Will Home Insurance Cover Roof Repair?


Your Home Insurance Policy and Roof Damage


Your homeowners insurance policy will usually cover roof damage. It depends on two things:

  1. What caused the damage to the roof?
  2. How is the roof covered in your policy?

Cause of Damage

Assessing damage to the roof is never easy. Even seasoned roofing repair experts can have a tough time finding the exact nature of the damage. Most causes of damage to your roof would be covered by your homeowners policy, but some are not:

  Covered Not Covered
Fallen Tree X  
Hail X  
Wind X  
Lightning X  
Fire X  
Aircraft X  
Falling Objects X  
Volcanic Eruption X  
Weight of Ice/Snow X  
Water Leak X X
Wear and Tear   X
Old Roof Materials   X
Flood   X
Earthquake   X

General rule of thumb is if the damage happens slowly over time it is not covered. If it happens all at once, far more likely to be covered. Water leaks are sometimes covered and sometimes not covered. It depends on how the water leak started. Was it caused by a sudden storm that damaged the roof and created the leak? (likely covered) Was it caused by a 25 year old roof that was overdue for some maintenance and began leaking one day? (not covered)

You're Covered, But For How Much?

If you have an older roof, your home insurance coverage may only cover the roof at Actual Cash Value (ACV). This means in a roof claim scenario, you aren't getting a full reimbursement to put on a new roof. Actual Cash Value means you are only covered for the useful remaining life of the roof. An example:

Your roof is 19 years old and you have a hail storm that damages the roof badly - it's in need of a full repair. Your homeowners policy says you are covered for hail damage and the insurance adjuster says the roof has 6 years left before it needed to be replaced anyway. 

Your roof is covered at Actual Cash Value
The roof is 19 years old
The roof has a 25 year useful life,
It costs $15,000 for a brand new roof
Your policy has a $1,000 deductible

The insurance company tells you the claim is covered and you get a check for
(25-19)/25*$15,000 - $1,000 = $2,600. Yup, they are effectively only covering 6/25 = 24% of the value of the roof, and even after that, you still have to first pay your $1,000 deductible. 

VS

Your roof is covered at Replacement Cost
The roof is 19 years old
The roof has a 25 year useful life,
It costs $15,000 for a brand new roof
Your policy has a $1,000 deductible

The insurance company tells you the claim is covered and you get a check for $15,000 - $1,000 = $14,000.

Now you understand the importance of getting Replacement Cost coverage on your roof. In the above example, that was worth $11,400.

Check your deductibles before filing a claim. Many home insurance policies have special deductibles for wind/hail or hurricane. Double check that deductible before filing a claim so that you don't file a claim that won't be paid out (or paid out a very small amount). Remember, even if you file a claim and it is rejected, it goes on your claims history and will likely affect your cost of home insurance in future years. 

At your service,
Young Alfred