Your homeowner’s insurance policy generally covers roof leaks and other kinds of roof damage, as long as the cause of the damage is not specifically excluded by your policy or by the age of your roof. This mainly includes roof damage caused by reasons outside of the homeowner’s control, such as a fire or vandalism. Moreover, damage from extreme weather or “acts of God” including hurricanes and tornadoes are also usually covered.
What Are The Common Insurance Coverage Limitations On Roof Damage?
In most cases, you’re covered only if the damage or destruction results from a sudden accident or act of nature. Examples of such claims that are usually covered include:
- Falling trees or limbs
- Other falling objects
- Windstorm or hail
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Vandalism or malicious mischief
So, when a homeowner is filing for an insurance claim, determining the cause is often contentious and it may be difficult to prove that the fracturing of the roof was sudden and not the result of years of wear and tear. This is because a leak that comes as a complete surprise to the homeowner may be perceived as neglect by the claims inspector.
It’s common practice that roof damage which is a result of general wear and tear or from a roof that has exceeded its intended life span are not eligible for reimbursement because they fall into the overall maintenance responsibility of the homeowner.
Additionally, as previously mentioned some insurers have also refused to renew existing homeowner insurance policies on houses with roofs older than 20 years without passing an inspection. Those who fail inspection won’t be renewed without a roof replacement. Also, most insurers don’t write new policies for homes with roofs over 20 years old.
They will only pay actual value for roof replacement when older roofs are damaged. This means they don’t pay to completely replace the roof, but only reimburse for what an old roof is worth after 20-plus years. A case example would be, if your roof is less than 10 years old, your insurer will likely cover the replacement in full.
Cases Where Your Insurance Provider will not cover you
An insurer might not reimburse you if you’ve got an older roof (especially one that’s quite 20 years old) or the corporate might only pay what it deems the roof is worth after years of wear and tear and tear.
In other words, a typically damaged roof would normally be covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy but most insurance companies believe homeowners should prevent leaks and subsequent roof damage to avoid it getting to that point first. In other words, it’s up to the homeowner to take the necessary precautions to maintain it’s viability. There are several other common exclusions that your policy may not cover. These include;
- Mold, fungus, or wet rot
- Wear and tear and deterioration
- Settling, shrinking, bulging or expanding
- Birds, vermin, rodents, insects
This is why it is the responsibility of the property owner to properly care for and maintain his/her roof, and to be aware of the life span of different materials, which can range from 15 to 100 years.
Homeowners can take other steps to assist protect their roof—like hiring licensed professionals to perform regular inspections. Other steps that you can take to prevent roof damage include;
- Installing impact resistant shingles.
- Replacing missing shingles.
- Cleaning your gutters throughout the year.
- Inspecting the roof’s flashing.
- Trimming overhanging branches and cutting down nearby trees.
- Raking off excess snow from the roof.
- Adding additional insulation to the attic.
In short, whether you are reimbursed partially, fully or not at all depends on your policy. So make sure to check and confirm with your insurance company if you experience any roof damage.