These days, you can never be too prepared for the changing and unpredictable weather we seem to be getting. Windstorms, a prolonged snow season, hail and intense rain — all of these things can do damage to one’s home, and especially the roof.
Taking care of a roof doesn’t just mean inspections, maintenance and repairs, as well as a replacement every couple of decades. It also means having a good understanding of how the age and condition of your roof impact your homeowner’s insurance.
Here is some helpful advice to keep in mind regarding your roof and insurance. (For further, more in-depth information on your coverage, contact your insurance provider.)
The first thing to do if there has been damage to your home in a storm (after you call a roofer to begin repairs) is to call your insurance company to open a file. If there is damage to the roof, don’t delay! You will want repairs to begin immediately, there can be a domino effect of damage that will impact your home if the weather hasn’t cleared up.
What many homeowners might not understand is that the age of the roof can impact the claim limit coverage. That’s not to say that you will need or be expected to update your roof before its time in order to possibly get the most out of your claim should something happen to your roof. But you should know that adjustments will be made to your claim according to the age and condition of your roof.
If a roof is five years old with a life expectancy of 25 years, the insurance company will adjust its valuation to reflect the depreciation.
Another thing that is important to note: Don’t be surprised if some of the costs of your claim are not covered. For example, insurance policies typically don’t cover the tax. For a $45,000 claim, more than $2,000 of that might be a tax.
Insurance companies assess a roof’s value in a couple of different ways. One method is by using the actual cash value (ACV) model. This simple formula determines the value of an item and then subtracts the depreciation.
Some policies instead use a guaranteed replacement cost (GRC). The policy has a max limit, and only costs up to this limit will be reimbursed. Often, this only covers repairs and replacements and does not extend to replacing personal belongings.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is up to you to be familiar with your insurance policy and to be proactive in the event of damage to your property. While some people think that insurance is an inconvenience or expense that can be tough to swallow, that sentiment might change when a tree falls on your roof and the inside of your home is exposed to a rainstorm.
But depending on your insurance policy, you might be surprised by what is and isn’t covered. So prepare yourself — and take the steps needed to protect your family, your home and your belongings.