Given the problems so many Calgarians have had with ice dams recently, a lot of our attentions have been turned upwards. And it’s a good thing. A roof is easy to ignore, but one in good repair is an excellent defense against a home insurance claim. Forty percent of all home insurance claims are due to water damage, says Aviva Canada (one of Lane’s Insurance’s dependable providers), and roofs can be leaking for a long time before damage is actually noticeable. By then you have a big – and likely costly – problem on your hands.
Roof Repairs Your Home Insurance Covers
Most home insurance plans will cover damage caused to a roof by unpreventable occurrences, such as a fire or vandalism. Wind, rain and hail are also covered, but under a very specific set of circumstances. Don’t expect that you’ll be able to easily make a claim after one of Calgary’s colossal hail storms. Most policies take into consideration the age and condition of your roof before considering reimbursement. In addition, as a general rule, if your roof is more than 10 years old, depreciation value will be factored in, meaning you will be unlikely to receive the full replacement amount.
Keep in mind, insurance companies have the right to suspend or even completely cancel your home insurance coverage if they determine your roof in is such poor repair it has become a hazard. All the more reason to keep your roof “top of mind” at all times.
Regular Roof Maintenance
It’s obviously dangerous to get up and walk around on your roof, as the risk of falling is high. Not only that, it’s actually bad for the shingles. Keep off your roof as much as possible, using binoculars if you can for a close look. If you have to get up on a ladder, always have a spotter and use every precaution you can, such as placing the ladder on flat ground only, making sure it’s fully open and never climbing above the third-highest step.
- Leave your roof vents open at all times, even in the winter. This allows for good circulation, which will help prevent the buildup of moisture.
- Clean your gutters regularly. There are plenty of companies that do this quickly and safely to save you the trouble, too.
- Install gutters guards. These are pieces of mesh that go over the top of your gutters, allowing for rain and moisture to enter, but keeping leaves and branches out.
- Always keep trees trimmed well away from your roof and gutters. This will keep debris out of your gutters as well as eliminate damage caused by branches scraping and breaking on your roof.
- Ensure gutters are firmly attached and sturdy.
- Check to make sure all downspouts are pointed well away from your home’s foundation.
Visual Roof Inspections
Roof inspections should be carried out by a trained professional every couple years, but during the in-between times there are some ways you can visually check it on your own.
From the inside, you will need to climb up into your attic. Due to the exposed insulation in most attics we recommend wearing a breathing mask.
Using a flashlight, look for:
- Signs of sagging.
- Places where moisture is coming through.
- Dark spots marking where moisture may have come and gone.
- Sunlight coming through any holes or gaps.
From the outside:
- Inspect for wet spots and excess moisture.
- Look for shingles that are curling, cracked or missing.
- Check your gutters for shingle granules, which look like tiny beads or large grains of sand. Excess shedding of these granules is a sign your roof is heavily worn.
- Lots of wear and tear around projections such as chimneys, vents and pipes.
Getting a Roofing Estimate
A professionally installed asphalt shingle roof will last from 15 to 20 years. Obtain quotes from three qualified professionals, asking they include the following information:
- Charges for labour (including hauling away of debris and clean-up)
- Estimates for the roof’s lifespan
- Estimates for the length the job
- Proof of business insurance
- A list of references
Give your Calgary home insurance provider a call to see if they have any recommendations for your roof. It would be a shame to have work done and not have it approved by your company. In fact, if you perform any sort of upgrade or renovation to your home you should let your provider know so that they can keep your records up to date. Some upgrades may even qualify you for a discount.
Home Insurance in Calgary: Get the Lane’s Team Working for You
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta insurance broker. Choosing a broker is a wise move for consumers looking to protect their interests when dealing with insurance providers. Brokers work for you, not the insurance companies, so they always look out for your best interests and they never recommend products that don’t fit your need just for the sake of making a sale.
In addition to home insurance, Lane’s Insurance offers a complete range of policies and coverage options for just about every imaginable situation. You can count on Lane’s for great rates on auto, business, travel and health insurance, and more.
Lane’s Insurance is pleased to serve homeowners and residents throughout Alberta. Use the following regional links to contact us at:
- Our Calgary office
- Our Edmonton office
- Our Banff office
- Serving the rest of Alberta