Insurance is something you know you need and want to have, but hope to never have to use. More than that, the types of insurance and what exactly is covered can be difficult to understand, especially since, in most cases, it’s not something you think about until you must.
Homeowners insurance is a great example. Most lenders will require home insurance in much the same way an auto dealer requires proof of full cover insurance while you pay your installment loan. Since your roof is part of your home, it makes sense to assume that as repairs or replacements arise, your insurance should cover the expense.
In truth, it’s rarely that simple.
There are circumstances in which insurance will pay for the cost of a roof repair, but even these conditions can be difficult to meet.
What factors are at play?
Preventable vs. Unpreventable
A storm rolls through the area and the next thing you know, water is leaking into your house. You make arrangements to have the leak repaired, calling both your roofer and the insurance company to get a quote. If the insurance company decides that the leak in your home is 100% due to storm damage, they will likely issue you a check to cover the repairs. If, however, it’s determined that the leak was caused in concert with ignoring roof maintenance, you might be out the expense to fix it.
Homeowners insurance covers only unpreventable incidents. If there was an issue with the roof before the storm hit that you hadn’t fixed, they will likely tell you that you should have addressed the existing problem ahead of time. If, however, you have kept on top of your maintenance and the leak was solely the fault of the storm, then your insurance will most likely pay for the repair.
The life of an average roof is somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty years. If your roof is near or past this age, your insurance might not cover repairs or replacement, even in the event of storm-related damage. Your provider may offer to cover repairs or partial replacement, but when a roof exceeds a certain age, most companies will opt to not shell out the cash to replace something they viewed as already nearing or past its expiration date.
Insurance companies exist for the same reason as any other business—make money, which means they don’t like spending it. If your roof’s shingles are on the more expensive side or particularly prone to breaking, your insurance company is less likely to cover the damage. Take a wood shake roof—it’s expensive, doesn’t last as long as roofs built of other materials, and is more susceptible to fire. A trifecta of reasons an insurance company might be less prone to cover your roof.
Metal and slate roofs have definite advantages over shake, but they are also costly, so your insurance company may be less likely to cover them. In fact, they may decide that your expensive roof needs an extra premium charge, or be otherwise likely to dismiss damage as cosmetic to avoid having to issue a large payout.
- House fire, wildfire and smoke
- Volcanic eruption
- Electrical surge
- Damage from a vehicle or aircraft
- Crimes like theft, vandalism, rioting, etc.
- Falling objects, like a tree branch
- Heavy buildup of snow, ice or sleet
- Freezing, bursting or overflowing of pipes, a sprinkler system or another household appliance
- Some water damage, excluding flooding
*Check your insurance policy to confirm hail and wind damage is included. Insurance companies are moving away from providing coverage on these disasters due to the cost associated with them. For instance, hail is going to affect more than just your home, so an insurance company that offers hail coverage is likely to see a lot of claims at once rather than just one-offs.
Disasters that aren’t typically included in homeowners insurance:
- Floods (though additional insurance can be purchased to provide flood coverage)
- Maintenance damage
- Sewer backup
Maintenance damage is damage that is incurred due to homeowner neglect. Homeowners are expected to care for their property, which is one of the reasons Dale’s Roofing launched the Stay DRI Maintenance Program. This program is designed to help you keep on top of roof maintenance so that when the day comes that you need to call your insurance company, they can’t tell you that you haven’t done your due diligence. Membership to the Stay DRI Maintenance Program is only $181 per year (breaks down to about $15 a month). We check your roof annually, perform spot corrections on any problem areas, and offer additional discounts for repairs or replacements. We also clean your gutters while we’re up there.
Have a question about homeowners insurance or the Stay DRI Maintenance Club? Give your friends at Dale’s Roofing a call! We’re happy to help.