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Roof Insurance Coverage

Homeowners Insurance Roof Replacement

The roof over your head is one of the most important features of your home — that’s why having the right insurance protection is a must. At American Family Insurance, your homeowners insurance helps cover damage to your roof, with the option to add further protection. We’ll help you assess your options to make sure you have the right coverage in place for your roof.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Replacement?

Your homeowners insurance is there to protect you when you face the unexpected, and since your roof is a key piece of your home, your home insurance is designed to help cover the replacement of your roof if it’s damaged by a covered loss. But the amount you will receive for your damaged roof depends on if you have actual cash value or replacement cost value, which you’ll learn more about below. It’s important to note that general roof maintenance is your responsibility, and if your roof needs to be replaced simply because it’s old, your insurance won’t help replace it.

So on average, how long should your roof last? From the roof’s design to the climate you live in, there are a number of factors that affect the lifespan of your roof. The roofing life expectancies shown in this table are estimates based upon average use and weather conditions. Roofing life expectancy will vary based upon the quality of the installation and materials, geographic area/climate, weather events, sun exposure and trees or other cover affecting the home.

Generally, you can determine a roof’s average lifespan by the type of material used to cover it. Take a look at the table below for an estimated roof lifespan based on roofing material:

Roofing Material
Average Roof Lifespan In Years
Asphalt Shingles (3-tab)
12-15
Asphalt (architectural)
15-18
Built-up roofing with gravel
15-18
Clay/Concrete
30-40
Metal
30-40
Slate
100
Wood
15-20

It’s also important to understand a roof’s warranty versus its life expectancy. Say your roofing warranty says that your roof is a 30 year roof. What exactly does that mean? Warranties typically warrant the product for manufacturing defects for a specific amount of time. The warranty doesn’t state that the manufacturer guarantees the product will last for that specified time period. The exact coverage period will vary depending on the manufacturer. For example, most architectural shingles carry a 30 year, 50 year or Lifetime limited warranty against manufacturing defects, while most 3-tab shingles carry a 20, 25, or 30 year limited warranty against manufacturing defects. Each warranty has its own specific terms and conditions, so it’s important to read each warranty carefully.


Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost Value

When it comes to insurance for your roof, your homeowners policy is designed to protect you against a variety of types of losses, such as a damage from a tree falling, weight of snow and ice, fire, lightning, ice dams, wind and hail.

How you’re protected from a loss is dependent upon whether you have actual cash value coverage or replacement cost value coverage. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two:

What is actual cash value (ACV)? The ACV of your roof is what your roof is worth today, taking into consideration things such as its age, condition and type of roofing material. Before your insurance kicks in to help cover the cost, you’ll be required to pay a deductible.

Let’s say your roof is ten years old and you originally paid $12,000 to have it installed. Unfortunately, a tree fell on your roof during a windstorm and caused serious damage. Since your roof has been exposed to the elements for ten years, it has depreciated and may only be worth $7,200 today. If you have actual cash value coverage, we’ll pay $7,200 (less your deductible) and you would pay the remaining cost to replace your roof.

What is roof replacement cost value (RCV)? RCV is the amount it will cost to replace your roof today. If you were to purchase your roof today, what would it cost? That’s its replacement cost value. You’ll also pay a deductible with RCV.

Now let’s consider the same example as above, but this time you have RCV coverage. If a windstorm caused a tree to fall and damage your ten-year-old roof, you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket other than your deductible, since your RCV coverage will pay to repair or replace your roof.

Remember, the deductible you pay for either coverage will be the amount you chose when you purchased your home insurance policy.

Roof replacement cost value coverage is the more popular choice, since it provides more protection if your roof is damaged by a covered loss. If you’re still not sure which will benefit you more, here’s a better look at ACV vs. RCV.


Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

With American Family Insurance, most policies are equipped with replacement cost coverage for non-wind and non-hail losses. So as long as the leak is caused by a covered loss, your homeowners insurance will cover the replacement cost after you pay your deductible.

For example, let’s say a storm rolled through town and lightning struck a tree, which toppled onto your roof causing a giant hole and water to leak through. Because you have RCV coverage, the full amount of damage to your roof (after your deductible) will be covered. Bonus: Your homeowners insurance will also cover damages to the interior of your home due to the water damage.

On the other hand, if the roof leaks due to wear and tear or lack of routine maintenance, the repairs to the roof will not be covered. However, the resulting water damage to the interior of your home is still covered by your homeowners policy.

Does Insurance Cover Roof Damage from Wind and Hail?

The most common causes of damage to roofs are wind and hail. At American Family, your homeowners insurance will cover your roof for wind and hail damage, but whether you’re covered for actual cash value or replacement cash value depends on a few things.

For starters, if your roof is eligible based on its age and type (e.g. shingles, tiles, slate, wood shake, etc.), roof replacement cost coverage for windstorm and hail is an optional coverage that is added to your policy. This means that if your roof is damaged from wind or hail, we’ll reimburse you for the full amount it would cost to repair or replace your roof — if you repair or replace it. Depending on the damage, you may choose not to repair or replace your roof, and in that case we’ll only pay you the actual cash value of the damage.

If your roof isn’t eligible for RCV coverage — for instance, if your roof is over the maximum age for your type of roof covering — your policy will provide actual cash value coverage.

Consider what it would cost you to buy a new roof for your home. Probably not cheap, right? That’s why, though replacement cost value coverage may cost more than actual cash value coverage, the peace of mind that you’ll be fully protected is worth the price.


Roof Damage Insurance Claims Process

When the unexpected happens, our industry-leading claims service is always focused on getting your home, and your life, back to normal as soon as possible.

One thing to remember, if you have damage to your roof and you have replacement cost coverage — settling losses for replacement cost coverage is a two-step process. First, we’ll make an initial payment to you for the actual cash value of the roof. Then, once you repair or replace your roof, we’ll pay the balance of the cost of the repair or replacement.

To report your claim, call 1-800-MYAMFAM (1-800-692-6326). Before you call, make sure you have these handy: Your American Family Insurance policy number, date and time of your loss and a brief description of what happened. You can report your claim online too.

Find the Right Roof Coverage for Your Home

Now that you know how your homeowners insurance helps cover your roof from unexpected damages, connect with your agent to find the best coverage for your home. Remember, the age of your roof and its condition affect how you’re covered by your policy, so consider the advantages and overall cost savings of repairing and maintaining your roof now before damage occurs and you’re potentially left to pay out of pocket to fix it.