Does homeowners insurance cover roof replacement?

If your roof is damaged beyond repair by a fire, thunderstorm, or other covered peril, home insurance will cover the cost of roof replacement.

Pat Howard 1600Kara McGinley

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Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

&Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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By

Britta M. Moss

Britta M. Moss

Property & casualty claim consultant and expert witness

Britta M. Moss, CPCU, SCLA, AIC-M, has over 25 years of insurance industry experience. In her work as a property and casualty claim consultant, she provides consultation and expert witness services in claim handling standards, practices, and norms.  She has been retained by law firms representing plaintiffs and those representing insurer defendants involved in disputes or litigation regarding coverage analysis, investigation, liability determination, damage evaluation, negotiation and settlement.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University. 

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With your home’s roof being one of the most expensive parts of your house to repair out of pocket, you’re probably wondering: Does homeowners insurance cover roof replacement? 

The short answer? Yes. Most home insurance companies will pay to replace your roof if it’s damaged beyond repair by fire, heavy winds, hail, or another peril that's covered by your policy.

But if your roof collapses due to general wear and tear or poor maintenance, your insurance company won’t cover repairs. And coverage is also typically limited if your roof is more than 20 years old.

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Roof insurance: What you need to know

A standard home insurance policy will pay to replace your roof if it’s damaged beyond repair by a fire, tornado, hurricane, ice storm, or other covered hazard. However, you won’t be able to file a claim if the cause of your roof damage is due to lack of maintenance on your part or just general wear and tear, like a gradual roof leak. In addition, the age of your roof will also play a role in your claim reimbursement.

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What kind of roof damage is covered by insurance?

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What kind of roof damage might not be covered?

  • General wear and tear due to the roof’s age

  • Gradual damage from lack of roof maintenance

  • Earthquake

  • Flooding

  • Potential wind or hail exclusions (common in tornado and hurricane-prone states)

Keep in mind that there are some exceptions to roof coverage, depending on the type and severity of the damage.

For example, if a few shingles on your roof had slight nicks in them after a hail storm, your home insurance company may classify it as cosmetic damage and exclude it from coverage.

Another exception comes in the form of ice dam coverage. While your dwelling coverage will typically cover roof damage caused by ice dams and water, your personal property inside the home typically won’t be covered. 

How the age of your roof affects what's covered by insurance 

One of the biggest factors that plays a role in whether your home insurance company pays for roof replacement is its age and condition.

If you indicate that your roof is over 20 years old on your home insurance application, most insurance companies will require it to pass an inspection. Other insurers simply won’t write new policies for homes with roofs that are 15 or 20 years old. And if they do, they’ll specify that it’s only covered at its actual cash value — meaning depreciation is factored into your final payout.

Here’s an example of how the age of your roof plays a role in your claim payout, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. [1]

5-year-old roof

10-year-old roof

20-year-old roof

Actual cash value of roof

$8,500

$7,000

$4,000

Policy deductible

$4,000

$4,000

$4,000

Claim payout to replace roof

$4,500

$3,000

$0

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Real-life examples of roof replacement and home insurance

Here are two examples of when your home insurance company would likely pay to replace your roof — and when it wouldn't.

Covered: An ice storm causes your roof to cave in

Say a bad ice storm causes your roof to cave in — at no fault of your own. You can file a claim with your homeowners insurance, pay your deductible, and then your insurer will kick in the remaining costs to replace your roof. 

Not covered: Overgrown branches destroy your roof

Say it’s been years since you trimmed the trees hanging over your roof. A bad rainstorm occurs, causing branches to fall on your roof and severely damage it. Your home insurance company likely won’t cover the cost of repairs since you’re ultimately responsible for the damage due to your lack of roof maintenance.

Does roof damage come with separate deductibles?

Sometimes. Homeowners in states that experience frequent tornadoes or hurricanes often have to pay a separate deductible for damage to their home and roof caused by wind or hail.

Wind and hail deductibles

Separate wind and hail deductibles are common in states where tornadoes and windstorms are prevalent, including parts of Tornado Alley like Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. You’re typically given the option to set your deductible at 1% to 10% of your home’s dwelling coverage limits.

This means if your home is insured for $300,000 and your wind and hail deductible is 1%, you’d have to pay $3,000 out of pocket before your insurer will cover the cost to replace your roof.

Hurricane deductibles

Homeowners in coastal states prone to hurricanes and tropical storms like Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina are often required to pay a separate named storm or hurricane deductible — similar to wind and hail deductibles.

Hurricane deductibles are often only “triggered” if a hurricane or tropical storm is officially named and declared by the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane deductibles can be 1% to 5% (but sometimes as high as 10%) of your home’s insured value.

How to get insurance to pay for roof replacement 

If you notice damage to your roof, be sure to contact your insurer immediately. To get insurance to pay for a new roof, you’ll want to do the following: 

  • Hire a roofing company to make temporary repairs. Not only does roof damage create unwanted access points in your house, but you’re also risking further damage to everything inside.

  • Gather evidence of your claim. Take before and after photos of your roof, and keep all receipts of any work you've had done on your roof.

  • File an insurance claim. You might be able to do this over the phone through your agent, online, or through a mobile app — depending on your insurance company.

  • Schedule an appointment with your insurance claims adjuster. They'll survey the damage and decide if your claim is approved or not.

If your claim is approved, your insurer will reimburse you for the cost of roof repairs or replacement. You’ll first have to pay your deductible before your insurance coverage will pay out for a new roof or repairs.

How the age of your roof impacts your home insurance rates

One benefit of investing in a roof replacement is you'll typically be rewarded with lower home insurance premiums.

Here's how much you stand to save on your home insurance rates by replacing your roof:

Company

Average annual cost with old roof

Average annual cost with new roof

Savings

Nationwide

$1,907

$1,482

$425

Allstate

$1,765

$1,441

$324

ASI Progressive

$1,818

$1,534

$284

American Family

$1,795

$1,514

$281

Auto-Owners Insurance

$1,499

$1,348

$151

Methodology: Annual rates are based on our analysis of home insurance premiums provided by Quadrant Information Services in March 2022 for ZIP codes in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. Annual rates for old roofs are calculated by averaging the cost of policies for a roof that's 10 years old, 15 years old, and 20 years old with each carrier.

How to protect your roof from damage

A good way to keep your insurance costs down and protect your roof is to storm-proof it by installing impact-resistant shingles that are resistant to both cosmetic and functional damage. Not only will this limit the amount of claims you file, saving you time and money, but many insurance companies offer wind mitigation discounts for homeowners who have impact-resistant roofing.

You should also check if your insurance company offers any endorsements or additional roof coverages. Nationwide’s better roof replacement endorsement, for example, will pay to replace your roof with stronger and safer materials if it’s damaged by a covered peril.

Regular maintenance checks of your roof will also help keep it in good shape, especially if you live in an area that experiences severe weather.

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Frequently asked questions

Does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks?

Homeowners insurance will cover your leaky roof if the leak was caused by a peril that’s covered in your policy. It may also cover a roof leak if the damage was swift, sudden, and didn’t accumulate over a number of years. However, determining the cause of the leak is often contentious and it may be difficult to prove that the fracturing of the roof was sudden and not the result of years of wear and tear.

Can I keep insurance money from my roof claim?

It’ll depend on the insurance company, but if you properly used your claim payout to fix or replace your roof and you have some money leftover after, your insurer may let you pocket the excess money. However, claim payouts may go directly to your mortgage lender or a contractor to make the repairs, so it might not be in your control.

Can you get homeowners insurance with a bad roof?

You may be able to find insurance companies with “flexible” coverage options for bad roofs, but usually the coverage is lower quality and more expensive.

What if a squirrel causes sudden damage to my roof?

If a squirrel causes sudden damage to your roof — say it gnawed on your home’s wiring and caused a fire — that would likely be covered by your home insurance policy. However, most policies won't cover the large holes that a family of squirrels gnawed on your roof over time that caused gradual leaks and water damage.

References

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  1. Texas Department of Insurance

    . "

    Home policies: Replacement cost or actual cash value?

    ." Accessed August 23, 2022.

Authors

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Expert reviewer

Property & casualty claim consultant and expert witness

Britta M. Moss

Property & casualty claim consultant and expert witness

gray linkedin icon link

Britta M. Moss, CPCU, SCLA, AIC-M, has over 25 years of insurance industry experience. In her work as a property and casualty claim consultant, she provides consultation and expert witness services in claim handling standards, practices, and norms.  She has been retained by law firms representing plaintiffs and those representing insurer defendants involved in disputes or litigation regarding coverage analysis, investigation, liability determination, damage evaluation, negotiation and settlement.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University. 

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