Your roof is, quite literally, hanging over your head whenever you’re inside your residence. As a homeowner, you need to take good care of this important part of the house, which means understanding what your homeowners policy includes (and what it doesn’t) in the event of damage or decay.
Homeowners need to ask themselves two important questions according to Paul K. Improta, CPIA, AAI, LUTCF at Connecticut’s Underwriters, Inc. Is your roof properly insured? Or are you carrying more risk than you realize?
Generally speaking, Improta says if an unavoidable event like vandalism damages your roof, your homeowners insurance should cover it; however, if it’s determined the damage was caused by something within your control, like neglected maintenance, that’s where things get tricky.
Improta says factors that influence your coverage could include:
– Age of your house and roof: Once a roof has passed its life expectancy, your coverage may be reduced or eliminated.
– Roofing materials: Premium shingles, like those made of slate, may not be covered.
– Your location: In some cases, replacement coverage is available for roofs. In others, you’ll only be reimbursed for what the roof was worth at the time it was damaged.
– Type of damage: Weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes are usually covered, but wind or hail alone may not be.
Maintenance matters, too! Improta says homeowners can more easily respond to minor issues before they result in major damage by conducting a roof inspection twice a year.
That involves carefully checking the state of shingles and examine gutters, flashing and ventilation. Also, look for leaks and water damage inside and out, especially after big storms.
Chris Jurin at thespruce.com says one of the other most common roof component problems involves the fascia—a band running horizontally and situated vertically under a roof edge.
Jurin says moisture is the No. 1 cause of problems with your fascia so be sure to look for signs of rot or damage. Contact a roofing contractor immediately if you notice an issue.
The bottom line, Improta says, is don’t make the costly mistake of assuming any and all roof damage will be covered by your homeowners insurance.
You can avoid problems if and when they happen by double-checking your policy for specifics about your coverage and reaching out to your agent or homeowners carrier if you have questions.