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Will Insurance Cover a 20-year-old Roof?

October 18th, 2023 | 6 min. read

Will Insurance Cover a 20-year-old Roof?

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If your roof reached the 20-year mark with no problems, you got the ROI expected from a quality installation. But a 20-year-old roof is on the older side, especially for the typical asphalt shingle roof.

Unfortunately, insurance companies take note when a roof gets close to the end of its lifespan. So, imagine the surprise homeowners experience when they see coverage changes because of their roof. 

But why the change? Does insurance just not cover a 20-year-old roof?

For over 30 years, Bill Ragan Roofing has bridged the information gap between the roofing industry and insurance. That’s why I’ll break down how insurance coverage is affected by an older roof. 

This article answers the following questions:

  • Will insurance cover a 20-year-old roof?
  • How does the roofing material affect insurance coverage on a 20-year-old roof?
  • Will insurance pay for a full roof replacement?

Will insurance cover a 20-year-old roof?

Every insurance company is different, so how they handle an older roof varies. Some won’t provide coverage on a 20-year-old roof, period. 

aged 3 tab asphalt shingle roof(Old 3-tab asphalt shingle roof)

They’ll tell you to get a replacement, or the roof is ineligible for coverage. This is especially true if you have an older 3-tab asphalt shingle roof, which is susceptible to wind damage. 

On the other hand, some require an inspection and then only offer an Actual Cash Value policy (more on this later) if it passes. The truth is that insurance companies don’t want to assume the risk of an older roof that needs a replacement in the near future. 

A roof replacement is expensive, and recent weather trends have increased insurance claims, leading to heavy losses. Because of this, insurance companies are tightening their coverage options, limiting payouts, and even denying obvious claims

How does the roofing material affect insurance coverage on a 20-year-old roof?

The above information assumes you have a 3-tab or architectural asphalt shingle roof. This is because asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material, so there's a good chance you have them installed on your home.

But while 20 years is considered old for an architectural asphalt shingle roof, it isn’t for other roofing materials. This makes a roof “old” relative to the type of roofing material.

Because of this, the roofing material can affect whether insurance covers a 20-year-old roof. Let’s look at an example using architectural asphalt shingles and a metal roof. 

With a lifespan of around 22-25 years, a 20-year-old architectural asphalt shingle is considered near the end of its lifespan. While 20 years is old for an architectural asphalt shingle roof, it isn’t for a steel standing seam metal roof

steel standing seam metal roof

In fact, 20 years is around the halfway point for this type of metal roof’s stated lifespan. This means you should have no problem getting coverage on a 20-year-old metal roof. 

As I said, though, there’s a good chance you have architectural asphalt shingles like most homeowners. However, knowing how the roofing material impacts coverage is still important. 

Will insurance pay for a full roof replacement? 

Insurance will provide a payout for a new roof if a covered peril damages it. But whether they’ll pay for a full roof replacement depends on the type of insurance policy

Let’s say insurance provided coverage on your 20-year-old roof but only for Actual Cash Value. With an ACV policy, you only get the depreciated value of your roof as it stands at the time of the claim. 

Unfortunately, this will never be enough to fully cover the cost of a roof replacement. Now, let’s say your roof is only 10 years old and covered by a Replacement Cost Value policy. 

If you have a viable claim, an RCV policy is supposed to give you enough to cover a full roof replacement. However, they’ll only pay to restore it to a brand-new version of itself using the same materials (if available).

Unfortunately, insurance rarely gives you enough for a full roof replacement initially, even with an RCV policy. But if you put in the time to supplement your claim, you can get most or all of it covered. 

What kind of roof damage does insurance actually cover?

Now you know if insurance covers a 20-year-old roof and if they’ll pay for a roof replacement. If you do have coverage, you’ll get a payout of some kind if your roof has damage. 

Now, you won’t get a new roof through insurance just because your current one is leaking. To get your claim approved, your roof must fall victim to a covered peril (roof damage). 

Unfortunately, some homeowners get confused about what constitutes a viable roof damage insurance claim. Even if you have a viable claim, you need to know how to spot it to determine if it’s worth filing. 

That’s why I wrote another article breaking down the roof damage insurance covers and what it looks like. 

Check out What Kind of Roof Damage is Covered by Insurance to learn what’s covered, what to do about it, and more.

storm damage checklist

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