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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Replacement or Repairs?

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  • Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Replacement or Repairs?

Your roof is covered under the dwelling portion of your homeowners insurance policy from a multitude of perils like fires, snow buildup, hurricanes and tornadoes. So if a tree falls onto your roof or a hurricane tears off some shingles, your homeowners insurance policy will likely step in to help pay for your roof to be repaired or replaced.

While your roof is covered against unexpected perils, it isn’t covered due to general wear and tear or lack of maintenance. Similarly, if the damage was sustained over an extended period of time or could’ve been prevented, your homeowners policy may not provide coverage. There are also certain stipulations within homeowners policies that provide less coverage for older roofs.

As the protector of everything inside your house, your roof is the last line of defense against harsh weather and other damage. So it needs to meet certain requirements for your insurer to provide protection. Since it’s exposed to the elements more than the rest of your home, your home’s roof experiences a myriad of differences when it comes to deductibles and protection. Let’s dive in.

When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Replacement or Repairs?

Your homeowners insurance covers roof replacement and repairs under the dwelling portion of your policy if it was damaged or destroyed by one of the many perils covered in your policy. But your roof falls into its own unique category of coverage that differs slightly from the rest of your house.

Since your roof is exposed to the elements more than any other part of your home, it takes a fair share of a beating from Mother Nature. Luckily, most of Mother Nature’s cruel damages are covered, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and hail. Although wind and hail damage fall into a separate category that requires a unique deductible (more on that in a bit).

Homeowners insurance also covers unexpected perils like house fires, vandalism, lightning strikes and, under some policies, even objects falling from the sky like what happened in the movie Donnie Darko. In some cases that happened quickly and unexpectedly, even roof leaks are covered by your homeowners policy.

But homeowners insurance covers more than just roof repairs and replacement. It also covers your personal property that was damaged or destroyed due to one of those covered perils that affected your roof.

Let’s throw out a real example of a home insurance claim involving someone’s roof. There’s a rain and lightning storm that’s barreling through your city. There’s also a large tree towering beside your home.

Let’s say lightning strikes that tree, causing it to crash through your roof and create a large hole that’s allowing rain to flow freely into your home. Not only does your roof need to be repaired or replaced, but now your couch, carpet and everything in your living room is waterlogged and needs to be tossed out and replaced.

Well, if you have homeowners insurance, you’re in luck because that incident should be covered by your policy. The dwelling portion of your policy would pay to repair or replace the roof and carpet while the personal property portion of your policy would repair or replace the couch and any other personal belongings that were affected by the rain.

If you had to temporarily move out of the house while everything was being fixed or replaced, your policy’s loss of use coverage would even step in to pick up many additional living expenses you incur, including temporary housing.

You would simply pay your deductible and your insurance would take care of the rest.

But what happens if a hurricane caused the tree to fall on your house instead of a lightning strike? Well, that would still be covered, but the deductible would look much different.

Wind & Hail Deductible

If you live in one of 19 states where events like hurricanes, tornadoes and hail cause regular destruction to homes, you’re responsible for paying a wind and hail deductible instead of a regular deductible if one of those events is the culprit of damage or destruction to your home.

In Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, wind and hail deductibles are based on a percentage of your dwelling coverage instead of a set dollar amount.

A wind and hail deductible is typically anywhere from 1% to 10% of your dwelling coverage, so homeowners with a $300,000 house and a 2% wind and hail deductible would be responsible for paying a $6,000 deductible toward their claim.

While wind and hail storms can wreak havoc on a roof, there are ways to mitigate that damage. Homeowners can opt for impact-resistant shingles and roof tiles, which help prevent both structural and physical damage. Not only will it help prevent damage to your roof, but it may also score you a wind mitigation discount on your homeowners insurance premiums.

What About Coverage for Old Roofs?

While older roofs share the same coverage as newer roofs, they don’t share the same benefits. Due to the increased risks, homeowners with roofs that are 15 to 20 years old and older may have trouble finding a company to insure them. If your roof is at least 15 years old, it’ll likely have to pass an inspection by the insurer before it takes on the policy.

If your home is approved upon inspection, there’s a good chance your roof won’t be fully insured to its installation value. Instead, your insurer will likely cover your roof to its actual cash value, which factors in depreciation to its total value.

Insurers do this because older roofs tend to have more claims, and home insurance claims involving a roof can get expensive extremely quickly. You may have to shop around for insurance using a company like Clovered, which partners with some of the best insurance companies in the country to provide an easy process while buying home insurance.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.