Homeowner’s Insurance and Your Roof

rooferclimbingInsurance companies consider your roof to be the most important part of your house.  Why? The roof is the greatest barrier to protecting the rest of your home from harsh weather elements such as high wind, hail and water.  Therefore, insurance companies have a vested interest in making sure your roof meets certain requirements, while also requiring additional policy endorsements that minimize their financial risks.

Materials

Often insurance companies will refuse to cover certain materials.  For instance, if you live in a wildfire prone area, they most likely will not cover cedar shakes since they burn easily.  They may require flame retardant materials to be used instead such as asphalt shingles or metal roofs.  Working with a licensed professional is key to ensuring that all materials being used during your roof replacement will meet the local code, while still meeting the requirements for your insurance policy. 

Location

For areas that are subjected to specific weather elements, an insurance company may require additional coverage to an existing policy.  Homes along the coastal areas often require additional endorsements due to the increased predictability of high wind damage that hurricanes cause. It is important to understand what additional costs for coverage you could incur prior to purchasing a home near the water.

Unpredictable Scenarios

Many companies are moving to ‘actual cash value’ policies versus paying for the full replacement costs. This is another way for insurance companies to minimize their financial risk for weather related damage that may be unpredictable and cause massive damage.  A hail storm is a good example of an unpredictable scenario, which can happen anywhere and cause a varying degree of issues. 

What does this mean for your wallet?

If your coverage is for ‘actual cash value’, the insurance company looks at the age of your roof to determine the amount of money you are given to put towards the repairs or replacement of your roof.  This can be a real shock to many homeowners who did not read the “fine print” of their policy and thought they were fully covered.  It can be especially surprising if their roof is older and they only receive a fraction of what it costs for true repairs or replacement.

You will want to closely examine your policy to understand if it covers a flat deductible or if it will require a percentage-based deductible.  For a $25,000 roof replacement, you could have $2,500 out of pocket costs with a percentage-based deductible of 10%.  Contrastingly, in this scenario, having a flat $1,000 deductible would minimize your out of pocket costs.

It is important to talk to your insurance agent or broker regarding your coverage on a yearly basis to fully understand policy changes before needing to make a claim for roof damage.  Due to the often changing insurance industry, shopping around might make sense to make sure you have adequate coverage based on your personal situation.

This information is not intended to replace your insurance policy language or local code requirements.  You should seek guidance from your insurance professional regarding your specific coverage and requirements.

Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help you with all of your roofing needs, from roof replacement to roof maintenance.  Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

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