We don’t seem to worry too much about the roof until a storm blows through town, leaving a trail of damage in its wake. It’s wise to keep an eye on your roof’s condition no matter the weather and take time to maintain it properly year-round. You should also give your insurance agent a call to see what kind of damage your policy may cover – before the next storm wreaks havoc in your neighborhood. While insurance policies may not be completely the same, they often share a lot of similarities. Here’s what you can expect when it comes to general roof damage and what your policy may cover:
What Types of Roof Damage Will Your Insurance Probably Cover?
Your insurance policy should cover damage that your roof sustains due to what’s called “named perils.” These refer to the specific types of events that cause damage or loss, such as fire or vandalism. Your policy should either include a “named perils” policy list that outlines exactly what is covered, or it may include something called an “open perils” (or “all perils”) policy, which will list what your coverage excludes. It’s crucial that you read your insurance policy so you know what is and isn’t covered.
Here are the named perils that are usually included in a typical homeowners insurance policy:
- Electrical surge
- Fire, including house fire, wildfire, and smoke
- Volcanic eruption
- Crimes including vandalism and theft
- Damage incurred from a vehicle or aircraft
- Falling objects such as a tree branch
- Freezing, bursting, or overflowing of pipes, a sprinkler system, etc.
- Heavy buildup of snow, ice, or sleet
- Some water damage, excluding flooding
- Wind and hail*
*Some policies are beginning to exclude wind and hail due to their ubiquitous nature, so make sure to ask your insurance agent if these perils are included in your policy!
What About Leaks?
It depends. Your insurance policy will more than likely cover damage caused by leaks if it happened due to a covered peril. For instance, if you experienced a leak as a result of damage from a tornado or fire, your policy should have you covered and may help pay for repairs. However, if a lack of maintenance or an older roof is to blame for the leak, you could find yourself out of luck. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your roof throughout the years.
Which Questions Will My Insurance Agent Probably Ask Me?
When you file a claim, your insurance agent will more than likely have a handful of questions to determine if they can cover your claim. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- What caused the damage? If the original cause of roof damage came from natural disasters, criminal activity, or an accidental fire, your policy may cover you. If wear and tear or a lack of maintenance is to blame, it’s quite likely that your policy will deny your claim.
- How old is the roof? Your roof’s age plays a big factor when it comes to filing a claim. Generally, if a roof is 10 years old or less, it is considered new and has a greater chance of being covered. If it or the lower layers are too old (about 20 years or more), your insurance policy may not cover your claim.
- What was the condition of your roof before it was damaged? If you can prove that your roof was in good condition before it was damaged, you have a better chance of having your claim covered. When appropriate, photos and videos often can help your case.
When Might My Insurance Not Cover My Roof Damage?
There are a few instances in which your roof damage might not be covered by your insurance policy. Here are a few of the most common reasons:
- The damage was your fault.Again, if the damage or malfunction looks like it was caused by a failure on your part to provide regular maintenance, your insurance policy will probably not cover the damage. Additionally, if you attempt to make any repairs yourself and make matters worse, your policy may still not cover the damages sustained.
- Your roof is made out of certain materials. Sometimes insurance policies refuse to cover damage if your roof is made out of materials they deem to be too risky to cover such as wood or slate.
- The damage was caused by a peril that isn’t included on your policy. While insurance policies often cover several named perils, there are a few that are either not covered or are excluded altogether. These include flooding, earth movements such as earthquakes and landslides, most mold and mildew problems, pest infestation, sewer backup, and nuclear leaks or explosions.
- You waited too long to file a claim. What many people don’t realize is that most insurance companies require claims to be filed within 6 months to 1 year of the storm date. If you receive damage from a storm or other named peril, make sure you call your agent as soon as possible!
Trust Ferguson Roofing to Get the Job Done Right!
Spring is prime time for popup showers and inclement weather. Call the trusted professionals at Ferguson Roofing to inspect and repair your roof before the next storm arrives! You can reach us at (314) 521-6917!