A typical all-perils homeowners insurance policy covers the replacement of a roof, regardless of age, only if it is the result of an act of nature. Roofs that have exceeded their intended life span are not eligible for replacement because they fall under the general maintenance responsibility of the homeowner.
Acts of Nature
The roof of a home has the most direct exposure to the elements. For northern climates, there is the weight of heavy snow and ice storms. In tropical climates, there is the potential for hurricane-force winds. Damage resulting from acts of nature qualifies the homeowner for a total or partial replacement of the roof as determined by the insurance company.
Different roofing materials have different life spans. It is the responsibility of the property owner to properly care for and maintain his roof. The damage caused by a leaking roof is covered under most all-perils policies. However, the roof repair itself is not.
Homeowners can take steps to help protect their roofs. The Allstate Corporation recommends hiring licensed professionals perform regular inspections. Many roofing companies will inspect a roof for free in the hopes of earning future business.
If you live in wind-prone areas, ensure your home and roof are designed to the current building codes to prevent a total loss. Make sure your roof is free of debris and does not hold or collect water. Any trees touching or hanging over the roof should be trimmed back. These steps can minimize the potential of a total roof replacement.
Get Home Owner's Insurance to Pay for Roof Replacement
If you have an older roof, say more than 20 years old, insurance companies generally consider those roofs to be past their life expectancy and may reimburse you only a portion of the repairs or replacement, or nothing at all. Other possible policy exclusions could include improper maintenance or neglect, the use of certain, expensive roofing materials (like slate or recycled shake shingles), or roofs with more than two layers of roofing material.
To give yourself the best chance of having your insurance company pay for a roof, the first step is to call them out to inspect your roof. Before they arrive, gather up as many documents as you can, including copy of your current home insurance policy, any home inspection reports, receipts for any repair work you’ve done, before-and-after photos of any damage that has occurred. All will be helpful in the claims process. The insurance company will send out an adjuster to inspect the damage and offer their own assessment.
Tips to Save on New Roof Costs
The average price range for a roof replacement can run from $260 to $700 per square depending on roofing material used. Someone might be able to help you out for as low as $150 to $350 per square foot for asphalt shingle repair. For metal roofs, expect between $350 to $1000 for tile and metal roof repair. Here are some tips on how to minimize your repair and replacement costs:
- Do your research: now the size and complexity of your roof and the exact materials you want to have installed before talking to contractors.
- Shop around: Get quotes from several roofers and always request and check local references before hiring someone. Be wary of extremely low bids, which could mean subpar work, and make sure they offer a warranty on materials and installation.
- Time it right: Roofers are busiest in late summer and fall. Scheduling your roof replacement in late winter or spring may yield lower prices or off-season discounts.
- Do it (or some of it) yourself: Consider doing part of the work yourself. If you have the time, the proper equipment and a stomach for heights, removing old roofing before the installer arrives could help cut costs.
- Consider an overlay: An overlay involves installing new shingles on top of the existing ones. Because the old roofing stays put, overlays require fewer labor hours and cost less than replacement. However, an overlay may void or shorten the manufacturer warranty on roofing materials. Overlays also typically increase future replacement costs due to increased labor and job waste.