Does homeowners insurance cover roof damage and roof leaks?
Home insurance policies usually cover roof damage caused by fire, vandalism and “acts of God,” such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Whether they will pay for damage caused by wind, rain or hail is determined by your policy and the age of your roof.
For instance, if your roof is less than 10 years old, your insurer will likely cover the replacement in full. An insurer may not reimburse you if you have an older roof (especially one that is more than 20 years old) or the company might only pay what it deems the roof is worth after years of wear and tear.
A leaky roof may be covered, but insurance companies believe homeowners should prevent leaks and subsequent damage. It’s up to the homeowner to take the necessary precautions to maintain the property. If a leaky roof isn’t fixed properly, an insurer might not cover damage.
Whether you’re reimbursed partially, fully or not at all depends on your policy, so check with your insurance company if you experience any damage.
Choosing home insurance coverage companies
Consumer Reports is out with a new update that names the best and worst home insurers in the business.
Before we get into this, keep in mind that the best does not necessarily mean the one with the most affordable premium!
Instead of focusing on price alone, the magazine asked more than 7,000 of its readers to rank their insurers on six metrics:
- Ease of reaching an agent to handle the claim.
- Agent courtesy.
- Promptness of response and attentiveness in handling the claim.
- Simplicity of the claims process (number of steps, amount of work etc.).
- Damage amount: Satisfaction with company’s estimate of dollar amount of damages.
- Timely payment: Satisfaction with timely payment by insurer.
Why you want a high deductible policy
To lower the cost of going with a top-rated insurer like Amica or USAA, try taking the highest deductible that you can handle and that your mortgage holder will allow you to have. Doing so will both lower your premium and discourage you from unnecessarily making small claims.
In fact, we can’t stress this strongly enough: You should think of homeowners insurance as ‘use it and lose it’ kind of proposition. It’s not for use except in the case of a catastrophe.
So you want to insure for a massive loss, not a little one. Having a high deductible on your policy will give you the double benefit of likely being claims-free and having lower premiums because you never make claims.
Do not go with the $500 deductible of yesteryear. It’s not worth it!
Consider an umbrella policy if you’re a high net-worth individual
Just as with Clark’s advice on auto insurance, if you have a lot of assets to protect, you need to have a lot of liability coverage for your home.
That could include getting an umbrella policy that sits on top of your existing home and auto policies and covers you for a catastrophic claim.
Umbrella insurance policies are sold in multiples of a million dollars. These policies pose such a low risk to insurers that they only cost a couple hundred for the first million dollars of umbrella coverage. Then the more multiples of coverage you add on, the lower the price drops.
Clark says to think of an umbrella policy like a success tax, one that’s necessary to protect your assets.