Homeowners insurance is invaluable for homeowners faced with a damaged roof. Dwelling coverage generally takes care of roof replacements, covering a range of incidents from natural disasters to unexpected accidents. However, damages caused by an aging roof or homeowner neglect might not be covered. Knowing more about the intricacies of roof coverage and the types of roof damage covered can help you ensure you're fully protected.
Roof repairs and replacements are covered under a home insurance policy’s dwelling coverage.
Homes in severe weather-prone states may require additional coverage or deductibles to be covered for roof replacement.
Damage due to wear and tear, aging, earthquakes, floods and homeowner neglect is not typically covered by home insurance policies.
Understanding Dwelling Coverage
Dwelling coverage is the component of your home insurance policy that covers the repair or replacement of a home's structural elements, including the roof. This coverage is particularly crucial given the many perils a roof faces — from heavy snow and hail storms in northern climates to tornadoes and cyclones in the Midwest and hurricane-force winds in tropical regions. Unexpected accidents like a tree falling due to violent windstorms or airborne debris from explosions also fall under dwelling coverage.
However, it's important to understand that this coverage has certain limitations. For instance, roofs over 20 years old may only be insured for their actual cash value (ACV) rather than their current replacement cost (RCV). Moreover, certain types of damage, particularly those resulting from a lack of maintenance or ordinary wear and tear, may not qualify for coverage.
Homeowners who live in high-risk states for natural disasters may also need to purchase additional coverage or pay higher deductibles, as some insurers impose a percentage of your coverage as your deductible rather than a flat-fee if damages were caused by a hurricane or a windstorm.
Do You Need To Pay a Deductible for Roof Replacement?
When you need to file a claim for roof replacement, you need to pay a deductible — which is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your coverage kicks in. More often than not, the deductible to replace your roof will be the same as your overall deductible, but this can change depending on what caused the damage. Opting for a higher deductible can result in more affordable homeowners insurance.
In hurricane-prone states, hail-prone states, wildfire-prone states or other areas prone to severe weather, insurance providers may impose a higher deductible for damages related to these weather events. While standard home insurance policies cover hurricane damage and other types of damage from natural disasters, residents of high-risk areas might need additional coverage or separate windstorm or hurricane insurance deductibles to safeguard their homes effectively.
Separate deductibles for hurricane or windstorm damage can either be a flat dollar amount or a fixed percentage of your dwelling insurance coverage limit, and the cost will be subtracted from your total payout for repairs. For instance, if an insurance adjuster calculates that it will cost $10,000 to repair your roof, and you have a $2,000 deductible, you would receive $8,000 to cover the roof repairs.
Types of Roof Damage Covered by Insurance
When it comes to roof damage, not everything is covered under your home insurance. As a rule of thumb, your insurance generally covers sudden and accidental damage caused by hazards that are specifically listed in your policy. However, if you're in an area with frequent hurricanes or tornadoes, some types of damage, like wind and hail, may not be covered. Additionally, some insurance companies might limit coverage for older roofs — typically those that are over 20 years old — but guidelines vary from company to company.
To understand what your home insurance covers, talk to your insurance agent.
What’s Not Covered
Wind and hail
Aging or wear and tear
Fire and smoke
Snow or ice
Rot or mold
Falling objects (trees, power lines, etc.)
Neglecting home maintenance
Animals (mice, etc.) or termites
How To File a Claim If You Need to Replace Your Roof
If your home is damaged and you need to replace your roof, knowing how to file a claim can help make the situation easier to manage.
Take photos of the damage
Document the damage with clear photographs to provide visual evidence to support your claim.
Make temporary repairs
Contact a professional to make temporary repairs and prevent further damage. Ask them for additional photos in harder-to-reach areas.
Get an estimate for repairs
A comprehensive estimate from a licensed contractor will establish a cost baseline for the insurance adjuster.
Review your policy
Familiarize yourself with your policy to understand what is covered and ensure you have all the necessary details. You don’t want to file a claim if your particular event is not covered, as it can still appear on your claims history.
File a claim
Once you have everything you need, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to initiate the claim process. Make sure to have all the necessary documentation on hand to speed up the process.
Meet your insurance adjuster
After filing a roof replacement claim, expect your insurance company to assign an adjuster to handle your case. This adjuster will inspect your roof and any other related damage to determine if the insurance company should cover the cost of your new roof. Be ready with all supporting evidence to illustrate the cause of the damage and the expected repair cost.
Get the settlement
Once your claim is approved, you'll receive the settlement, which you can use to begin the roof replacement process.
What To Do if Your Claim for Roof Replacement Was Rejected
If your claim for roof replacement was rejected and you believe you are owed a pay out, you can follow these steps. If you decide to file an appeal, do so as soon as possible, as there are typically deadlines for submissions.
Review the denial letter
Insurance companies are required to explain clearly in writing why they denied your claim. Understand these reasons to decide your next move.
Review your policy
Revisit your insurance policy details. Cross-check the denial reasons with your policy terms to spot potential oversights.
If you believe your claim denial was unjustified, gather additional evidence to support your case. This could include more detailed inspection reports, estimates from contractors or additional photographs of the damage.
File an appeal
If you have grounds for disagreement with the denial, file an appeal with your insurance company. Include all supporting documents and a letter detailing your reasons for the appeal.
Seek professional advice
If your appeal is denied, consider consulting an insurance attorney or a public adjuster to explore other options.
The Cost to Replace Your Roof
The roof is a large part of your home, and as such, it’s a costly investment. On average, it costs $9,052 to re-roof a home . Prices will vary depending on the roofing material, which can be metal, asphalt, tile or wood.
Average Cost by Roof Material
The material of your roof is a significant factor in determining its cost. Materials range from inexpensive and easy-to-install options like asphalt or composite shingles to tile roofing made of ceramic, metal, wood, clay, concrete or slate. Metal roofs, typically made from copper or zinc, are another option and provide long-lasting durability. Below is a look at the average roof cost by material.
- Asphalt shingles ($5,500 to $12,500)
- Metal roofing ($6,000 to $16,500)
- Tile roofing ($8,000 to $25,000)
- Wood roofing ($15,000 to $27,000)
Prices can also vary based on how big your home is. For instance, a simple asphalt shingle replacement can cost between $4.43 and $8.50 per square foot, on average.
How To Save on Roof Replacement Costs
Strategic planning can help you navigate roof replacement costs after filing an insurance claim. There are several ways to save on costs and ensure you’re still getting a high-quality roof.
- Choose the right material: The material used can significantly impact the overall cost. Some materials may have a higher upfront cost but could be more cost-effective in the long run due to their durability and lower maintenance needs.
- Consider going solar: With the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, homeowners can take advantage of a substantial federal tax credit for going solar, reducing the project cost by 30% with no income restrictions or dollar ceiling. Note that this credit is available until 2032 and the earlier federal tax credit for traditional roofing with energy-efficient properties has now expired.
- Shop around: Obtain estimates from different contractors to ensure you're getting the best price for the quality of work. However, don't just go for the cheapest bid — consider the contractor's reputation, warranty and quality.
- Negotiate with contractors: Some roofing contractors may be willing to negotiate their prices. Feel free to ask for a discount or better terms, especially if you can provide a competitive estimate from another contractor.
Repairing Your Roof vs. Replacing Your Roof
When faced with significant roof damage, you might wonder if you're better off repairing or completely replacing your roof. While damage caused by natural disasters, fire or accidents may require immediate replacement, there are certain situations where repairing might be enough.
- Repairing your roof: This can be a cost-effective solution for addressing isolated issues or minor damage, such as a few missing shingles or a small leak. It might also be a good idea if your roof is relatively new, perhaps ten years old or less. However, repairing your roof might not be the best long-term solution if it's is near the end of its lifespan or if it has extensive damage.
- Replacing your roof: This is typically a larger investment but can be the most cost-effective solution in the long run, especially for older roofs or when the damage is extensive. A new roof offers the benefit of modern, more durable materials and allows you to potentially improve your home's energy efficiency and value.
How To Avoid Roof Problems
There are several steps you can take to prevent potential problems with your roof. While these measures can't guarantee complete immunity from severe weather conditions or unexpected situations, they can significantly reduce the chances of extensive damage.
- Conduct Regular Inspections: Conduct regular inspections — at least twice a year and after any significant weather event. Look for missing, loose or damaged shingles and signs of water damage. In addition, schedule a professional roof inspection every few years. A professional roofer can spot potential problems you might have missed, suggest repairs and provide guidance on maintenance.
- Ensure Proper Ventilation: Ensure that your roof has proper ventilation. Inadequate ventilation can lead to heat and moisture buildup, which can cause rot and deteriorate your roofing material.
- Clean Gutters: If your home has gutters, keep them clean to prevent water backup and subsequent leakage into the home. Overflowing gutters can lead to water damage on your roof, which could require costly repairs.
- Trim Nearby Trees: Regularly trim tree branches hanging over the roof to prevent them from causing damage during storms and to avoid leaves accumulating, which can retain moisture and cause rot.
- Repair Issues Promptly: Make any necessary repairs as soon as possible. Minor problems like a single leak or missing shingle can lead to big problems if left unattended. Immediately replacing broken or missing shingles, re-caulking if necessary and replacing rusted flashing can extend the lifespan of your roof.
- Invest in Quality Material: When it's time for a roof replacement, investing in quality materials can make a big difference in durability and lifespan.
About Mark Fitzpatrick