Your roof is something everyone who shelters under it relies upon, every day and every night. Among the most essential components of your home, keeping your roof in great condition year-round deserves more attention than you’re probably dedicating to it. But don’t feel bad — you’re not alone. Most of us are guilty of neglecting the roof. How often are we up there anyway, and do we really want to risk it? Aren’t weekends supposed to be about maximizing relaxation? Whether you’re an active DIY home-maintenance type or more of a couch potato, if you’re a homeowner, you’re going to want to learn about roof protection. This means beginning by looking at your homeowners insurance, recognizing what it covers, and comparing it with home-warranty coverage so that you can make sure your maintenance and repair needs are covered.
While it’s unusual for home-warranty companies to offer roof coverage, some do, often as an extended coverage option at additional cost. Homeowners insurance typically covers roof damage related to weather, but high deductibles are often involved, and leaks from rain or normal wear and tear are typically not covered. Roof repair or replacement is one homeowner task that the vast majority of us would prefer to leave to the professionals. However, before you start searching online for “roof warranty on new home,” we’ve put together some helpful information to help your head around what your roof-protection options are.
Let’s take a look at the most common roof repairs (generally minor leaks and parts replacement for specific, damaged areas of the roof), and consider the average costs you can expect for fixes, or at least take a swing in the ballpark. Due to many factors, expenses in this category can vary quite a bit. A lot depends on the size of the home, the steepness of the roof and number of levels incorporated into its design, what materials it consists of, and how extensive the repairs need to be. While these prices are merely average estimates useful for minor repairs, they’re only a general guide. Each individual project will have its own distinct challenges and resulting costs. That said, here’s an idea of what it costs, on average, to repair roof types:
- Slate: $1,500
- Metal: $1,400
- Concrete/Clay Tile: $1,250
- Wood Shake: $1,000
- Asphalt Shingle: $800
- Foam/Flat/1-Ply/Composite: $500
Complete roof replacement, as opposed to targeted roof repair, is a completely different ballgame in terms of cost. Unfortunately, just about every homeowner will have to replace a roof at one time or another. As with roof repairs, every situation is unique, and what you will pay depends on a wide range of factors. In addition to those already mentioned, consider what equipment is required to access all the roof areas, which specific brand-name products you choose for your roofing replacement and whether you source them through your contractor or on your own, not to mention labor costs, which typically consist of about 60% of the total expense. Also, your price will fluctuate according to whether you choose to replace gutters and flashing, which is often less expensive to do simultaneously with a complete roof replacement rather than separately. Compare these roof-replacement estimates:
- Slate: $20,000 to $25,000
- Metal: $12,000 to $14,000
- Concrete/Clay Tile: $18,000 to -$20,000
- Wood Shake: $17,000 to $19,000
- Asphalt Single: $7,000 to -$9,000
- Foam/Flat/1-Ply/Composite: $4,000 to $6,000
Do home warranties cover roofs?
Home warranties typically do not cover roof replacements; however, some home-warranty contracts do cover repairs resulting from damage caused by roof leaks. Look to your homeowners insurance for possible coverage options when you’ve determined that it’s time for a complete roof replacement. You should respond immediately to any indication that you may have serious or even minor roof damage because if you wait, the damage could worsen and increase your repair expenses. If you act fast and enlist a professional’s help when you first notice potential damages, you may avoid spending a lot more money.
What exactly do home warranties cover?
Home warranties generally will not cover damage to personal items caused by water damage. Home warranties are basically service contracts. They typically cover the major appliances and related systems in your home, like your washer, dryer, water heater, plumbing, dishwasher, refrigerator, range, HVAC system, electrical system, and other heating- and cooling-related components that keep your home running smoothly and at the right temperatures. Home warranties also tend to offer additional add-on coverage for people who have less-common systems or features, like pools, saunas or wells. Sometimes these plans will offer add-on coverage that includes roof repairs, though most companies don’t, and few offer any roof-repair coverage within their primary plans. The average cost for an add-on roof-coverage option from one of the few home-warranty plans that offer it ranges between $50 and $200 a year for around $1,000 worth of limited coverage, but be sure to read the fine print.
With its often low deductible, a roof warranty may sound good at first glance, but limitations abound. Specifics on what is covered and what isn’t can get pretty detailed, and not every company offering these plans is thorough about the true extent of coverage, so sometimes it’s difficult to tell what you’re purchasing. Many plans will not cover anything else on the roof besides the roofing material, like vents, drains, chimneys or gutters, even when these pieces are directly involved in the cause of a leak or related damages. They often will not cover roof portions over bedrooms, garages, balconies or townhouses, or roofs over decks or patios.
People choose from a variety of materials when planning a new roof for their homes. Some of these decisions account for local weather patterns, or hinge on design factors important to the owners or neighborhood requirements. Others are largely dependent on price. Due to their low cost and ease of installation, asphalt shingles are by far the most popular choice for roofing in America, covering about a third of all homes. They come in a variety of colors and can be reinforced with cellulose without changing their look. Slate is often the choice for homeowners living in areas known for extreme weather who depend on durability. Popular and stylish, concrete or clay tiles are an energy-efficient but somewhat expensive option. Metal roofing is durable like tile and less expensive, but noisy. Newer combinations of plastics, elastomers and composites are not used as often but have gained in popularity due to their low cost and versatility.
It’s nice to think that you can just “set it and forget it” when it comes to a roof. But if you want it to last, you should think about doing at least some portion of the regular maintenance it will need on your own. At least twice a year, break out the ladder, climb up there, and take your leaf blower with you. Blow off all the leaves, twigs, pollen and any other gunk that might have accumulated. Clean out the gutters and make sure there are no damages in need of repair. While you’re up there, look around for tree branches, and trim any that are too close. None should touch the roof or hang over it closely. Be careful not to cause any damage yourself as you walk around, and be even more careful not to fall off your roof! Always make sure someone else is home when you’re doing this, in case the unthinkable happens and you need emergency help.
It’s good to know the general expectations in terms of durability for different roofing materials. A metal, tile or clay roof could last a century or more, while a wood-shake roof might last 30, and an asphalt-shingle roof could average around 20 years. However, any roof is likely to be damaged at some point, whether from a falling limb, lightning, or general wear and tear. After reviewing the details of your homeowners policy, if you’re still interested in looking at a home-warranty company’s roof-coverage option, do your homework, make a table, and compare what you’re actually getting for what you’re paying. You could end up spending more on limited coverage than you might spend fixing a leak.
However, if you don’t already have a home warranty for the systems and appliances that keep your home running strong, you should consider one. Otherwise, you’re likely to need quite a bit of cash on hand to deal with unexpected expenses when a system or appliance you rely on needs to be repaired or replaced. This way, you’ll be able to fit full coverage into your monthly budget and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your next home repair won’t break the bank.
Home-warranty companies that offer optional add-on coverage for roofing are sticklers for details, and you should be too. Typically, when leaks caused by rain and normal wear and tear are covered by these plans, counterintuitively, many closely related problems are not, like missing pieces, structural leaks, seepage, water penetration, or replacement of parts or roof sections. These exemptions may surprise you, leaving you wondering what the point of this coverage is in the first place. Terms and conditions may be packed with additional exceptions about materials, leak and damage causes, and stipulations that exclude weather, previous construction, lack of maintenance and other opt-out clauses that can leave you responsible for the lion’s share of a roof repair despite the add-on plan you paid for. After considering these options, you may reasonably conclude that the best approach is to find superior homeowners insurance with excellent roof coverage, select an equally impressive home warranty to cover your home’s systems and appliances, and then go from there, paying to fix any additional roof problems on your own.
Thanks for reading our lengthy but hopefully informative post on roof coverage, homeowners insurance and home warranties. We hope it proves useful as you weigh your options and decide what sort of coverage makes the best sense for you and your family. While you’re at it, you may enjoy some of our other posts on home warranties, how they work, whether they’re worth it and what they cover. Meanwhile, if you’re considering buying an older home, read our post about assessing the risks.
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.