Maintaining a strong, water-tight roof is extremely important. An old or leaky roof insulates poorly and can allow water to damage the interior. Because roof life is measured in decades, we often lose track of how old the roof is until it begins to give problems.
That’s when many people start trying to figure out a way to pay for a new roof, and insurance tops the list. So is it possible to get a new roof paid for by your homeowner’s insurance? The answer is maybe.
Like paint or carpet, a roof is one of those parts of your home that eventually wears out and must be replaced. A roof that is 20 or more years old is likely to have missing or broken shingles and a thinner layer of grit than a newer roof.
In that case, insurance will not pay for replacement. Just as rust on a car is a result of age, a roof simply gets old and must be replaced. Auto insurance won’t repair rusted body parts, and homeowners’ insurance won’t replace a roof that is just old.
On the other hand, a roof that has suffered damage from severe weather is definitely covered by insurance. Hail and wind, including from a tornado, can tear away shingles, causing leaks and creating an urgent need for replacement that is indeed covered by insurance.
There is also some middle ground on this issue. If your brand-new roof is damaged by a hailstorm, your insurance will provide the full amount of coverage that you have. If the roof is older when the damage occurs, you may receive prorated coverage.
Prorating is a calculation of how much of the cost is a result of the covered loss and how much is due to aging. For example, insurance will cover half the cost of replacing a roof that is estimated to be halfway through its life when storm damage occurs.
Good upkeep of your home calls for proper maintenance and repairs as necessary. When a covered hazard leads to damage to your roof, insurance may cover some or all of the replacement cost. Understand your policy and be sure to track the age of your roof.
Don’t assume your homeowner’s insurance will eventually get you a new roof. Instead, make a plan to have enough money on hand for replacement when the time comes, whether insurance chips in or not.
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