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Home Warranties and Roof Coverage

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The recent severe weather has brought to the fore one of the more common questions Warranty Administration addresses, and that is roof coverage. It has undoubtedly been the number one inquiry from Texas residents following Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, and has been the number one department inquiry overall since. For the purposes of this examination, we are going to put aside a discussion of damage caused by acts of nature, which is expressly excluded in Section VIII.7.d. of the warranty from all sections of the home.

What Does the Warranty Have to Say About Home Warranty Roof Leaks?

The majority of the home warranty that covers roof is contained in the 1-year Workmanship period of the warranty.

The two primary deficiencies addressed in section 5.6 of the Construction Performance Guidelines have to do with:

  • Leaks
  • Shingle issues

Roof or flashing leaks that occur under normal weather conditions are deficiencies and need to be addressed by the builder. If the cause of the leak is a result of ice or snow build-up, or other severe weather such as high winds or driven rains, the leak is not considered a deficiency.

This echoes the more general exclusion above, and narrows its focus to this particular construction element. The coverage for the shingles is unique because it relies heavily on the manufacturer’s standards for the product. If roof shingles blow off in winds less than the manufacturer’s standards, the builder is only responsible to replace the shingles if improper installation is shown to be the cause, and if not, the responsibility falls to the manufacturer.

Again, echoing the exclusion above, deficiencies do not include shingles that blow off in events such as:

  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Hail Storms
  • Winds (including gusts greater than 60 mph)

Additionally, if the shingles themselves are found to be defective, there is no coverage under the 2-10 HBW product, and the homeowner should consult the shingle manufacturer’s warranty.

The Structural coverage provided by the new roof warranty is limited to the framing system, as that is the only load-bearing element of the roof. Along with the foundation, the roof is the element of the home most commonly assumed to be “structural” by the homeowner, and for that reason, Warranty Administration frequently receives roof leak inquiries from homeowners beyond the first year. In these instances, we explain the framing system is the only eligible portion of the roof, and advise the homeowner to have a local roofing company investigate because leaks are not indicative of a framing failure. We also encourage them to call back after the investigation is completed to discuss the findings in case pertinent information is discovered.