May 27, 2022


Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Replacement

Man replacing cover roof

Your roof gets more exposure to nature than the rest of your home. It protects your home’s interior from hail storms, the weight of snow, and other perils. It also regularly gets beaten by sun damage and swaying branches. 

The roof is a vital part of your home’s structure and falls under the dwelling coverage portion of your homeowners insurance. While roof replacement is usually covered in your policy, failing to maintain your roof can become costly. 

In this post, I will discuss:

  • When a complete roof replacement is required
  • When homeowners insurance covers roof damage (and when it doesn’t)
  • How much coverage you get
  • How to make an insurance claim for roof damage
  • How to prevent roof damage.

Let’s get started with this post.

When Is A Complete Roof Replacement Required?

There are many situations when a complete roof replacement is required. Here are a few.

Your Roof Is Old

No matter how well you maintain it, all roofs have a fixed life expectancy. How long it can last depends on the materials it’s made out of. 

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), here’s the life expectancy of common roofing materials:


Life Expectancy (in years)


60 - 150

Wood shingles


Asphalt shingles






Fiber cement


Clay or concrete


Your Roof Has Exterior Damage

Even if your wood shingles are only ten years old, they’re worth inspecting if you notice they’re cracked, curling, or warped. Excessive sun damage, falling objects, or a hail storm can take a toll on your roof and its life expectancy. 

I recommend conducting a roofing inspection every couple of years. You should also inspect it yourself shortly after a significant storm. If you notice cracks on a few shingles, it’s better to repair them early rather than wait until your roof’s damage is no longer insurable.

You Experience Extreme Weather Conditions

Hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and other extreme weather conditions can wreak havoc on your roof. A single storm can lead to roof leaks or shattered shingles dispersed throughout your yard. Luckily, most homeowners insurance policies will cover roof damage in these situations because they’re out of your control.

Your Roofing Materials Are Falling Prematurely

Hot and cold air should be able to flow freely throughout your home. Poor attic ventilation can trap this air and shorten your roof’s lifespan. If your attic suffers from improper ventilation, you may need a total or partial replacement long before your roof’s expected shelf-life. 

If your ventilation is fine, your roofing contractors may have done a poor installation job. Improper roof installation can drastically reduce your roof’s life expectancy. I recommend getting a warranty in case you need some roof repair work done or a new roof altogether.

You Can See Through Your Roof Boards

Skylights are great - when they’re meant to be skylights. If you can see the sun through your roof boards, it’s time to call a roofing contractor. Odds are, your roof has a leak or excess moisture that weakens its integrity. Homeowners insurance can cover roof leaks in certain situations, especially if you’re proactive about getting them fixed.

When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Damage?

If a covered peril causes roof damage, your insurance company may help pay for it. Once you file a homeowners insurance claim, your coverage kicks in after paying your deductible. Here are some of the most common instances where your homeowners policy covers a damaged roof:

  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Hail storms
  • Wind storms
  • Fire and smoke
  • Lightning strikes
  • Heavy rain
  • Weight of snow or ice
  • Damage from vehicles or aircrafts
  • Vandalism or theft
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects

In general, if your roof damage is caused by something sudden and accidental, homeowners insurance will cover it unless it’s specifically excluded in your policy.

When Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Roof Damage

There are several instances when your homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover roof repairs, including:

  • General wear and tear
  • Negligence, or a failure to maintain your roof
  • Earthquakes, mudslides, and landslides
  • Floods
  • Damage caused by pets
  • Damage caused by pest infestations
  • Rust, corrosion, and smog
  • War or government action

There are also a few gray areas where coverage is considered, including the following.

Mold And Fungus

Your homeowners policy is sometimes vague about mold damage coverage. If your roof collects mold and fungus due to another covered peril, your insurance policy will likely cover it. For example, if a hurricane causes excess water damage and mold grows, you’re likely covered. However, mold and fungus are often considered preventable and usually aren't covered.

Your Roof’s Age

In some cases, the age of your roof can impact the coverage you receive. If your roof is 20 years or older, your insurance company may require a reputable roofing company to inspect it before offering coverage. If this is the case, ask your insurance provider for a list of trusted contractors. Even after passing an inspection, your insurance company may only cover you for your roof’s actual cash value, not for replacement costs.

Cosmetic Damage

If a rough storm nicks or rips shingles from your roof, your insurance company may consider your roof damage cosmetic. Cosmetic damage isn't covered in most cases. I recommend contacting your insurance provider to know for sure.

How Much Coverage Do You Get?

As mentioned earlier, dwelling coverage covers roof replacement and repairs. Depending on your situation, your dwelling coverage can pay for the total cost of repairs.

How Much Are Repairs?

According to Angi, the average national cost of new roof installations is $14,360. The total costs range between $8,700 and $22,000, depending on the size of your roof and where you live. 

The price breakdown is usually 60% labor and 40% cost of materials, so if you decide to do it yourself, you could save yourself 60% of the total cost. However, I recommend leaving it up to the pros. If you don’t install it correctly, you can drastically shorten your roof’s lifespan and end up having to call a roofing contractor anyway.

Cost Of Materials

A major cost factor is the type of roofing material you use. Here’s a cost breakdown, courtesy of Forbes:

Material Type

Price (for a 1,500 square-foot home)

Stainless steel


Stone or slate


Asphalt shingles


Galvanized steel



$17,000 or more

How To Make An Insurance Claim For Roof Damage

First things first: if you’re about to buy a property, get a roofing contractor to inspect your roof first. If the former homeowner was negligent on repairs, you shouldn’t be the one having to pay the tab for them. I recommend asking your real estate agent if the sellers will add roof repair to their closing costs.

The process of filing a roof replacement insurance claim should be clearly written in your homeowners insurance policy. While this varies from company to company, here are the general steps required when filing a homeowners insurance claim:

  • Document everything. Take photos and videos of your roof’s damage, and write detailed notes. It will be very helpful if you have photos or videos of what your roof looked like before a covered peril caused the damage.
  • Contact your insurance provider. You need to get the claims process started ASAP, so provide your insurance agent with all the evidence you’ve documented. Also, clarify that the damage caused is covered in your policy.
  • File your claim. Once you’ve contacted your insurance company, your agent will provide you with the paperwork you need to file your roof claim. Fill it out and send it back to them. Also, don’t hesitate to ask any clarifying questions if you have them. Once the paperwork is complete, your agent can file your roof insurance claim.
  • Speak with the insurance claims adjuster. Your insurance company will probably send a claims adjuster to assess your roof’s damage and determine the root cause. If they deem it covered in your policy, they’ll then determine the severity of the damage and how much it will cost to repair or replace your roof. 
  • Manage your adjusted living expenses. Odds are you won’t live in your home while your roof is being replaced. Luckily, your homeowners policy also has loss of use coverage. With this coverage, you’ll be reimbursed for your hotel or rental stay, restaurant meals, laundry bills, and any other expenses you’ll accrue (within reason) while your roof is being repaired. Make sure you keep all your receipts to ensure reimbursement.

How To Prevent Roof Damage

Sudden and accidental damage can be inevitable (but luckily almost always covered by your policy). However, when it comes to maintaining your roof, you have some responsibilities as a homeowner. The best way to ensure your claim is accepted is to take preventative measures.

Here are a few things you should do to maintain your roof:

  • Inspect your roof annually, especially after a rough storm
  • Inspect your roof’s flashing, especially around your chimney
  • Ensure your attic has proper ventilation
  • Hire a roofing contractor every couple of years to do an in-depth inspection
  • Keep an eye on your roof’s drip edge and nearby trees and branches
  • Regularly clean your gutters
  • Remove excess debris collecting on your roof

Final Thoughts

Roof replacement is costly, so do what you can to ensure you’re covered. By following these simple tips and regularly maintaining your roof, you could save $10,000s if you ever have to file a roof claim.

About the Author

As a native Washingtonian, Carlos Reyes’ journey in the real estate industry began more than 15 years ago when he started an online real estate company. Since then, he’s helped more than 700 individuals and families as a real estate broker achieve their real estate goals across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Carlos now helps real estate agents grow their business by teaching business fundamentals, execution, and leadership.

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