The roof on your home is the first line of defense against the elements, protecting the structure and everything in it from rain, snow, wind and hail. Considering its importance, you might be surprised to learn that that this essential component of your home may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Generally speaking, your policy will cover repairs that are the result of weather events, but may not cover repairs that are due to neglected maintenance such as leaks into the structure resulting from clogged gutters or downspouts. This type of roof damage, which isn’t covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy, is referred to as an exclusion. Here are 3 more examples of roofing issues that may be excluded from coverage in your homeowner’s policy.
- Specific materials – Slate and cedar shake are two types of roofing materials that may be excluded from coverage. Exclusions for materials are usually based on a higher than average cost of doing repairs. In some cases, policies will pay a percentage of the repair, which means that you’ll still be paying for a portion of the repairs out of pocket. If you’re installing a new roof, check out your homeowner’s policy or call your insurance company beforehand to determine the materials that are covered in full, as well as the types of shingles that are either excluded or only covered in part.
- Installation issues – Errors made during the installation of a roof, such as improper nailing of shingles that results in a claim being filed to repair damage, are likely to be excluded from coverage as well. As a homeowner, you can protect yourself against paying for damage resulting from shoddy installation practices by working with a contractor that offers a warranty on workmanship. In addition to protecting your roofing investment, this type of warranty can also provide insight on a prospective contractor’s confidence that the installation will be done properly. A roofing company that is willing to provide a warranty for 10 years or more is sending a strong signal that it stands behind its work.
- An older roof – If you’re buying a home, keep in mind that insurance companies generally exclude roofs that are approaching the end of their estimated service life due to worries that a roof replacement will cost far more than the insurance premiums that will be paid over time. An exclusion may also be applied if a new roof has been installed over existing roofing. In these situations, the age of the first layer of materials will be used by insurance companies to determine the age of the roof.
The key to avoiding surprises resulting from homeowner’s insurance exclusions is to read your policy or speak to a representative at your insurer. That way, you can make informed decisions about materials, contractors and buying a home with an older roof.
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