Needing to have your home’s roof replaced can be an expensive, stressful process. The nationwide average for a roof replacement is around $8,000, but it could potentially cost more than twice this amount, depending on the size of the roof and the type of roofing material. The good news is that your homeowner’s insurance may cover the cost of the replacement. Still, whether or not the replacement will be covered depends on a number of factors, including the type of insurance policy you have, how the damage occurred, and the age of the roof. With this in mind, let’s take a look at homeowner’s insurance policies and what they typically will and won’t cover.
Types of Homeowner’s Insurance Policies
Generally speaking, most homeowner insurance policies will cover both roof replacements and roof repairs. However, most policies will only cover damage that results from an “act of nature.” This usually includes damage that results from almost any type of storm or natural disaster, as well as other sudden, unexpected accidents. What insurance companies will not cover is any damage that occurs as a result of normal wear and tear on the roof.
One important consideration is whether you have an “all-perils” policy or a “named-perils” policy. An all-perils policy will usually cover most any type of natural disaster. With this type of policy, the only things that are not covered are explicitly listed in the terms of the policy. On the other hand, a named-perils policy will only cover the things specified in its terms. This type of policy is usually much more restrictive in terms of what it covers.
There are also both package policies and peril-specific coverage. Package policies are usually the most common type of homeowner’s insurance. In most cases, these policies will cover damage from fires and lightning. Most of these policies also include extended coverage that insures against damage from windstorms, hail, theft, vandalism, aircraft, vehicles, riots, and explosions.
A peril-specific policy is meant to provide additional coverage for acts not covered under your standard policy. For instance, earthquakes, flooding, and hurricanes are usually not covered under most standard insurance policies. Instead, you will usually need to purchase a separate peril-specific policy for each type of disaster. This is especially common in places that are prone to certain types of disasters. For instance, in South Carolina and other places that often experience hurricanes, you will usually need a hurricane-specific policy. The same is also true for earthquake policies if you live in an active fault zone or flood insurance if you live in a flood plain.
Gauging the Extent of the Damage
If the damage to your roof occurred due to an act of nature that is covered under your policy, you usually shouldn’t have any issues getting the insurance company to cover the cost of any repairs or a roof replacement. For instance, if a tree fell on your roof or strong winds ripped part of the roof off, this will generally always be covered. However, this depends in large part on the extent of the damage.
Insurance will typically only cover what it considers to be serious damage. Let’s say a major thunderstorm passes over your house and hail damages some of the shingles. In this situation, the insurance company may determine that the damage is cosmetic only and doesn’t affect the roof’s ability to do its job properly. In cases like this, you would be left paying to repair the damage or replace the roof out of your own pocket even though the damage occurred due to an act of nature.
Another common situation you may run into is if your roof starts leaking after a major storm. Even if it was the torrential rains that led to the roof leaking, most insurance companies wouldn’t cover this type of damage. The reason is that they will usually determine that the leak occurred as a result of normal wear and tear. Weirdly enough, even though your insurance won’t cover the cost of the roof replacement, it will likely cover any water damage that occurred to the structure of the home or your furnishings due to the roof leak.
Why the Age of Your Roof Is Important
The older your roof is, the less likely that you will be able to get your insurance provider to cover the full cost of repairs or a replacement. Wear and tear and deterioration are both important factors that insurance companies take into account when determining whether they will cover the damage.
Let’s say strong winds ripped off half of the shingles on your roof. If the roof is fairly new, this will usually be covered. However, if the roof is more than 15 to 20 years old, the insurance company may not cover it. In this case, they will usually say that the age of the roof and its poor condition was the primary factor responsible for the damage. In other words, the damage would not have occurred if the roof was still in good condition. This is one reason why you should always have your roof professional inspected every few years as it allows you to document that the roof is still in good condition and thus make it more likely that the insurance company will cover any damage.
Roofs that are more than 20 years old usually have very little or no coverage. This means your insurance company may not cover any of the costs. There are also situations where the company will only cover part of the costs of the replacement. For instance, instead of covering the entire cost of the new roof, they may only pay what they determine to be the actual value of your old roof based on its age and condition.
In addition to age, there are also a number of other potential policy exclusions to be aware of. For instance, you may not be covered if the insurance company determines you neglected to properly care for and maintain your roof. The same is also true if you had any work done by someone without the proper licenses and certifications.
Getting Reimbursed for Your Roof Replacement
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you are properly reimbursed for your roof replacement is to make sure you have as much documentation as possible. This means making sure to keep records of your roof inspections and any previous repairs. You also need to make sure you can document the damage. Before and after photos can be a huge help in this regard, which is why you should also make sure to have pictures taken every time you have your roof inspected.
It is important that you contact your insurance company as soon as you notice the damage. They will then send an adjuster to your home to inspect the roof and determine the cause of the damage. If the adjuster determines that the damage is covered, they will then have a roofing contractor estimate the cost to repair the damage or replace the roof. In most cases, you will still be able to hire whatever company you choose to perform the work. However, you will still be limited by the insurance company’s estimate. This means that if your chosen contractor charges more than the insurance estimate, you’ll have to pay the difference out of your own pocket.
If you need any type of roofing work done on your Charleston home, Charleston Roofs + Windows is always here to help. We specialize in roof repairs, replacements, and inspections, and we work with almost all types of roofing materials. Our team handles window replacements and installations as well. If you suspect your roof was damaged in a storm or need to have it inspected, contact Charleston Roofs + Windows today to see how we can help.