So you just moved into your dream home, or maybe you’ve lived in your house for years now. Either way, at some point every homeowner wonders: Does home warranty cover roof issues? What about leaks or damage? It’s a fair question, since roof repairs can be a huge, unexpected expense.
In this article, we’ll break down exactly what kind of roof coverage you can expect from a home warranty, and when it makes sense to get one. I’ll also give you some tips to extend the life of your roof so you can worry less about surprise leaks and repairs.
Let’s start with the basics of home warranties and how they differ from regular homeowners insurance.
Home Warranty 101
A home warranty is basically an optional service contract you can purchase to cover repairs and replacements for major systems and appliances in your home. Most plans cover things like:
- HVAC system
- Electrical systems
- Built-in appliances like oven, dishwasher etc.
- Possible add-ons like pools, spas, roof coverage
So it protects you when an appliance or system breaks down from normal wear and tear. This is different from homeowners insurance, which covers damage from external incidents like fires, storms, floods, theft and so on.
Home warranties give you peace of mind that you won’t face huge, surprise repair bills when something stops working. You pay a monthly or annual fee, and the warranty company connects you with repair technicians in their network to fix or replace covered items. Pretty handy!
Now let’s get into what exactly these plans cover for one of the most vital parts of your home – the roof over your head!
What Does Roof Coverage Include in Home Warranties?
Many home warranty companies offer roof coverage, but it’s rarely part of the standard package. Most times, you have to add it on for an additional fee.
If you do opt for roof coverage, here’s what’s typically included:
- Leak repairs – This is the primary benefit. The warranty will cover the cost to diagnose and repair leaks in your roof.
- Flashing and sealant repairs – Leaks often occur where flashing and sealants meet chimneys, vents, valleys or edges of the roof. Warranties usually cover these leak points.
- Temporary repairs – If a leak is extensive, the warranty may cover temporary repairs to stop damage until permanent work can be done.
Now let’s talk about what roof coverage generally does NOT include:
- Full roof replacement – Most warranties only cover repairs, not a whole new roof. Exceptions are rare.
- Removal of obsolete products – For example, they won’t pay to remove old asbestos tiles.
- Gutters and draining systems – Leaks here usually aren’t covered.
- Routine maintenance – You’re responsible for regular roof tune-ups.
- Damages from leaks – While leak repairs are covered, any interior damage caused by the leak is not.
As you can see, warranties are mainly designed to cover wear-and-tear repairs, not major overhauls or damages. More on this later!
When Does Roof Coverage Apply?
Home warranties really shine for older roofs that are more prone to age-related leaks and issues. Here are some scenarios when roof coverage would come in handy:
New Home Purchase
If you purchase a resale home, especially one over 10-15 years old, leaks are a real possibility. Roof coverage provides peace of mind by helping cover repairs that pop up.
Contractor Warranty Expired
Most roofers provide a 1-2 year workmanship warranty on new roofs. After that expires, you’re responsible for repair costs, making a home warranty valuable.
Typical lifespan for most roof types falls in the 20-30 year range. Once your roof hits 10+ years old, leaks become more likely due to wear and tear.
Encourage Early Repairs
Knowing you have coverage for leaks means you’ll call for repairs quickly before major damage occurs. This saves money in the long run.
Meanwhile, roof coverage is less crucial in these cases:
Brand New Roof on New Build
Builder warranties and roof manufacturer warranties have you covered for defects for several years.
Homeowners Insurance Claim
If storm damage, falling branches, fires or other external factors cause roof issues, homeowners insurance would apply.
Almost no home warranty will fully replace a roof. They only repair leaks and damage.
As you can see, the key is understanding what counts as “wear and tear” versus external “damage” when it comes to your roof.
Roof Replacement vs. Roof Repair
Another important distinction is that home warranties cover repairs, not full roof replacements. What’s the difference?
Roof repairs involve fixing isolated issues like leaks, flashing failures, minor wind damage or worn out shingles. Repairs keep your existing roof intact.
Roof replacement means removing and disposing of the entire old roof and installing a completely new roof system. This is required when damage is severe.
Repair costs are dramatically lower than a full roof replacement. Here are some average costs:
- Minor roof repairs: $200 – $500
- Major roof repairs: $1000 – $5000
- New roof replacement: $6000 – $12,000
See why warranties shy away from covering replacements? It could bankrupt the warranty company! Their goal is to cover early repairs before issues escalate into major replacements.
How to Prevent Roof Damage
While home warranties provide peace of mind for repairs, a little roof maintenance goes a long way towards preventing problems in the first place:
- Inspect your roof each year and after major storms. Look for missing or damaged shingles, excessive moss growth, or other issues.
- Clear debris from your roof and clean out gutters/downspouts regularly to improve drainage. Clogged gutters are a common cause of ice dams and leaks.
- Trim back overhanging tree branches so they don’t abrade your shingles.
- For wood shake roofs, apply copper strips along ridges to inhibit moss growth.
- Hire a professional roofer every few years to deep clean your roof, check flashings, and make minor repairs. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Following these tips will keep your roof performing its job for as long as possible. But no roof lasts forever, so home warranty coverage is helpful for when age-related issues eventually occur.
Bottom Line on Home Warranties and Roofs
While home warranties can certainly help cover roof leaks and repairs, they’re not a magic pill to replace your entire roof for free. Make sure your expectations align with what coverage actually includes and excludes.
The real value is having assurance that small repairs will be covered, so you’ll call a roofer promptly when issues arise instead of waiting until major damage occurs. This prevents expensive problems down the road.
For total peace of mind, a home warranty covering wear-and-tear repairs paired with homeowners insurance to cover storm damages makes an unbeatable combination shield for your most important asset!