Your Roof is a Top Priority of Your Home Insurance.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Your roof is the first line of defense that protects you and your family from major damage and damage claims once it’s breached.It protects against wind, hail, wildfire and more. In more than 90 percent of hail or high-wind claims, there is a payout relative to the roof cover.

The price of your home insurance is based on the soundness of your roof’s construction and what it will cost to replace it. Note also that premium incentives and disincentives for roof types vary widely by company and location.

If you live near a wildfire zone, you will pay more if your roof is made of cedar shakes compared to asphalt shingles that are flame-retardant, or a metal roof that doesn't burn. Check with your home insurance agent before you build or replace your roof to see what impact your roofing type might have on your premium.

Pros: This least expensive roofing material is lightweight, fire-resistant, economical to install, available in a variety of colors. However, the old roof must first be removed.

It’s important to know that most insurance companies will not insure a house with two layers of shingles.  Asphalt over wood is a big no-no. Any material installed over wood is unacceptable because the overlaid roof will not hold and stay on.

Cons: Shingles fade, become brittle, attract mold and mildew, and may blow off in high winds.

It’s good to know that shingles age more than any other roof types, and color is a big factor. The lighter the shingle, the slower it's going to age. Also, lightweight shingles are preferred over heavier roof options in seismic areas, where roofing can be damaged by earthquake movement of the building parts beneath.

Although wind, rain, and hail are covered by your home insurance policy, there are many factors that determine if your damage will be covered, and if so, how much you will be reimbursed.

Some policies take the age of your roof into account at the time it is damaged. For example, if your roof is under 10 years old, you may be covered for the full cost of repairing or replacing the damaged section of your roof at the time of the claim.

If your roof is over 10 years old, you may only be reimbursed for the depreciated value of the damaged roof. The depreciated value takes the aging and wearing of your roof into account, meaning its value has decreased prior to any damage occurring. You need to check with your agent to know if this applies to the policy you have.

If your roof is over 16 years old, depending on the type of policy you have, some only offer damage coverage on a depreciated value.

Depending on where you live, some policies will only offer roof damage coverage up to the depreciated value, regardless of the age of your roof. Other policies will cover the full cost of repairing or replacing the damaged section of your roof at the time of the claim, regardless of the age of your roof.

In most cases, your insurance company will send an inspector to your home to investigate and verify your claim. If the damage is determined to be from aging, wear and tear, or poor condition of your roof, it will typically be considered normal maintenance, and will not be covered under your policy.

Overall, it's important to remember that all insurance companies cover roof and exterior property damage differently. Even the same company can vary coverage drastically by state or the age of your roof or property. Policies also differ in coverage limits, deductibles and certain exclusions. The only way to be certain of what your policy covers, is to speak with your insurance provider about the details.

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