In most cases, home insurance will help cover the cost to repair or replace your roof after damage from a storm or accident.
Your home insurance company won't give you a new roof for free. You will have to pay a deductible, which could be different from your normal deductible depending on what caused the damage.
Insurance doesn't protect against normal wear and tear, so it's important to have regular inspections and make minor repairs to protect against major damage down the road.
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Does homeowners insurance cover roof replacement?
Your home insurance will cover roof replacement or repairs if your roof is damaged by a weather event or an accident.
Your roof is included in your dwelling coverage, which protects the structure of your home against damage.
What kind of roof damage is covered by insurance?
Many insurance companies list the causes of damage they'll protect against in your policy documents, like fire and wind. Sometimes, your insurance company might list the causes that aren't included instead.
Types of roof damage usually covered by insurance
- Wind and hail
- Fire and smoke
- Weight of snow or ice
- Falling objects
Types of roof damage not covered by insurance
- Normal aging
- Gradual wear and tear
- Earthquakes and flooding
- Rot or mold
If natural disasters are common where you live, you should talk to an insurance agent to make sure you're fully protected.
Do you have to pay a deductible for roof replacement?
Yes, you will have to pay a deductible before your home insurance company will repair or replace your roof.
Most of the time, your roof deductible will be the same as the overall deductible that you chose when you bought your policy.
Sometimes insurance companies will set a different deductible if your roof is damaged by weather events like wind, hail, hurricanes and windstorms. This is common for homes located on the coast or in an area with frequent storms. In this case, the deductible is usually a percentage of your dwelling coverage limit.
Your policy has what's called a named storm deductible of 2%. Your roof is damaged by a tropical storm and needs to be replaced.
If you have $200,000 of dwelling coverage, you will have to pay $4,000 toward your new roof, after which insurance will cover the remaining costs.
If the damage to your roof isn't major, you may be able to repair it instead of having it replaced.
Homeowners insurance can also help pay for repairs, but it might not make sense for you to make a claim if you have a high deductible. Take the example above: If your roof was only partially damaged, the cost to repair it may be less than your $4,000 deductible, in which case your insurance wouldn't cover repair costs.
How to get insurance to pay for roof replacement
After your roof is damaged, there are five main steps you should follow for a smooth roof replacement process.
Step 1: Make temporary repairs and get an estimate
The first thing you should do after discovering roof damage is hire a professional to make temporary repairs. This will lessen the amount of further damage to your home, often called secondary damage, which can save you a lot of money on repairs.
If your home insurance claim is approved, your insurance company will include the cost of any temporary repairs in your overall settlement.
Before you make temporary repairs, ask the roofing company to have someone take pictures of your roof and any damage they find.
You should have the company put together an estimate to repair or replace the roof, too. You'll want to send the photos and estimate to your insurance company if you decide to file a claim.
Some roofing companies will help you file a claim with your insurance company and work with you to get your claim approved. This can make the claims process much easier for you.
However, it's important to make sure that the company you choose has a good reputation. Companies may promise you things they can't deliver, like a new roof with no deductible, or try to convince you to submit a fraudulent claim for a roof replacement, when you really only need some repairs.
Before you choose a company to do your roof repairs, you should read reviews, ask for referrals from friends and family and check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the roofing company is trustworthy.
Step 2: Review your insurance policy
Before you file a roof insurance claim, review your policy to make sure that the damage is covered and get an idea of how much your settlement could be.
You don't want to submit a claim if you know it won't be approved, because even a denied claim will show up on your claims history.
It usually won't affect your home insurance rates on its own since there was no payout. But if you file a number of claims within a short period of time, the insurance company may see you as a higher risk and increase your rates.
It's also important to have an idea of how much money you might get from the insurance company. If you're only making some small repairs or you have a high deductible, the amount you'll receive might not be worth the potential increase in your insurance rates.
Step 3: File a roof insurance claim
Most major insurance companies give you the option of filing a homeowners insurance claim for roof damage through your agent, over the phone, online or via their mobile app. You should be prepared to provide your insurance company with several key pieces of information.
- The date and cause of the roof damage
- The age and building material of your roof
- A list of any secondary damage
- Photos or videos of the damage
- The bill for any temporary repairs you made
- An estimate to repair or replace the roof
If you have made any repairs to your roof prior to the damage or have a recent roof inspection report, it can be helpful to provide these documents as well.
Step 4: Meet with the insurance adjuster
After you've filed a roof replacement claim, your insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case. The adjuster will schedule a time to come out to your home to inspect your roof and any other damage that occurred.
It's the adjuster's job to help determine whether the insurance company is responsible for the cost of your new roof, so be prepared with anything you have that can help them understand how the damage happened and how much it will cost to fix.
Step 5: Get the settlement and fix your roof
Once your claim has been approved by the insurance company, it will decide how much it will cost to replace your roof and send you a settlement check.
Oftentimes your insurance company will send you a partial check to help you hire a contractor and get the work started. This is because your roof is an important part of protecting the rest of your home and your insurance company wants to make sure it's done to its standards. You'll generally receive the final payment after the roof work is done and the adjuster inspects the new roof.
Will homeowners insurance cover an old roof?
Insurance companies usually won't cover a roof that's over 20 years old.
Roofs can be very expensive to replace, and older roofs are more likely to be damaged in a storm. If your home has an old roof, insurance companies believe you're more likely to make a pricey claim in the future.
Some companies won't offer you home insurance at all if you have an old roof. Others may add a condition, or endorsement, to your policy, stating that your roof will only be covered for its actual cash value. That means they'll only pay a portion of the cost of a new roof if you make a claim, and the amount you'll receive may go down as your roof gets older.
You have a 20-year-old roof that costs $10,000 to replace. The insurance company sets the actual cash value of your roof at 20% of the cost to replace it. In this case, you'll only get $2,000 from the insurance company, after you pay your deductible, to fully replace your roof.
Each insurance company has different guidelines when it comes to roof age, which can vary depending on where you live. For example, some companies may reduce the maximum roof age to 15 years for homes near the coast since they usually experience more wear and tear.
How to get homeowners insurance with an old roof
If your home has an old roof, you'll probably have to do more work when shopping for homeowners insurance. Some larger insurance companies may require you to call and talk to an agent to finalize your quote so they can gather more information about your home.
It can also be helpful to work with a local independent insurance broker if you have an old roof. They can help you find affordable rates from smaller local or regional insurance companies that specialize in covering homes in your area.
Before you cancel your current insurance and buy a new policy, you should have your roof inspected.
Most insurance companies will send out an inspector after you buy a policy so they can make sure that your roof is in good condition and doesn't have existing damage. If it doesn't meet their standards, they can cancel your policy, leaving you without coverage.
Most roofing contractors offer free estimates, so scheduling an inspection is an easy way for you to make sure your roof is stable and avoid problems in the future.
If your roof is in bad shape, you may need to replace it before you can get homeowners insurance. Replacing your roof can be very expensive, but you will have an easier time finding insurance coverage and will usually get cheaper rates.
Homeowners with a brand new roof pay an average of 19% less for insurance than those with a 20-year-old roof.
How much does a new roof save on homeowners insurance?
Frequently asked insurance roof replacement questions
Can I keep the insurance money for a roof?
You can keep any insurance money left over after your roof has been fixed. However, your insurance company will probably send an adjuster out to make sure that the roof is repaired, so you can't skip fixing your roof altogether.
Will homeowners insurance cover a new roof?
In most cases, homeowners insurance will cover a new roof if it's damaged due to an accident or a weather event. Wear and tear isn't covered, though, so it's important that you keep up with regular roof maintenance to avoid costly damage in the future.
Can an insurance company make you replace your roof?
Your insurance company can require you to replace your roof if it's in bad shape. After you buy a policy, the company may send out an inspector to make sure that your roof is up to its standards, especially if your home has an older roof. If the inspector finds that your roof has damage, they may give you a deadline to replace your roof. If you decide not to, the company will cancel your insurance policy, leaving you without coverage.
Will insurance cover a 15-year-old roof?
Most insurance companies will cover a 15-year-old roof. However, it depends on the materials your roof was built with, where you live and the company's guidelines.
Will insurance cover a 20-year-old roof?
It can be difficult to find insurance if your home has a 20-year-old roof. Most large insurance companies won't give you quotes online if you have an old roof, so you may need to call and speak with an agent. You should also consider comparing quotes from an insurance broker, who can help you find a local or regional company willing to insure an older roof.
To determine the difference in home insurance costs based on roof age, ValuePenguin compared quotes from eight top home insurance companies for every ZIP code across South Carolina. Rates are for a 45-year-old married man with good credit who owns a house built in 1977.