What kind of roof damage will be covered by homeowner's insurance?

Q:

What kind of roof damage will be covered by homeowner's insurance?

A:

Nothing does more work protecting your home than your roof. It's a critical part of a house's overall structure and it's essential to keeping its occupants and contents safe from the elements.

But the roof is also subject to a lot of abuse on a daily basis. Changes in temperature, humidity, and pressure the rain or a load of snow can all wear away and damage a roof over time (see Snow Damaged Your Roof: What Should You Do Now? for related reading).

Luckily, your homeowner's insurance gives you pretty broad roof coverage for all types of hazards.

Coverage and Exclusions

Just like the rest of your home, the roof is covered against various perils, including:

  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • Windstorm
  • Hail

But we're talking about insurance here, so that means there are some caveats you have to be aware of.

As a general principle, insurance only covers damages that occur suddenly and accidentally. That means damage will be excluded from coverage if it can be attributed to:

  • Poor maintenance
  • Wear and tear
  • Cumulative damage

Mold damage caused by water seepage, for instance, won't be covered by your insurance (learn more about Mold Damage and Home Insurance).

The Age of Your Roof Makes a Difference

The age of your roof (and your home more generally) also makes a difference. Your insurance company might still cover an old roof, but your policy might include terms that limit the amount the insurer will pay if your roof gets damaged.

If your roof is relatively new, you can expect to get full replacement cost coverage for it. If it's older or not very well maintained, you might only be able to secure actual cash value coverage for your roof. That means the insurance company will factor in depreciation when calculating the value of your roof.

If your roof is over 25 years old, there might be additional restrictions. You might have to pay a higher premium, and the insurance company might even request pictures of the roof to verify that it is in good shape.

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Written by Jacques Wong
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Jacques grew up around the insurance industry and began actively participating in 2013. Since then, he has gotten a Level 2 license, won an Insurance Council of BC award in 2015 for academic excellence in the insurance licensing courses and educates insurance professionals through PNC Learning.   Full Bio