Roof repair is one of the most common and costly home maintenance expenses. Depending on the type, size, and extent of the damage, roof repair can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Fortunately, in some cases, your homeowners insurance may cover part or all of the cost of roof repair. However, not all types of roof damage are covered by your insurance provider, and there are certain conditions and limitations that apply.
In this article, we will explain the types of roof repairs that are covered by your insurance provider, how to check your policy and coverage, how to file a claim and get reimbursed, and how to prevent roof damage and avoid insurance disputes.
What Types of Roof Repair are Covered by Your Insurance Provider?
The types of roof repair that are covered by your insurance provider depend on the cause and nature of the damage. Generally speaking, your insurance provider will cover roof repair that is caused by a sudden and accidental event that is beyond your control, such as:
- Wind and hail
- Fire and smoke
- Weight of snow and ice
- Falling objects
These events are also known as covered perils or risks in your insurance policy. They are the specific situations or scenarios that your insurance provider agrees to pay for if they cause damage to your property.
However, your insurance provider will not cover roof repair that is caused by:
- Wear and tear
- Lack of maintenance
- Improper installation
- Defective materials
- Mold or fungus
- Insects or animals
- Earthquakes or floods
These events are also known as excluded perils or risks in your insurance policy. They are the situations or scenarios that your insurance provider does not agree to pay for if they cause damage to your property.
What Should You Look for in Your Insurance Policy to Determine the Types of Roof Repair Covered?
To check what types of roof repair are covered by your insurance provider, you need to read and understand your policy documents carefully. Your policy documents include:
- Declarations page: This is the summary of your policy that shows your personal information, policy number, coverage limits, deductibles, premiums, and discounts.
- Policy booklet: This is the detailed explanation of your policy that shows the definitions, terms, conditions, exclusions, and endorsements of your coverage.
- Endorsements: These are the amendments or additions to your policy that modify or enhance your coverage.
You should pay attention to the following sections in your policy documents:
- Dwelling coverage: This is the part of your policy that covers the physical structure of your home, including the roof. It shows the amount of money that your insurance provider will pay to repair or replace your roof if it is damaged by a covered peril.
- Deductible: This is the amount of money that you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance provider pays for the rest of the claim. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible and a $5,000 claim, you have to pay $1,000 and your insurance provider will pay $4,000.
- Actual cash value (ACV) vs replacement cost value (RCV): These are the two methods that your insurance provider may use to calculate the amount of money that they will pay for your roof repair. ACV means that they will pay for the depreciated value of your roof at the time of the damage. RCV means that they will pay for the full cost of repairing or replacing your roof with similar materials and quality.
You should also look for any special clauses or endorsements in your policy that may affect your coverage for roof repair, such as:
- Windstorm or hail deductible: This is a separate deductible that applies only to roof damage caused by wind or hail. It may be higher than your regular deductible and may be expressed as a percentage of your dwelling coverage limit. For example, if you have a 2% windstorm or hail deductible and a $200,000 dwelling coverage limit, you have to pay $4,000 before your insurance provider pays for the rest of the claim.
- Roof age limit: This is a clause that limits or reduces your coverage for roof repair based on the age of your roof. It may state that if your roof is older than a certain number of years (e.g., 10 or 15 years), you will only receive ACV instead of RCV for roof damage caused by wind or hail.
- Cosmetic damage exclusion: This is a clause that excludes or denies coverage for roof repair that is only cosmetic and does not affect the functionality or integrity of your roof. For example, if hail causes dents or scratches on your metal roof but does not cause any leaks or structural damage, you may not be covered for roof repair.
If you have any questions or doubts about your policy and coverage, you should contact your insurance agent or representative for clarification.
How to File a Claim and Get Reimbursed?
If you experience roof damage that is covered by your insurance provider, you should follow these steps to file a claim and get reimbursed:
1. Document the damage
As soon as you notice the damage, you should take photos or videos of your roof and any other affected areas of your home. You should also make a list of the items that were damaged or lost and their estimated value.
2. Contact your insurance provider
You should report the damage to your insurance provider as soon as possible and provide them with the details of the incident, such as the date, time, location, and cause of the damage. You should also provide them with the documentation of the damage that you have collected.
3. Hire a contractor
You should hire a licensed and reputable contractor to inspect your roof and give you an estimate of the cost of repair or replacement. You should also ask your contractor to provide you with a written contract that specifies the scope, materials, timeline, and price of the work.
4. Cooperate with your adjuster
Your insurance provider will assign an adjuster to your claim, who will contact you to schedule an inspection of your roof and verify the extent and cause of the damage. You should cooperate with your adjuster and provide them with any information or documentation that they request. You should also ask your adjuster about the status and progress of your claim and the amount of money that you can expect to receive.
5. Review and accept the settlement
Your insurance provider will send you a settlement offer, which is the amount of money that they agree to pay for your roof repair. You should review the offer carefully and make sure that it matches your expectations and needs. If you agree with the offer, you should sign and return it to your insurance provider. If you disagree with the offer, you should contact your adjuster and negotiate for a higher amount or file a dispute resolution request.
How to Prevent Roof Damage and Avoid Insurance Disputes?
To prevent roof damage and avoid insurance disputes, you should follow these tips:
1. Maintain your roof regularly
You should inspect your roof at least once a year and look for any signs of damage or deterioration, such as missing or broken shingles, cracked or sagging flashings, rusted or clogged gutters, or mold or algae growth. You should also clean your roof and remove any debris, leaves, branches, or snow that may accumulate on it. You should also hire a professional roofer to perform any necessary repairs or replacements on your roof.
2. Upgrade your roof materials
You should consider upgrading your roof materials to more durable and resistant ones, such as metal, slate, or tile. These materials can withstand harsh weather conditions better than asphalt shingles and can last longer. They can also increase the value and curb appeal of your home.
3. Follow the building codes and standards
You should follow the local building codes and standards when installing or repairing your roof. These codes and standards are designed to ensure the safety and quality of your roof and to comply with the requirements of your insurance provider. You should also obtain any permits or inspections that are required for your roofing project.
4. Review your policy periodically
You should review your policy documents periodically and make sure that you understand your coverage and obligations. You should also update your policy if there are any changes in your home or roof, such as renovations, additions, or replacements. You should also shop around for different quotes and compare them to find the best deal for your needs.
Roof repair is a common home maintenance expense that may be covered by your insurance provider in some cases. However, not all types of roof damage are covered by your insurance provider, and there are certain conditions and limitations that apply. Therefore, you should read and understand your policy documents carefully and contact your insurance agent or representative for clarification. You should also document the damage, file a claim, hire a contractor, cooperate with your adjuster, and review and accept the settlement. Moreover, you should maintain your roof regularly, upgrade your roof materials, follow the building codes and standards, and review your policy periodically. By following these tips, you can prevent roof damage and avoid insurance disputes.