Getting a new roof is a major home improvement project that can cost thousands of dollars. If your roof has been damaged or is just worn out from age, you may be wondering if your home insurance policy will help pay for a roof replacement. Unfortunately, standard home insurance policies do not cover regular roof maintenance or replacement due to normal wear and tear. However, your policy may pay for roof repairs or replacement if the roof was damaged as a result of a covered peril like wind, hail, fire, falling objects or vandalism. Here’s what you need to know about making a roof claim and getting coverage for roof replacement under your home insurance policy.
What Does Home Insurance Typically Cover for the Roof?
A standard home insurance policy provides coverage for your dwelling and structures on your property. The roof is considered part of your dwelling’s structure. Home insurance provides protection if there is sudden and accidental damage to the roof as a result of a covered peril.
Covered roof perils may include:
- Wind damage – If strong winds rip off shingles or cause openings that allow water inside, resulting in interior damage.
- Hail damage – Severe hailstorms can cause cracks, dents or holes in roofing materials.
- Falling objects – A tree branch or other object that falls and impacts the roof, causing damage.
- Weight of ice and snow – If heavy snow or ice accumulation causes roof collapse.
- Fire – Roof damage from a fire spreading to the roof.
- Lightning – If lightning strikes the roof and causes fire damage or destruction of the roof covering.
- Vandalism or theft – If someone deliberately damages the roof.
- Explosion – If a gas leak or other explosion impacts the roof structure.
In situations like these where a covered peril damages the roof suddenly and by chance, your home insurance would provide coverage to repair or replace the damaged roof sections subject to your policy limits and deductible.
However, your home insurance policy does not cover roof damage due to normal wear and tear or deterioration over time. You’re responsible for regular roof maintenance and replacing your roof when it reaches the end of its useful life expectancy.
Does Home Insurance Cover Complete Roof Replacement?
What if your entire roof needs to be replaced, not just a portion that was damaged? Will home insurance pay for a full roof replacement?
In most cases, home insurance will not pay for a whole new roof if the damage is due to ordinary wear and tear or aging. But if there is extensive damage from a covered cause of loss like severe wind, then it may be covered.
Here are some examples of how your claim for a total roof replacement may be handled:
- If half your roof is destroyed by a fire, your insurance would cover the cost to replace the damaged portion. You would need to pay the portion to replace the undamaged areas that were simply worn out.
- If a severe hailstorm causes numerous cracks and dents across your entire roof, but it’s 10 years old, your insurer may pro-rate the cost. You might pay 50% toward a new roof since the old one was halfway through its useful life.
- If a hurricane rips most of your 25-year-old roof off, the insurer may cover the full replacement cost since the extensive damage was caused by a covered event.
- If 20% of the roof is damaged by falling tree limbs during a storm, your insurance would pay just for the damaged areas to be replaced, not the whole roof.
So in order to get a full roof replacement paid for by insurance, you generally need sudden and extensive damage from a covered event. Just having an older roof that needs replacement due to wear and tear or age won’t be covered. Make sure you understand your policy’s limits on roof coverage before filing a claim.
How to File an Insurance Claim for Roof Replacement
If your roof has been damaged and you want to file an insurance claim, follow these steps:
1. Take photos of the roof damage. Capture images of cracked, missing, or torn shingles, holes in the roof deck, water stains on interior ceilings and walls, and any other damage.
2. Contact your insurance company to report the damage. Provide details about when the damage occurred and the cause (e.g. hailstorm with golf ball-sized hails stones).
3. Have a roof inspection. Your insurer will send out an adjuster to inspect the damage and confirm the cause. Point out any damaged areas and provide the adjuster with the date photos you took.
4. Get contractor estimates. You will need written estimates from roofing contractors to submit to the insurance company. Be sure to get at least 2-3 estimates for full roof replacement as well as repairing only the damaged sections.
5. Submit proof of damage. In addition to the contractor estimates, provide any evidence you have showing the roof damage was caused by a covered peril. This could include weather reports of wind speed or hail size during a storm.
6. Review your coverage and deductible. Know what your policy covers and how much you will need to pay out of pocket before repairs begin.
7. Authorize repairs through your insurer. Don’t sign a contract or let a roofer begin work before your insurance company has approved the payment for roof replacement.
This process requires coordination with your insurer and roofing contractors. Be patient as it may take weeks or months to inspect damage, process your claim, and issue payment. Keep in touch with your insurance adjuster throughout the process and don’t proceed with a new roof until you’ve received official approval and policy payment.
Roof Damage from a Covered Peril – Case Examples
It can help to look at real life insurance claims for roof replacement that were covered after damage from a qualifying cause of loss. Here are a few examples:
Hail Damage in a Hailstorm
- Date of loss: May 15, 2022
- Cause: Severe thunderstorm with baseball-sized hail
- Damage: Extensive damage across all roof slopes, including cracked and missing shingles, denting on metal flashing
- Repair: Full roof replacement
- Settlement: Insurance paid $15,000 for complete tear-off and installation of new architectural shingles after $1,000 deductible.
Collapse Due to Weight of Ice and Snow
- Date of loss: January 5, 2023
- Cause: Heavy snowfall with over 2 feet of accumulation
- Damage: Middle section of roof decking caved in from excess snow load
- Repair: Replace collapsed rafters, decking, and shingles
- Settlement: Insurer paid $10,000 for covered repairs after $500 deductible.
Lightning Strike Causes Fire
- Date of loss: August 13, 2022
- Cause: Lightning strike ignited fire on roof
- Damage: Fire destroyed half the roof and resulted in significant water damage inside home
- Repair: Replace burned roof section and repair interior water damage
- Settlement: Insurance covered $20,000 to replace damaged roof and drywall after $2,500 deductible.
As you can see, the key is being able to prove the roof damage directly resulted from a covered cause of loss. Make sure you document damage from any storm, fire, or other mishap. Your home insurance adjuster will determine if the criteria for coverage is met based on the evidence you provide.
Tips for Getting Your Home Insurer to Cover a New Roof
If your roof has sustained significant damage, here are some tips to improve your chances of getting your home insurance claim approved for full replacement:
- Inspect annually – Catch issues early before repairs balloon into a full replacement. Insurers appreciate maintenance.
- Document damage – Take lots of photos showing damage to roof and the interior. Document the date and cause.
- Repair immediately – Fix any minor damage right away to prevent worsening issues. Don’t delay repairs.
- Know your policy – Understand what causes the insurer will cover so your expectations align with coverage.
- Get multiple estimates – Provide the insurance company with a few quotes to substantiate the cost.
- Check warranties – If the damaged roof section had remaining manufacturer or installation warranties, point that out.
- Highlight matching benefits – For a full replacement, note the advantage of consistent shingles across the entire roof.
- Appeal a denial – If your claim gets denied but you think it should be covered, push back politely with more proof.
With a little luck – and proper home insurance coverage – you won’t have to pay for roof repairs or replacement out of pocket. Just be prepared with thorough documentation and evidence showing the damage resulted from a covered peril.
Roof Replacement Costs to Expect
If your insurance claim for a new roof is approved, what can you expect to pay? Roof replacement costs vary greatly based on the size and pitch of your roof, materials used, and contractor rates in your area.
Here are some typical price ranges:
- Asphalt shingles: $4,000 – $10,000
- Metal roof: $10,000 – $20,000
- Flat roof replacement: $4,000 – $8,000
- Tile roof: $10,000 – $25,000
- Slate roof: $15,000 – $50,000
Keep in mind you will also need to pay your policy deductible. For roof replacement claims this is often $500 – $2,500 or higher. Get multiple bids from contractors to compare pricing. Discuss material grades and warranties to balance cost savings with quality.
The amount your insurance company will pay toward a new roof depends on your policy limits, depreciation, and the extent of covered damage. Contact your agent to find out more about your roof coverage.
Options for Financing a Roof Replacement
A new roof is a big ticket project. If your insurance won’t fully cover the costs or you have a high deductible, you may need to finance the portion you must pay yourself. Here are some options to fund a roof replacement:
- Savings – Tap your emergency fund or other savings earmarked for home repairs.
- Home equity loan or HELOC – Borrow against your home’s equity at better interest rates.
- Cash-out mortgage refinance – Refinance and take cash to pay for the new roof.
- Personal loan – Unsecured loans from banks or credit unions at lower rates than credit cards.
- Contractor financing – Some roofers offer financing for installments over 6, 12 or 18 months.
- Credit cards – Useful for smaller costs but high rates make this an expensive option.
- Family & friends – Ask for help from your support network to get affordable financing.
Compare multiple lenders and financing offers to find the best loan for your budget. Read all terms carefully and have a plan for timely repayment. With the right funding strategy, you can get the roof replacement you need even if insurance won’t cover the full cost.
When to Replace Your Roof
Since home insurance won’t pay for a new roof just because it’s old, it’s important to know the right time to replace it. Here are signs that indicate your roof is nearing the end of its useful life and should be budgeted for replacement:
- Age – Asphalt shingles last 15-30 years. Plan for a new roof once your existing one reaches that age threshold.
- Declining curb appeal – Missing, cracked or curling shingles make your home look shabby.
- Leaks – Water spots on your ceilings or wet attic insulation mean it could be time for a new roof.
- High energy bills – Poor insulation from an old worn-out roof can make cooling bills spike.
- Damage – Multiple repairs may indicate the whole roof needs replacing soon.
- Insurance denial – Being denied coverage for a leak makes the need for a new roof more urgent.
Ideally you’ll want to replace your roof before any major problems occur. Consult a roofer to inspect and provide a recommendation based on its current condition, expected longevity, and issues noted. Plan ahead for this major future expense so you aren’t caught off guard.
Alternatives to a Complete Roof Replacement
Does your roof really need to be completely torn off and replaced? Sometimes a less extensive fix may suffice:
- Roof repair – Replacing a few shingles, fixing flashings, and patching holes can extend the roof’s life at a minimal cost.
- Roof coating – Restoring an existing roof with elastomeric coating or sealant can add years of life.
- Roof overlay – Adding a new layer of shingles over your existing roof is cheaper than full replacement.
- Spot replacement – Only replace the oldest or most damaged sections of roof instead of the whole thing.
- Temporary repair – Use a tarp or other temporary waterproof patch if you can’t afford full repair costs right now.
Discuss affordable alternatives with a professional roofer. They can determine if a less expensive DIY repair or patch job may work, or if bite the bullet on full replacement to prevent future damage.
Key Takeaways on Home Insurance and Roof Replacement
Replacing your roof can be a major yet necessary expense for homeowners. Review these key points on getting home insurance to help pay for roof replacement:
- Home insurance covers roof repairs or replacement due to sudden damage from a covered cause of loss like wind, hail, fallen trees, snow collapse, or vandalism.
- Regular roof wear and tear or replacement due to old age is not covered. Insurance is not maintenance.
- You must provide evidence like photos and weather records showing roof damage directly resulted from a covered peril.
- Make temporary repairs immediately to prevent worsening damage. Delayed repairs may not be covered.
- An adjuster will inspect the roof and determine if the damage meets your policy’s criteria for coverage.
- You’ll need to pay your deductible amount before insurance will pay any costs.
- Financing may be needed if insurance won’t pay for a full roof replacement. Explore loans and other funding options.
With a strong insurance claim and the right financing, you can get through a roof replacement when you need to without breaking the bank. Just know that home insurance isn’t designed to pay for a roof replacement simply because it’s old and worn out. Regular roof maintenance and replacement costs are the responsibility of the homeowner.