Homeowners insurance covers gutter replacement when they are damaged or destroyed by a covered peril, such as a storm, fire, or theft. However, when gutters wear out due to age or deterioration due to expected causes, such as exposure to the elements.
What Are Covered Perils?
Your insurance company defines covered perils in its homeowners insurance policy documents. These are specific instances where your insured property sustains damage due to events not related to age, everyday wear and tear, or maintenance. Covered perils strike quickly without warning and exist outside the homeowner’s control.
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For instance, a severe thunderstorm with damaging winds counts as a covered peril. Storms are sudden events that homeowners have no control over. No one can prevent it when mother nature decides to drop a deluge of rain with damaging winds and lightning. If a severe thunderstorm damages your home, the insurance company will pay to repair or replace the impacted elements, including gutters.
Examples of covered perils include the following:
- Hurricanes (restrictions apply)
- Pipe bursts
- Power surges
- Electricity outages (for specific items)
- Other unforeseeable events
When Gutter Replacement Is Excluded From Homeowners Insurance Coverage
Homeowners insurance excludes all replacements for items worn down by age or needing maintenance. In this way, homeowners policies are analogous to vehicle insurance. Your car insurance policy won’t pay for scheduled maintenance, such as oil changes, tire rotations, or brake jobs. When you must replace worn items, including windshield wipers, brake shoes, pads, or tires, these are at your own expense, assuming the replacement is due to normal wear and tear.
However, if an accident requires replacing these items, your auto insurance covers the cost because the damage occurred due to a covered peril under the policy. For instance, if your tire’s treads wear down due to mileage and you must change it, the cost is out of your pocket. On the other hand, if you are involved in an accident, and new tires are part of fixing the vehicle, your car insurance company pays to replace them.
Gutter replacement goes by the same logic for homeowners insurance policies. No gutter can last forever. Over time, they wear down because of the elements and the weight of water and debris. Eventually, homeowners notice they no longer function at the level needed. They may even sag and break. When this occurs, it is time for gutter replacement, and your homeowners policy provides no coverage.
Tips for Increasing Gutter Longevity
Though your homeowners policy won’t replace aged gutters, you can save yourself some money through routine maintenance. Here are some tips for keeping your gutters in excellent shape:
Clean Out Gutter Debris
As leaves and other debris collect in the gutters, they wear down from the weight and corrosive effects. Keeping gutters clear makes them last longer.
Remove Overhanging Branches
Tree branches that hang over your gutters can damage them when they break off the tree. Have these removed to prevent them from impacting your gutters.
Ice can build on the edge of your roof and gutter, resulting in deterioration over time. Removing ice dams prevents this destruction and keeps melted snow flowing through your downspouts.
Install Gutter Guards
Gutter guards block debris from collecting in your gutters. This not only ensures a longer life for your gutters, but it also eliminates the need to climb on a ladder and risk injury to clean them or pay a service for debris removal.
Homeowners insurance covers many perils; however, replacing worn items like gutters remains the homeowners’ responsibility unless they were damaged or destroyed by a covered peril.