Does homeowners insurance cover roof damage?

When it comes to roof damage, homeowners insurance can help you reduce out-of-pocket expenses. However, not everything is covered. Here’s what homeowners need to know about roof damage coverage. (iStock)

There’s no doubt that home insurance can be complicated. Knowing what kind of coverage you have for different situations — such as sustained damage to your roof — and how much you have, can be difficult to understand. 

That’s why it’s better to be prepared. Here’s what homeowners should be familiar with when it comes to what roof damage will be covered under certain insurance policies and what that insurance provides. 


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Does homeowners insurance cover roof damage?

Dwelling coverage is part of your homeowners insurance policy that helps protect your roof and the structure of your home from covered perils that may damage your property. You’ll likely be reimbursed by your insurer if you file a claim for roof damage caused by:

  • Fire/smoke
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Vandalism
  • Explosions
  • Lightning strikes
  • Theft
  • Snow/ice buildup
  • Falling objects, such as a tree
  • Damage from an aircraft
  • Damage from a motor vehicle

What your insurance company will pay for depends on the limits and deductibles in your homeowners insurance policy. The limit is the maximum amount your insurer will pay toward a covered loss, while your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your policy kicks in. When deciding your dwelling coverage limit, it’s recommended that it be based on the cost of rebuilding your home.  


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What kind of roof damage isn't covered by insurance?

Your insurance company will generally cover the cost of repairing roof leaks and damages up to the limit of your policy. However, there are circumstances in which insurers won't fully cover the cost of damages or for roof replacement.

Damage occurring because of lack of maintenance, and general roof wear and tear are often not covered, and your claim will likely be denied by your insurance company. Roof damage caused by you or an inexperienced roofer may not qualify for coverage either.

There are also restrictions depending on the age of your roof and types of roofing. Taking depreciation into account, an older roof may typically be covered up to its cash value if it needs to be replaced from a covered loss. Be mindful of what roofing materials were used on your home, whether it be a metal roof, shingle roof or other.

The insurance coverage of your roof costs depends on your policy, your location and the cause of the roof damage. For example, hail damage may be covered by your policy because it’s an unexpected event. However, if you live in Florida and your roof was damaged by a passing hurricane, you may not be covered. Some locations have specific exclusions and may call for additional event-related coverage if they occur more frequently. 


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How to file an insurance claim for roof damage

Roof damage isn’t to be taken lightly. When something happens, you’ll want to file a homeowners insurance claim as soon as possible to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. 

There are certain steps homeowners should take  in the claims process roof damage:

1. Document the damage: Take pictures of the damage on your roof and if possible, take a picture of what caused the damage. If this also caused damage to the interior of your home and your belongings, document this as well. A contractor may be able to give you a detailed report if you’d prefer to not assess the damage yourself.

2. Contact your insurance company: Call your insurance company as soon as you can to let them know about the extent of your roof damage and what caused it. Confirm with your insurer if the damage and cause are covered in your policy and how long you have to file a claim. If roof damage was caused by vandalism, file a police report before calling your insurance company. 

3. File your claim: File a roof damage insurance claim using the paperwork provided by your insurer. Include all information and evidence related to your claim. 

4. Meet with an insurance adjuster: An insurance adjuster will visit your home to take pictures and assess the roof damage and confirm your claim. 

5. Repair or replace your roof: When your claim is approved, you’re provided with a settlement quote to fix the damage or for replacement costs, and your insurance company may require you to work with an approved contractor. 


It’s important to get regular roof inspections and make roof repairs or replacements when needed, which will help in preventing roof damage in the future. It also helps to know the ins and outs of your specific homeowners insurance policy. Being prepared makes it easier to file a claim to insurance carriers and reduce out-of-pocket costs as a result of roof damage.

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