10 Things To Look For In The Fine Print Of A Roofing Warranty
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Obtaining a warranty is always wise when making a big investment.
When the potential for mechanical failure is clear, customers commonly seek out the strongest protection available. With non-mechanical items like roofing, however, many buyers don't realize that having a good warranty is just as important - and that identifying a good contract is tough unless you know what to look for in the fine print.
#1: Does It Cover Manufacturing Defects?
The most common contracts involve the actual materials involved in the building project. If any correctly installed products fail, this type of coverage will ensure that you are compensated. However, studies have shown that nearly two-thirds of all problems are caused by installation errors on the part of the contractors, not actual failure of parts.
#2: Does It Cover Workmanship Errors?
This coverage is less common than a contract covering manufacturing problems. Many companies that do offer coverage will neglect to cover workmanship, and will try to stop you from realizing it. Make sure you read through all the fine print and that all promised coverage is there.
#3: What Can You Put On The Roofing?
Every roofing warranty will list specific things that may and may not be installed, and what requires permission. Things like a satellite dish can impact the weatherproofing and might be regulated.
#4: Are You Required To Clear Additions With The Warranty Company?
There may be provisions which stop you from adding anything new on the roofing without prior approval. Make sure you read the document carefully and look out for anything which requires you to clear new installations with the warranty company. If not, you might unintentionally void your warranty.
#5: What Are The Care Requirements?
Your roofing coverage might also stipulate that your installation must be cared for in a particular manner. You might be required to conduct regular maintenance or to have periodic checkups.
#6: How Promptly Are You Required To Report Damage?
Check your roofing warranty carefully to determine what the window for reporting damage is. After a certain period of time, you might be unable to actually get compensation for any damages if you wait too long.
#7: Can You Choose Your Own Contractor?
If you are obtaining coverage through your contractor, you will generally have a choice to either work with that contractor again, or to choose coverage that permits you to use other roofing contractors, or to work with someone approved by the company itself. This will be detailed in the text of your policy.
#8: Is The Coverage Prorated?
Prorated coverage can often end up costing you more in the long term. Read through your roofing contract and ensure that you have a non-prorated contract, which reduces hidden expenses that can resurface later on.
#9: How Long Does The Warranty Last?
Every contract has a specific term after which it will expire. Many will advertise that they offer a 'lifetime' warranty; however, keep in mind that the definition of 'lifetime' varies, so be sure you know what it is in your case.
#10: Do You Understand Every Word Of The Contract?
The most important question to ask yourself before you sign a contract is, 'Do I have any questions about what I'm signing?' If you are even slightly uncertain, consult someone who can help you understand the sometimes complex legal language of these contracts.
Although most companies are required to render these contracts in plain English, they can nonetheless be difficult to read thoroughly. Don't hesitate to contact a friend or family member who works in law for help, and if necessary talk to a lawyer.
Asking these questions will help you ensure that you get the best coverage. While it is hard to guarantee anything, these questions will guide you away from the most common pitfalls and help ensure that your roof is truly covered for the proper length of time.
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