Don’t Raise the Roof – A Homeowner’s Guide to Roof Repairs

A roof is essential (well, duh!) and a good roof is a major investment designed to protect your home. Roofs must deliver worry-free and reliable performances for the long term. While a new roof must have a lifespan of over 20 years, it’s worth investing in high-quality materials and expert professionals to install your roof. But even if you take the utmost care in these areas, you could still end up with broken elements that you need to fix. Learn how to spend wisely once to secure the best outcomes when that happens. Most proper installations would mean no additional expenditure down the road.

A New Roof Is a Significant Investment

A new roof is a major project, as well as a big undertaking. It takes a lot of materials, time, labor, and more. That’s why many homeowners question whether a new roof is a good investment or not. While a new roof is a costly investment, it has several benefits that outweigh the initial cost. It’s also a powerful marketing tool, as it makes your home more appealing to buyers. It increases your home’s value, as it feeds into factors such as the buyers’ preferences, current market conditions, and your roof’s condition itself. It also saves energy as modern-day roofs have enhanced insulating abilities. It improves heat deflection. It also enhances your safety for obvious reasons.

What Can Go Wrong?

A leaky roof can cause irreparable damage to your home. Whether it’s water seeping in through your chimney, broken shingles, improperly sealed roof valleys, cracked roof vents, and ice dam leaks, there are many ways for water to make its way in. But you need to know how to seal these spaces without too much damage or expense. It’s usually in spring and summer that you must replace or fix your home’s roof. But for many homeowners, this is a daunting task. You may feel you’re not armed with enough credible information about the best choices to make, nor are they aware of who is the best contractor or installer to get the job done. On top of this, there are many insurance-related issues as well.

A Guide to Roof Repairs

Choose the right material for your roof. Do your research to make the right choice. Certain installers can only be experienced in dealing with a specific type of material. Others would push you to choose something that may not be in your best interest in the long term. After you’ve decided on your material, approach multiple installers and compare bids, experiences, claims, and project details. Ask them these key questions before signing any contract:

  • Have you and your company been in business for long?
  • What steps will you take to protect my property, home, and landscaping during the process?
  • Are you and your crew licensed, insured, and bonded?
  • Show some project samples or references from prior jobs.
  • What kind of verifiable safety, performance, and environmental standards, regulations, and testing does the manufacturer stick to?
  • What kind of product and installation warranties do you offer? Can you transfer them and how long are they going to last?
  • What are the performance ratings for the product under severe weather conditions or fire?
  • What’s your experience working with preferred roofing materials?
  • Does customer service support you and your manufacturer in the event an issue, problem, or question arises?
  • What’s the brand/manufacturer that you’ll be partnering with? Is there any public review of their materials? How long have they been around? How long is your association with them?
  • Are they a part of any industry-leading trade unions, such as the MRA?

Insurance Considerations for Homeowner’s Roof Replacement

A typical all-perils homeowner’s insurance policy covers your roof, along with the cost of replacing it. But normally, you’re only covered if the damage or destruction is the result of an accident or an act of nature. The problems that ensue from usual wear and tear or from a roof that’s exceeded its life span aren’t eligible for reimbursement as they fall under the general maintenance responsibility of the homeowner.

  • Most homeowner insurance policies cover roof replacement if the damage is the result of an act of nature or a sudden accidental event.
  • Most of these policies won’t pay to repair or replace a roof that’s gradually deteriorating due to neglect or wear and tear.
  • Roofs over 20 years old may not have complete coverage.
  • To ensure your claim gets approved, keep records of repairs, before-and-after photos, and other reports. Your insurance company must be notified whenever the damage occurs.

How Roof Coverage Works

As your roof has the most direct exposure to the elements, it has the most potential for damage. That can include damage from heavy snow, hail, ice, tornados, cyclones, gales, and hurricane winds. Mother Nature can be very destructive and create violent windstorms that topple trees onto your roof. There may be wildfires, and other unlikely incidents, such as random debris from an explosion. It may sound weird but all these are possible occurrences.

The roof is an integral structure of your home, as is the dwelling coverage section of your homeowner’s insurance policy. Damage and destruction from such events qualify the homeowner for a partial or a total replacement of the roof. This coverage is also usually curtailed for roofs over 20 years old. These may only be insured for their actual cash value, not their replacement cost. You’ll have to pay your policy deductible before your coverage kicks in. Find out your policy’s details and whether they have a higher deductible for damages that ensure from hailstorms, hurricanes, etc. Residents that want additional coverage or a separate windstorm insurance policy would have to seek that out.

Special Considerations for Roof Coverage

If any dramatic event causes dramatic changes, your roof will come crashing down. It would have a major hole in it or would be torn off entirely. That’s the likeliest situation in that you would get coverage. The most problematic instances are when the damage is less dramatic, even if an act of nature caused it. Say a violent thunderstorm notches a bunch of your roof’s shingles. Then you’d need to classify that as a cosmetic change and not cover it.

But if there’s an aforementioned storm, you’ll notice your roof is leaky since the rains would have triggered it. The insurance company might then claim that there’s a general wear-and-tear problem. That would reflect on your roof’s gradual deterioration. Additionally, water damage caused by a leaking roof to your floors, walls, or furniture would be covered under the all-perils section of your policy, but the roof repair wouldn’t be.

Getting Reimbursed for Roof Replacement

Age is not your roof’s friend unless it’s made of long-lasting material. A roof depreciates each year, and insurers wouldn’t cover highly depreciated roofs. Other possible policy exclusions include improper maintenance, neglect, certain expensive materials like cedar, and roofs with over two layers of material. Give yourself the best chance at having your insurance company reimburse you by collecting all the necessary information. Then partner up with an experienced insurance agency like ours to get the most out of your policy!