Vail Daily column: What’s on your roof does matter
February 2, 2016
Q: Why am I being denied homeowner's insurance for a 21-year-old roof?
A: Throughout recent years, the claims paid out for roof replacements due to wind and hail losses have increased substantially nationwide. Many older homes have their original roofs and the likelihood of damage is greater due to older materials that are not as resilient as newer materials. For this reason, many insurance companies require that any roof older than 20 years be replaced unless they have a lifetime roof material such as tile or slate roofs.
You will also see insurance companies settling windstorm or hail losses to roofing surfaces at actual cash value instead of replacement cost. The actual cash value settlement takes the depreciated value due to wear and tear and age of the roof into consideration at the time of loss. This payment will be much less than the replacement cost method of settlement. Replacement cost will pay what it costs at today's prices to repair or replace the roof.
Many insurance companies also won't insure certain roofing materials. Typical materials that aren't covered include wood shakes, wood shingles and any overlay over wood shakes or shingles. Some of the issues with wood roofs include warping, brittleness, insects and fire. The major issue in our area is wildfire. Embers blown from a distant fire could land on the roof and ignite the home. If your insurance carrier does insure your wood roof, you will likely pay a surcharge, or the roof may be insured for actual cash value.
The trend of denying or restricting coverage for older roofs will most likely continue. If you own a home or are purchasing an older home, you should consider planning to replace the roof once it becomes 20 years old. Otherwise, you may risk being non-renewed from your current carrier, denied coverage or paying a surcharge on your policy. If you have replaced an older roof, notify your insurance agent so the policy can reflect the change. Always read your insurance policy to see the limitations or exclusions for coverage on your roof.
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Kathy Schaub is a personal lines agent with Wall Street Insurance Inc. in Edwards. The Wall Street Insurance team of highly specialized agents has been serving the insurance needs of the local community and vacation owners for the past 31 years. Call Wall Street Insurance at 970-926-4900 with any of your insurance questions or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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