What costs must an insurer cover if a roof is damaged by a fallen tree?

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What costs must an insurer cover if a roof is damaged by a fallen tree?

A TREE FELL ON MY GARAGE ROOF AND DAMAGED SOME SHINGLES. My INSURER WANTS ONLY TO REPLACE THE DAMAGED SHINGLES AND DEPRECIATE THE ROOF. SHOULD I GET A NEW ROOF BECAUSE OF POSSIBLE MISMATCH OF COLOR AND NOT BE DEPRECIATED?

Asked on May 3, 2011 under Insurance Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

An insurer's obligation is to repair damage, if it is repairable, and only to substantially rebuild and/or replace if such is required by the amount of damage done. Insurance does not, despite what many people believe, guarantee that the insured's does not lose any value; for example, when a car is in a collision, the insurer can fepair rather than total it--despite the fact that a repaired car is *always* worth less.

If the insurer cannot match the color, that *may* constitute an inability to repair the roof. The issue is whether that color or style of shingle is not longer made--or whether its simply that new shingles of the same color won't look as weathered as the old ones. If the former, you *may* have a case for them to replace the whole roof, though if they refuse  to, you'd have to sue to try to force the replacement, which may not be economically worthwhile. However, if the latter, then you probably do not have a case--the insurer is not required to make new parts match old precisely. And again, depreciation owing to a repair is also not something the insurer needs to take into account.


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