Will Texas Homeowner’s Insurance Pay for a New Roof?
That’s a question our East Texas customers ask pretty frequently, and it’s understandable. Month after month, year after year you pay your premiums, and you rarely if ever make a claim. It seems fair your insurance policy should cover you when you need to make major repairs.
A new roof is one of the biggest expenditures homeowners face. Some East Texans contact their adjuster when time for a roof replacement nears, and they receive an unpleasant surprise. For many people, roof age makes a difference in what insurance companies will pay toward a roof repair or roof replacement.
Homeowner’s Insurance and Roof Damage or Leaks
Your policy will most likely cover you if you need a new roof because of severe weather, fire or vandalism. No matter what the age of your roof, you’ll receive some reimbursement if the damage was caused by a sudden, unforeseen event.
In East Texas we have severe winds, intense thunderstorms and punishing hail. Tornados damage some structures every year. What insurers will reimburse you after an event depends on your policy and the age of your roof.
For example, if your roof is only a few years old, you’ll probably receive reimbursement for everything but your deductible. If, however, your roof is 20 years old, they may pay a reduced amount based on the benefit you have already received out of your roof. Insurance companies sometimes argue an older roof received years of wear and tear and was less able to resist storm damage.
Insurance will usually pay to fix roof leaks and the water damage they cause, but only if you get to them quickly. If you allow a roof to continue leaking, your adjuster could say you weren’t taking care of your responsibilities as a homeowner to take reasonable precautions and maintain your property.
Important Roof Coverage Terms
If your roof is older, will your insurance give you what it costs for a new one, or will they reduce that amount for the years of “good” you’ve already gotten from it? Really, that depends on the type of coverage you have.
Find out what you can expect from your roofing company by researching whether your roof is covered for Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV). Insurance companies sometimes offer lower premiums in exchange for covering a roof’s actual cash value.
If you pay for ACV coverage, insurance will pay you what it’s worth at the time of replacement. There’s depreciation involved, so the older your roof, the less you’ll receive.
If your policy is for RCV, there is no depreciation. Your insurance company will give you the amount it costs to replace your roof minus your deductible. You may pay higher premiums and have a higher deductible than with an ACV policy, but you don’t have a clock that’s always ticking.
An Old Roof Can Make Getting Insurance Difficult
Insurance companies know your roof is one of the most important parts of your home. If you have roofing problems, things can deteriorate quickly. When water gets in, extensive (and expensive) damage results and homeowners make bigger claims.
When your roof approaches the end of its lifespan, your insurance company may require you get a replacement before they renew your policy. They know if moisture penetrates, it could cause deterioration.
Sometimes prospective buyers fall in love with a home with an older roof, then run into problems nearing closing. Roof age comes up during a home inspection. If, like most buyers you’re getting financing to buy your home, you’re required to carry homeowner’s insurance. Insurance companies might refuse to cover your home, in which case your lender won’t provide a mortgage to complete the purchase. Either the seller will have to replace the roof or you’ll be unable to buy the home.
The good news is, a new roof almost always adds value to your home. If you’re looking at selling in the near future and you’ll have to replace your roof for buyers to get a loan, you’ll receive some of the money you spend back when you receive closer to your asking price.
A new roof will also beautify your home, and it may lower your insurance premiums.
How Old is an Old Roof?
Around 20 years, insurers start to balk. Shingles might last up to 40 years, but at that point, they’ve reached their half-life. Aging makes shingles start to get stiff and brittle. Some of the asphalt granules on them have worn and washed away. Your roof may still be good for decades, but insurance companies can refuse coverage.
Protect Yourself Before You Need to Make a Claim
Homeowners can be prepared when it comes time for roof replacement by doing these two things:
- Talk to your insurance company to review coverage. Know what they cover and what’s restricted. Add additional coverage as necessary.
- Have a reputable roofing company inspect your roof. Ask them for a written statement of its current condition. That way, if you experience hail or storm damage you have proof there were no preexisting conditions.
If Insurance Denies a Roof Replacement Claim
You might think it’s already too late. Your roof looked fine until for one reason or another you needed to file a claim. All of the sudden, your agent said your roof was too old and you found yourself facing a significant expense. If that has happened to you, give us a call.
We have worked with homeowners whose roof replacement claim was originally denied. It helps support your claim when you have a roofing expert on your side. Mistakes happen, and your adjuster may have just miscalculated your reimbursement estimate. Or, he may not understand the condition of your roof and the circumstances that led to your need for repair.
Understand why your agent denied your claim and eliminate easy problems. Gather additional information and evidence, then you can resubmit your request. We’ll help when you call us to schedule a free roofing evaluation today.