Will Insurance Pay to Repair or Replace My Roof?
Wildfires raging throughout California may have many homeowners checking with their insurance companies to see what their homeowners insurance actually covers. Roof repair and roof replacement are usually covered as part of the exterior damage portion of homeowners insurance.
Interestingly enough, fall is also the time of year when homeowners in Marin and Sonoma counties start thinking about their roofs, as they anxiously await the rain to tamp down fire season. This is because many homeowners wonder how their roofs will hold up during winter storms.
What Shape is Your Roof In?
Homeowners have questions about age and maintenance of a home’s roof:
- How many years is it since you purchased your house? How old was the roof then?
- How long has it been since you had a full roof replacement?
- Are nearby tree branches touching the roof?
- Are the shingles damaged or missing?
- If you can see damage, how was it caused?
Where Insurance Comes In
Insurance may help if you are considering roof repair or replacement but not without cause. That means if there is damage done to your roof by fire, wind, tree branches falling on it or an explosion, most of the above questions will come into play.
Insurance agents will tell you that your homeowners policy covers perils, not normal wear and tear. Regular maintenance can help extend the life of your roof and insurance won’t cover that. However, if a tree branch falls on your roof, or other flying debris hits it and damages your roof, that is the time to check with your insurance agent.
As Farmers insurance agent, Robert Brecher, explained, you’ll also want to take into consideration the amount of your deductible as it relates to the overall dollar amount of the damage. “If the damage is minor and your deductible is $2,500 or $5,000 it may not be worth the tradeoff.”
Another factor will be the age of the roof. An adjuster will want to know so your roof can be prorated. If your roof is over 25 to 30 years old, that could bring the payout on the claim to less than your deductible amount. The reverse will be true the newer the roof.
Brecher added, “When you do get a new roof, because of peril, say the whole roof is blown off, you will get the same identical roofing material as it was at the time of damage. If it is an older roof and they can’t find the identical materials, they will pay for material that is comparable.”
On a brighter note, he concluded, “It might help people to know that when your roof is new, anywhere from brand new to up to 7 years old, you should be getting a bit of a discount on your insurance premiums. It may be between 2 and 5%. You’ll want to check with your agent and the newer the roof, usually the higher the discount.”
If you have questions about your insurance coverage or need to deal with exterior damage to your home, contacting your agent is the first step. Your second step may be getting a damage assessment from a qualified roofer, with photographs and an estimate.
Call us today at 415-924-2733 if you’d like an assessment of your roof’s condition in preparation for the winter rains or to talk with a professional roofer about maintenance tips. We’d be happy to let you know if your roof is in good shape to face another winter.