The short answer: it depends on your policy
The role insurance plays in roof repairs varies based on a variety of factors like the cause of the leak, the type of coverage you have, and even the age of your roof.
A sudden or accidental event will generally be covered. Storms, fallen trees, and other powerful or spontaneous natural events should be covered by your homeowners policy. If the damage was beyond your control, you should be in the clear to file a claim and get financial assistance to cover the costs of repair or replacement.
However, gradual wear-and-tear or a lack of consistent maintenance won’t always be covered.
If the leak isn’t caused by a singular event, like a storm, your insurance provider is unlikely to cover repairs. This is why it’s crucial to keep gutters clean, examine your shingles and attic regularly, and schedule a professional inspection every 1-2 years.
What about roof replacement?
Roof replacement follows a similar set of criteria as repairs. Again, think sudden vs. gradual damage. But it also depends on the roof’s age and the type of coverage you have.
Does your coverage use actual cash value or replacement cost value? If your policy applies coverage based on the roof’s “replacement cost value,” that means your provider will just cover the cost of a new roof. Pretty simple! An “actual cash value” (ACV) assessment gets a bit more complicated. ACV coverage payouts reflect depreciation on the roof. So if your roof requires replacing with half of its expected lifetime remaining, your provider will deduct half of its value and pay you accordingly.
Age matters when it comes to rates and available roof coverage. Some homeowners choose an actual cash value policy as a more affordable option. But if your roof is older, other types of coverage might not be available to you. If your roof is 20 years or older, an insurance provider might require an inspection first, or may not even be willing to write you a policy at all. If you have an older roof, you’ll want to take extra care to understand your options.
Should I file a homeowners insurance claim?
Filing a claim isn’t always the best option. Chiefly, your deductible is the most important factor. Roof repairs can vary greatly in cost, so it’s important to understand how your deductible compares to the total cost of repairs. Get an estimate first! If your deductible would make up a lion’s share of the overall cost, it might be best to just take on the repair cost yourself. Filing a claim might end up costing you more money in the long term, as your premiums could increase for several years after.
There are many factors that go into how and if your homeowners policy will cover roof repairs and replacements. These kinds of costs are an inevitable part of a roof’s lifetime, but you can avoid a serious financial headache with regular care, observation, and roof inspections. If you’re uncertain about the state of your roof, you can request a free roof inspection to keep costs low and a good roof above!