To home insurance companies, your roof is the first layer of protection between your home and the elements. As such, the condition and age of your roof play an important role in securing a homeowners insurance policy.

Whether you’re looking for your first policy or trying to save on your current home insurance premiums, potential insurers will pay close attention to your home’s roof before underwriting a new policy. You’ll qualify for the best coverage and cost if your roof is in good condition. But if you aren’t in the market for an entire roof replacement, there are coverage options for older and damaged roofing, too. Roof insurance coverage isn’t hard to come by. 

It’s always important to shop around for home insurance quotes, but comparison shopping is even more crucial for homeowners with shabby roofing. Insurify‘s home insurance comparison tool can help you save time and money by showing all your insurance options in one place. With your home insurance companies and costs side by side, choosing the best policy is a no-brainer.

How Homeowners Insurance Covers Roof Damage

If your roof isn’t blatantly damaged, it probably isn’t your biggest concern. But your roof can leave you paying high insurance premiums (or leave you unable to secure home insurance coverage), even if you don’t have a roof leak or any outstanding roof damage.

Home insurance companies place a lot of weight on your roof’s ability to protect your home from wind damage, hail damage, and water damage. And depending on its age and condition, insurers may choose to cover your roof differently from the rest of your home.

In general, home insurance will cover roof damage as long as it’s caused by a covered peril. Your policy won’t pay for roof damages caused by normal wear and tear or lack of maintenance, nor will it pay for preventive roof fixes, like if you want to replace an old roof before it sustains damage.

If you’re looking into buying home insurance with an old roof (generally 15–20 years or older) or a damaged roof, you can expect home insurance providers to offer actual cash value coverage (ACV) for your roof, even if you have a replacement cost policy. Know when you should replace your roof before it’s too late. 

This is because most roofs (depending on their materials) have a lifespan of roughly 20 years, after which they are more susceptible to damage. But actual cash value policies only reimburse an item based on its depreciated value. 

Let’s say you have a home insurance policy with ACV coverage for your 19-year-old roof, and a tree lands on your home. If you file a roof claim, knowing you need a full replacement and a new roof will cost you roughly $8,000, you might expect your payout to at least partially cover the damages, but let’s crunch the numbers and see.

Your 19-year-old asphalt shingle roof originally cost $8,000 and had a lifespan of 20 years. Based on its lifespan and original cost, your roof’s value depreciates by $400 per year ($8,000÷20 years). With only one year left of its expected lifespan, your roof’s actual cash value is only $400. 

Once you factor in your deductible, it’s likely that your insurer won’t reimburse damage to your 19-year-old roof at all.

It may seem like a pain to not qualify for coverage simply because your roof is old, but your insurer is just trying to protect your investment and theirs. That being said, there are still insurance companies that will cover homes with older roofs and even those with minimal damage. Plus, you might be able to get homeowners insurance just by making simple improvements to your roof’s condition.

Roof Factors That Affect Your Coverage

When deciding whether to cover a home, insurers need to account for the home’s risk of damage as well as the company’s risk in protecting that home. To home insurance companies, a bad roof means only one thing: unreliable protection for your home and belongings. So while a few missing shingles may look like a simple cosmetic defect to you, to your insurance company, they look like an insurance claim in the making.

Because of this, home insurance companies might require your home to pass an inspection before you can qualify for a policy. During this inspection, the company will check various aspects of your home (and roof) to determine your home’s risk of damage, the type of coverage your home qualifies for, and how much that coverage will cost.

Factors that affect your home insurance coverage include your roof’s:

  • Age of Roof: The age of the roof largely determines the type of coverage your home qualifies for. Some insurers offer new roof discounts to encourage policyholders to replace old roofs to ensure better coverage.
  • Condition: The better your roof’s condition, the lower your premiums are likely to be. Hiring roofers to keep up with regular maintenance can help you secure better homeowners coverage, even if your roof is old.
  • Material: Roofing materials like asphalt shingles and wood are generally prone to damage from animals and fire. Metal roofs are typically the cheapest to insure, as they are the most protective.
  • Shape: Hip roofs (roofs with four sides) can withstand wind and water damage better than gable roofs (roofs with two sides) and flat roofs can and are subsequently cheaper to insure. 

Maintaining your roof’s condition is key to ensuring full home insurance coverage. Roof requirements vary by state, with some fire-prone states refusing to cover homes with wood roofs, for example. Talk to a local insurance agent to see what your state’s roof requirements include. Homeowners insurance companies can even cancel policyholders’ coverage if their roof is in disrepair. 

Weighing Your Coverage Options

Homeowners with bad roofs don’t need to forgo coverage; in fact, homes with bad roofs need home insurance coverage the most. 

If you’re trying to secure a policy that protects your roof without hiring a roofing company to fix any existing damages, your best bet is to find a high-risk insurer. Certain companies are willing to take on risks that others won’t, including homes with old or bad roofs. 

Often, these high-risk insurance policies provide less coverage than standard homeowners insurance policies and come at significantly higher costs. 

If you’re considering a high-risk policy or insurer, be sure to check the cost of repairing your roof before you buy a policy. Replacing your roof is no small cost and can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the size of your home. But paying a few thousand dollars each year for subpar insurance coverage may end up costing more in the long run.

Replacing or repairing your roof may cost you upfront but will also better protect your home and prevent future insurance claims, further reducing your premiums. Plus, some insurers offer new roof discounts, so replacing your old roof might also help you qualify for an additional discount.

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Home Insurance Coverage for Bad Roofs FAQs

Can homeowners insurance companies refuse coverage for homes with bad roofs?

Yes. Not only can prospective insurance providers refuse to write new policies for homeowners with bad roofs, but your current insurer can also choose not to renew your policy based on your roof’s condition.

Does homeowners insurance cover hail damage to roofs?

Most home insurance policies cover wind and hail damage, but this coverage isn’t included in all states. Hail damage is typically excluded in high-risk areas, and policies may not cover cosmetic damage from hail.

Is there a time frame to file roof claims?

Yes. If you plan to file an insurance claim, you should do so as soon after the damage as possible. Your policy will state the specific amount of time you have to file a claim.

How to Get Homeowners Insurance with a Bad Roof

Roof repairs can cost thousands of dollars, but finding home insurance protection with a bad roof can give you a run for your money. When it comes to protecting your home and personal belongings, always make sure to weigh the costs of insurance and the costs of repairs before choosing a policy with high premiums and minimal coverage. 

Homeowners with bad roofs can opt for high-risk home insurance policies, but roof repair costs may be cheaper in the long run.

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Updated July 19, 2021

Jacklyn Walters is a freelance writer for Insurify. Jacklyn has a background in journalism and is passionate about informing and serving others through writing. In her spare time, Jacklyn enjoys running, practicing yoga, and writing music.