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.
Act 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.