Roof Repair and Homeowners Insurance:
7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Claim
For some, spring is the season of blooming flowers and milder temperatures. For your house, it’s the season for snow melt, heavy rains and mold. These can cause many headaches for homeowners.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, the roof is considered the most important part of your house by insurance companies. This is because any damage to the roof can lead to secondary issues—and more claims—involving other parts of your house.
After homeowners become aware of roof damage, they may wonder if they need to do roof repairs or replace their roof entirely. If there is damage to your roof, don’t expect to be covered by your Homeowners Insurance until you’ve asked yourself a few important questions.
- Whose fault is it? When it comes to insurance, it’s always a question of whose fault it is. If you have done your job as a responsible homeowner, regularly maintaining your roof, and an unforeseen incident happens, resulting in damage, you’ll likely be covered by your Homeowners Insurance policy. However, if you’re found to have been neglectful, the cost of repairs or replacement could be yours alone.
- Was the roof damaged by fire? A fire is considered one of those events that is usually accidental, and you would most likely be covered for fire damage.
- Is my roof older than 10 years? Typically, if something happens to your roof when it is under ten years old, it falls in the category of something beyond your control. But since regular maintenance is expected of the homeowner, if there is damage resulting from age (more than ten years old) and wear and tear, you may be held responsible for those costs.
- What if a storm damaged my roof, and now it leaks? Rain, strong winds and hail can be a recipe for disaster for your roof. A hole could let water in, which could result in mold. Again, if the initial cause of the damage was beyond your control, such as a natural weather event, you’ll most likely be covered. Typically, to fix a leaky roof involves sealing the leak, replacing the shingles and sealing them. This can range between $150 (if there aren’t many shingles damaged) to $1,100 for a single repair. Also, mold remediation costs can be very expensive, so it’s wise to make your claim as soon as possible, to alert your insurance company that the roof damage and the mold resulted from the weather event. Provide plenty of documents and take pictures!
- Do I need to replace my roof? First, you’ll want to consult with professionals to assess the level of damage to your roof. If there has been no damage, but you’re concerned about ordinary wear and tear, here are a few guidelines about the expected lifespan of your roof: You can expect a roof made of fiber cement shingles to last about 25 years. If you have wood shake roofs, they typically last around 30 years. And slate, tile and copper roofs may last more than 50 years. If all you need is a repair, that may be the better way to go, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Replacing the entire roof can be very costly. For example, if you have a 2,500 square-foot home with cement shingle roofing, the average cost to install a brand new roof of the same material is approximately $9,000.
- Have I performed regular maintenance on my roof? Regular maintenance includes checking for water damage in the eaves just under the roof—a prime spot for decay after a season of storms. Check the structural integrity of your fascia and soffits, the horizontal bands at the end of your roof rafters. Remove any debris from this area. Also regularly check for and wipe away moss and mold to prevent further growth. Check that vents and chimneys aren’t blocked by leaves or other debris. Last but not least, schedule regular inspections with a professional. Because your roof is such an important part of maintaining the overall health of your home, it’s worth the cost to keep it regularly inspected.
If you follow these guidelines, and then find yourself dealing with unexpected roof damage, you’ll most likely be covered by your Homeowners policy.
Keep checking our blog for more insurance coverage information and tips!
And consult the professionals at Zawada Insurance Agency to go over your insurance needs. We’ll help you get the right insurance coverage for your home, car, boat—and offer you bundling options that may save you money.
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Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.