golden round shingles on roof
Does Home Insurance cover your Roof Damage

Roof damage is one of the most common home insurance claims. However, a few damaged shingles is often not a sufficient reason to file a claim. There are three levels of severity when it comes to roof damage:

  1. Light Shingle Damage - Damaged shingles (1-20 shingles), less than 50% of roof area, roof structure intact
     
  2. Heavy Shingle Damage - Damaged shingles, more than 50% of the roof surface, roof structure intact
     
  3. Structural Roof Damage - Damage to the roof structure and shingles -- e.g., a tree fell on your roof

If you have a roofer come out to give an estimate after a storm, the roofer will always tell you to file a claim with your insurance company -- they get paid more. It may not be in your best interest to file a claim if there is only Light Shingle Damage. When the insurance adjuster comes out, they will look at the roof, see a few shingles need to be patched, and say the insurance company will cover the patching for around $500 - $4,000 -- hardly enough to cover your new roof. You don't want to file small claims on your homeowners policy as they stay on your record for the next five years and can cost you more in the form of higher future premiums.

If you have Heavy Shingle Damage or Structural Roof Damage, you most likely want to file a claim.

How much of my roof will be covered?

If the insurance adjuster determines you do need a new roof and it is covered, two factors determine how much you will be paying out of pocket vs. the insurance company:

  1. Your deductible for that specific type of damage
     
  2. Roof covered at Actual Cash Value or Replacement Cost

If wind damaged your roof, you might have a wind specific wind deductible that is higher than your regular deductible. The deductible represents the amount you are responsible for in a claim scenario if the wind peril were the cause of damage. Let's look at an example assuming your roof coverage is Replacement Cost:

Example 1
Coverage A: 300,000
Wind/Hail Deductible: $1,000
Roof Damage: Heavy Shingle Damage
Roof Coverage: Replacement Cost

Wind Damage: $15,000 for new roof
You Pay: $1,000
Insurance Pays: $14,000

Example 2
Coverage A: 300,000
Wind/Hail Deductible: 2% ($6,000)
Roof Damage: Heavy Shingle Damage
Roof Coverage: Replacement Cost

Wind Damage: $15,000 for new roof
You Pay: $6,000
Insurance Pays: $9,000

If you have an older roof, your roof may only have Actual Cash Value coverage. Actual cash value means they are only going to cover the useful remaining life of the roof -- not the full replacement. Examples:

Example 3
Coverage A: 300,000
Wind/Hail Deductible: $1,000
Roof Damage: Heavy Shingle Damage
Roof Coverage: Actual Cash Value
Roof Age: 15 Years
Roof Useful Life: 25 Years

Wind Damage: $15,000 for new roof
Roof Depreciated Valued: $6,000 = (25yrs-15yrs)/25yrs*$15,000
You Pay: $10,000 = $1,000 deductible + $9,000 depreciation
Insurance Pays: $5,000

Example 4
Coverage A: 300,000
Wind/Hail Deductible: 2% ($6,000)
Roof Damage: Heavy Shingle Damage
Roof Coverage: Actual Cash Value
Roof Age: 15 Years
Roof Useful Life: 25 Years

Wind Damage: $15,000 for new roof
Roof Depreciated Valued: $6,000 = (25yrs-15yrs)/25yrs*$15,000
You Pay: $15,000 = $6,000 deductible + $9,000 of depreciation
Insurance Pays: $0


confused math GIF by CBC

Yes, insurance math is painful at times. Try to avoid actual cash value coverage on your roof, or you may be responsible for the entire bill of a new roof yourself. Of course, if there is no damage to your roof, you would still be responsible for the full cost to replace the roof anyway.

I hope that helps you better understand your home insurance coverage.

At your service,
Young Alfred