The Link Between the Age of Your Roof and Your Insurance Coverage
Your roof is the most exposed part of your house to the elements, which makes it a primary focus of your home insurance coverage. This is also why the age of your roof factors so heavily into your coverage. As your roof ages, its value depreciates. This will affect your monthly insurance premium as well as the payout you can expect to receive from your provider, especially if you live in an area that often experiences inclement weather.
So if your roof is old…for example if you have a 20-year-old roof…here is a list of insurance coverage topics you need to consider:
Repair and Replacement Costs
If you have an older roof and you need to repair or replace it, most insurance carriers will pay you the actual value of the roof at the time of the repair, as opposed to the total cost of repair or replacement. In 2012, Allstate established a program in Oklahoma that limited the claims payout for older roofs.
From a business standpoint, it makes sense for providers to do this. Put simply, old roofs can be a money drain.
Actual Cost Value vs. Replacement Cost Coverage
You have a choice between two types of claims when you insure your roof: actual cost value (ACV) and replacement cost coverage (RCC). An ACV will pay you the value of your roof at the time you took out your insurance, minus depreciation. An RCC, on the other hand, will pay you the total cost of repair or replacement, provided you adhere to the stipulated time period for doing corrective work.
Monthly Insurance Premiums
Generally speaking, older roofs fetch higher premiums. But some insurance carriers may not even grant coverage at all if a roof has exceeded its expected service life.
What Can You Do About It?
We know it’s frustrating. We’ve seen a homeowners disappointed upon discovering that their policy was not as comprehensive as they thought it would be. Fortunately, if you’re just about to replace your roof or purchase a new home, there are some measures you can adopt to maximize your insurance policy and make sure it truly benefits you.
- Be conscious about choosing more durable roofing materials. Asphalt shingles, for instance, are not as good a roofing material as, say, slate or metal because they are more prone to age-induced wear and tear.
- Declare an accurate roof age. During underwriting, most homeowners make the mistake of just estimating their roof’s age. While this is not a bad thing in itself, some companies will still request an inspection, which should ultimately benefit all stakeholders. Commissioning a third-party agent will ensure that you won’t run the risk of overestimating your roof age or shortchange the coverage computation.
- Shop around for a fair and comprehensive policy. Methods for assessing roof age-related liabilities and computing premiums and payouts vary from carrier to carrier. Some companies require home inspections before they give you a quote, while others are firm about not insuring roofs that are more than 15 years old. Do some research to find a policy that suits your needs.
- Be proactive about catching and repairing damage. Roof aging can’t be prevented, but unchecked damage can significantly shorten a roof’s service life, not to mention compromise the structural integrity of your home. Preventive and corrective maintenance will give you more leverage in future insurance claims.
Steve Katchmark is a passionate home improvement contractor and owner of Katchmark, a company dedicated in providing quality services for roofs, windows, and doors. He loves spending time with his family on the weekends and play golf. Aside from this, he also enjoys blogging about his experiences, knowledge, and tips about the industry in order to help people.