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.