On average, a new roof costs between $260 and $700 per square, depending on the material used. Naturally, concerned homeowners tend to end up asking how to get homeowner’s insurance to pay for a new roof. It’s a good question–it often will. Of course, certain conditions have to apply which are outlined in your policy.
In this article, we’ll look at some general principles to keep in mind that affect how to get homeowner’s insurance to pay for a new roof, a brief introduction to what’s usually covered, and finally a quick look at some things that usually are not covered. Ready? Let’s dive in!
How to Get Homeowner’s Insurance to Pay for a New Roof
Generally, there are four main sections of a homeowner’s insurance policy: Dwelling, Other Structures, Personal Property, and Liability. Dwelling insurance covers the actual structure of the home, including the roof. Other Structures refers to sheds and other built structures that are on the property but that aren’t connected to the house. Personal Property insurance is like renter’s insurance; it covers the belongings that live in the house with you in the cases of damage or theft. Finally, Liability insurance covers the homeowner if someone who doesn’t live in the house gets injured in it.
So to find how to get homeowner’s insurance to pay for a new roof, your first stop will be your copy of your policy, and specifically the Dwelling section. This is where you’ll find most or all of the information you’re going to need. The big question your insurance will ask is, “Why do you need a new roof?” In your policy, they promise to pay some amount toward the new roof if you need it for the right reason(s).
The short answer to the question of what’s covered is sudden, accidental damage. Usually, this includes fires, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail. So an important part of how to get homeowner’s insurance to pay for a new roof is being able to show that one of these things (and/or whatever others are named in your Dwelling insurance) damaged your roof to the point that it needs replacing. At that point, paperwork and the deductible are pretty much all that stands between you and a new roof.
The idea is that even a roof that’s in good repair can’t withstand being lit on fire or struck by lightning. It can also be a little bit on the tough side to tell how well-maintained a certain shingle was before it exploded. Likewise, a strong windstorm can send branches, furniture, and other debris flying at such velocities that again, even a roof that’s in good repair can’t withstand their impact. The same is sometimes true of hail. Some storms produce hailstones bigger than baseballs and again, how could a reasonable person expect a roof to come out undamaged after having hundreds of those pelt it at top velocity?
What Isn’t Covered
This blog post isn’t your policy (again, the policy is your first stop in the process) but, most of the time, three of the major reasons for roof replacement that are not covered are floods, earthquakes, and regular wear-and-tear.
Quite simply, unlike fire and lightning, floods and earthquakes damage many homes at once–sometimes thousands of them–so if the insurance company had to pay for those repairs and replacements, they would go bankrupt faster than you can say, “My policy says….” The alternative would be charging so much for premiums that the purpose of insurance would be defeated.
On the other hand, wear-and-tear repair is a normal expense associated with owning a house that happens to have a roof. The idea is that when you pick a roofing material, you’re made aware of how long it should last and can spend those years (or decades) saving up.
Also, wear-and-tear is sometimes caused by poor maintenance. Just like any product warranty, your homeowner’s insurance policy isn’t going to pay for user neglect. So it can help your claim’s chances considerably to have your roof inspected every couple of years and to keep the receipts from those inspections. You’ll have a hard time winning your claim if the shingles fell off in a light breeze because they hadn’t been maintained.
Sometimes, you can buy additional coverage for things like flooding. The time to get that squared away is long before the damage occurs. Talk to your agent about optional coverage to see if any of it is right for you.
The Takeaway: How to Get a New Roof From Insurance
In short, how to get homeowner’s insurance to pay for a new roof is to buy the right policy and then to follow its procedures. Understand your policy before you sign it, and know where to find it if/when the time comes.
The big insurance question will be what caused the damage to your roof. If the insurance company rules that it was homeowner neglect, they likely won’t cover the replacement. Similarly, if the damage was caused by an event that’s not covered, like an earthquake, you’ll be out of luck again. The key is to show–honestly and with integrity–that the damage was caused by a covered event like fire, lightning, wind, or hail.
Of course, prevention is always the best policy. Regular roof inspections and minor repairs as they’re needed can help keep you from ever needing to figure out how to get homeowner’s insurance to pay for a new roof. Contact Rocky Mountain Exteriors today to schedule a free estimate. Let’s make it as hard to damage your home as can be!