No roof lasts forever. A typical asphalt roof’s lifespan is about 20 years, though thanks to roofing innovations like those at Owens Corning, asphalt roofing can last up to 50 years. Of course, there are plenty of reasons you may have to replace yours earlier than expected. Everything from storm damage to improper maintenance can cut a roof’s lifespan short.
When it comes to replacing your roof, you may wonder if your homeowners’ insurance policy will cover the cost. The short answer? As with many things, it depends. There are a number of different factors to consider when determining if your policy will cover the cost of installing a new roof. This post will help you better understand if your insurance will help when you need to replace yours.
When Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover a New Roof?
Homeowners’ insurance policies often cover certain types of damage that may require you to install a new roof. You’re particularly likely to be covered if the damage was caused by an “Act of God/Nature.”
For instance, strong winds can remove enough shingles that you need to replace your roofing entirely instead of simply performing basic repairs. Such damage is typically covered by homeowners’ insurance. This is because your roof is exposed to the elements to a far greater degree than many other areas of your home. Insurance providers understand it can thus be difficult to protect a roof from Acts of God. Even responsible homeowners who stay on top of upkeep and take steps to reduce hazards can’t prevent a hail storm from destroying a roof without warning.
Insurance providers may also cover other forms of damage that, although not weather-related, are out of a homeowner’s control. These may include fires and/or vandalism.
That doesn’t mean every policy is the same, though. Insurance providers account for regional dangers when determining your rates. If you live in an area where wind, hail, or other potential causes of damage are relatively common, a homeowners’ insurance policy that covers such damage might cost you more than it would in another part of the country. In Florida, it’s important to check how storm damage is covered by your policy, especially damage caused by wind and rain.
Sudden Damage & Roof Replacement: What You Need to Know
Another factor insurance providers consider when deciding whether to cover a roof replacement is how long it has taken for roof damage to develop.
Perhaps you’ve decided to replace your roof due to massive water damage and/or leaks. Your policy may cover some of the costs if the leak developed as a result of a covered hazard, though it will likely need to be reported within a particular time frame.
The problem is roof leaks and water damage can also develop over long periods of time. An insurance provider will be less inclined to cover the cost of replacing your roof if you had opportunities to address the damage earlier and failed to do so. They may argue you could have made repairs before the damage became so substantial that you had to install an entirely new roof.
Other Exclusions to Keep in Mind
There are several other factors that may influence whether an insurance policy will cover roof replacement service. You can often find these exclusions in the fine print. This is yet another good reason to thoroughly review policies when considering homeowners’ insurance options.
Insurance providers have also been known to refuse the cost of replacing a roof if your new one is made from materials that require greater upkeep than asphalt shingles or more reliable materials. Examples of materials that may not be covered include slate and recycled shakes. Research this when preparing to replace your roof. You could save yourself a lot of money by choosing the right material.
The Importance of Replacing an Old Roof
If yours is 20 years old (or older), make a point of replacing it sooner rather than later. This is important even if you don’t notice substantial damage.
Your roof protects many other areas of your house. If it’s not in ideal condition, the rest of the home is also at risk of sustaining damage. For example, an older roof that’s beginning to deteriorate will likely allow more water into the home during rain. This could lead to problems such as water damage and mold growth in the long run.
Because of this, more and more insurance companies are beginning to require homeowners to replace older roofs (and undergo full inspections) in order to renew their policies. Providers are also reluctant to approve homeowners’ insurance policies for people buying houses with roofs that are more than 20 years old. Before they allow customers to buy policies, insurance companies ask that customers install new roofing first.
That’s why it’s important to replace your old roof regardless of whether your provider covers the new installation. Doing so may be key to renewing your overall policy.
Understanding Partial Coverage
It’s worth noting that insurance companies sometimes offer partial coverage for a roof replacement. Some policies only cover the cost of repairing a roof. For example, your insurance company may help if a storm blows away a few shingles that need to be replaced. However, if the damage is so widespread that it’s necessary to install an entirely new roof, your provider may only cover part of the cost. Make sure you understand how much they will (and won’t) cover when scheduling service.
That said, when it’s time to replace your roof, whether due to unexpected damage or simple old age, don’t delay. A roof that’s no longer in strong condition can’t protect your home from damage effectively. Wait too long to replace it, and you could wind up with additional forms of damage. That means you’ll also have additional bills as a result.
While you should absolutely check to see if your insurance policy will cover the cost of replacing your roof, you should also get in touch with Westchase Roofing as soon as you know it’s time to install a new one. For over a decade, we’ve helped homeowners by installing high-quality, reliable asphalt roofs. Let us help you pick the perfect roof.