Insurance Insight: Replacing your roof – more than an insurance expense

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 30, 2002


Thankfully, replacing a roof is not something that we have to do very often, but when such is required, it can be an expensive experience for several reasons. First of all, there is a deductible that is paid by the homeowner – usually $250, $500 or $1,000. Higher deductibles are effectively used to lower the premium, but the deductible amount is paid by the policyholder first, in the event of a claim.

Secondly, depending on the type of policy you have purchased, depreciation on the roof may be a cost factor to you. You should be familiar with your policy, so that you know whether you have “replacement cost coverage,” or coverage that does not pay for depreciated value.

The difference in these two types of coverage can be a sizeable amount, especially on older roofs.

If there is no storm, or event, which requires the roof’s replacement, this expense will eventually be the responsibility of the homeowner, not the insurer. Homeowner’s insurance, like automobile insurance, is not for aging, or normal “wear and tear,” but for unplanned, unforseen, or accidental events that occur which require replacement before the warranty life is exhausted.

Thirdly, any upgrade, or increased cost for more expensive roofing, is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Not only is selecting the right roofing product important because of its expense, but remember what it is protecting – the contents of your home. There are many product varieties to choose from, so be informed. Most insurers and roofing contractors will have brochures and information on the different types of roofing materials available. Be aware of UL2218 (Underwriter’s Laboratories) codes for impact resistance.

Rating classes are listed from “1” to “4,” with “4” considered to provide the most protection from hail impact. Also be aware of fire resistance. Class A materials are considered the most “fire resistant.”

Finally, make sure you choose a reputable contractor for your roofing work. Look for a local company with a proven track record and references.

Beware of bargain “fly-by-niters.” Additional, “warranty work” by the roofer is not covered. Use a company that you know will stand by their work.

Do your homework. The proper roof and its installation are important decisions you will live with for several years to come.

JAMES WAGNER JR. is a State Farm insurance agent with an office in LaPlace.