Roof Damage | Roof Replacement | Insurance
Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Your Roof Replacement?
Imagine this scenario. A strong storm is blowing through your area. Before you know it, you have to get into your home’s safe space because of a tornado warning.
It’s so loud you can hear the strong winds and feel the thunder shake your home. But as soon as the storm comes, it starts to die down. You and your family are safe. But what about the damage outside?
You go outside expecting the worst and get it with extensive roof damage. There are full sections of shingles missing and a tree limb landed on your roof.
No matter what damage the storm caused, your roof (even your home) is now compromised. This situation is stressful enough, but you’ll also have to call your insurance company to determine the next step. Your stress keeps rising because you’re wondering if homeowners insurance will even cover your roof damage.
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand all aspects of filing an insurance claim for roof damage. Now, I’ll get you started by breaking down if homeowners insurance covers a roof replacement and more.
This article answers the following questions:
- Will homeowners insurance cover your roof replacement?
- Will homeowners insurance cover the full cost of your roof replacement?
- What happens if homeowners insurance doesn’t give you enough to cover a full roof replacement?
- Do you have to pay your deductible when homeowners insurance covers your roof replacement?
Will homeowners insurance cover your roof replacement?
So, let’s start with the first question. Yes, homeowners insurance will cover your roof replacement.
(Left: hail damage; Right: wind damage)
But only if the roof damage was caused by extreme weather like straight-line winds (aka damaging winds) during heavy thunderstorms, hail storms, snowstorms, and tornados. They’ll also cover roof damage from fallen tree limbs caused by strong storms.
If there’s extensive damage to your roof, then there should be no question that it’ll be covered. However, it’ll be what the insurance adjuster finds during their inspection if your roof is worthy of a full replacement.
But as long as the damage is caused by extreme weather, your homeowner’s insurance should cover your roof and pay to replace it.
Will your homeowners insurance cover the full cost of your roof replacement?
Now you know that homeowners insurance will cover a roof replacement in the event of storm damage. However, your policy determines if they’ll cover the full cost.
You’ll have one of two insurance policies: Actual Cash Value or Replace Cost Value. Each means the insurance company gives you money for a roof replacement, but the amount is very different.
Actual Cash Value policy
An Actual Cash Value (ACV) policy means homeowners insurance gives you the depreciated value of your roof. This policy only gives you an amount for what your roof is valued at today.
This will not be enough to cover the cost of a full roof replacement. You’ll use the depreciated amount upfront and pay the difference out-of-pocket.
Unfortunately, you can find a roofing contractor willing to do it for the amount your ACV policy gives. However, this guarantees you’ll get the cheapest materials and labor available in your area.
But a cheap roof equals cheaper quality and labor, which sets your roof investment up for premature failure from the beginning.
Replacement Cost Value policy
A Replacement Cost Value (RCV) policy ensures homeowners insurance gives you what it costs to replace your roof with a brand-new version of itself. Unlike an ACV policy, homeowners insurance is supposed to give you enough to cover a full roof replacement with an RCV policy.
You’ll get the first check for the actual cost value of your roof while they hold back the recoverable depreciation. After your roof is replaced and you provide proof that it was done per the claim, they’ll send a second check that covers most or the rest of the cost.
Keep in mind that homeowners insurance only pays to restore your new roof to a brand-new version of itself. If you want to add upgrades to certain areas, like going from 3-tab asphalt shingles to architectural asphalt shingles, you’ll cover the difference.
Unfortunately, homeowners insurance rarely gives you enough for a full roof replacement, even with an RCV policy. However, you do have options if this happens.
What happens if insurance doesn’t give you enough to cover your full roof replacement?
As I said, there’s the possibility that homeowners insurance won’t give you enough to cover the cost of a full roof replacement. This is because they leave off crucial line items, labor costs, overhead, and other things a roofer needs to do the job right while also being profitable.
If this happens, you have a few different options if the insurance company doesn’t give you enough money to cover a full roof replacement.
The first option is putting in the time and energy to supplement your claim. This ultimately falls on you to put in the time and effort to get the line items fully covered.
Speaking from 30 years of experience dealing with claims, insurance companies listen to policy owners way better than they listen to roofing companies. However, a reputable roofing contractor will provide tools and/or verbiage to help you do this.
If you don’t want to deal with supplementing, your next option is using the insurance money to pay for as much as possible and make up the difference out of pocket. Even though insurance doesn’t cover the full amount, you’ll still get a large portion covered.
The last option is to finance your roof replacement and make payments like a car loan. This option lets you do what you want with the insurance money while making monthly payments like a normal loan.
The truth is, it’s rare to get the full amount of your roof replaced covered upfront. So, it’s important to pick the option that works for your situation and budget.
Do you have to pay your deductible when homeowners insurance covers your roof replacement?
Now that you know your options if homeowners insurance doesn’t give you enough money, you need to know about what happens with your deductible. No matter what you hear, read, or what a roofing company says, you must pay your deductible when your claim is approved for a roof replacement.
Some roofing companies go around offering to pay deductibles, but this is illegal. Not only is it illegal, but it’s straight-up fraud.
Even with this information, some homeowners jump at the opportunity for a roofing company to pay their deductible. Saving money where you can is important, but having a roofing company pay your deductible is not worth committing fraud.
What do you need to know about the insurance claim process for roof damage?
Now you know if homeowners insurance covers a roof replacement, how the policy determines how much they cover, what happens if they don’t give you enough, and that you must pay your deductible. After reading this article, you’re ready to determine if filing an insurance claim is worth your time.
But before reaching out to your insurance company, there are some things you need to know about the actual process. The last thing you want is to go into the process without knowing what you’re getting into.
That’s why I wrote another article breaking down the main things every homeowner needs to know about filing an insurance claim.
Check out 5 Things You Need to Know About the Insurance Process for Roof Damage before filing a claim with your homeowners insurance company.