeowner cannot control, but as you will see, there are some weather events that are not covered. If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes and floods, you would have to purchase additional insurance for those events.
- Weight of ice or snow
- Falling objects (tree limbs, etc.)
What’s Not Covered
- General wear and tear due to age (older than 20 years usually)
- Gradual damage due to lack of regular roof maintenance
- Potential hail or wind exclusions (common in hurricane- and tornado-prone states)
Other exclusions to coverage include cosmetic damage, even if it has occurred as a result of storm damage. One example of this would be if a couple of shingles on your roof experienced slight nicks after a hail storm. Your insurance company may deny coverage, calling it minor cosmetic damage and not essential to the safe functioning of your roof.
Here’s another example: if your roof experienced ice damage or water damage throughout the home, the roof damage itself may be covered but not the personal property inside the home.
And yet another example: if your roof caved in due to a severe ice storm, that would likely be covered. However, if you have let overgrown branches encroach onto your home over the years and the roof gets destroyed, this would likely not be covered.
A key factor in whether or not your insurance company will pay for your roof replacement is the age and condition of your roof. If your roof is older than 20 years, your insurance company may require that it pass inspection. Other insurance companies just won’t write new policies for a home with a roof that is older than 15 years. If they do write a new policy, they may say it can only be covered at its actual cash value, so you would have to consider depreciations into your final payout.
How Can You Make Sure Your Insurance Company Pays For a New Roof?
There are a few things you can do to help speed things along and make the claim go in your favor, provided you have a valid case. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- As soon as you notice damage, contact your insurance company immediately.
- Hire a reputable roofer to make temporary repairs. It’s not uncommon for initial roof damage to lead to more extensive damage if the risk is not mitigated. Classic example: a small leak that becomes a flood if the roof isn’t properly covered in the meantime.
- Gather evidence by taking before and after photos of the roof and saving receipts of any work done.
- File a claim with your insurance company.
- Schedule an appointment with an adjuster to inspect the damage and keep you apprised of the status of your claim.
In the end, it’s important to have a roof replacement company on your side to speed the process along and ensure all your bases are covered.
Start Your Insurance Claim With NVB Contracting Now
If you’re in need of a roof replacement, contact us today. Or, start your insurance claim to find out just how easy NVB Contracting makes the insurance claims process! We are conveniently based in Manassas VA, and specialize in roof replacement services for home owners in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.