Sometimes people get confused about the types of things that are covered by a commercial roof warranty. They assume it covers things that are really covered by an insurance policy. And vice versa.
What’s the difference between a warranty and an insurance policy?
A warranty is a service contract that covers the roof materials, providing for the repair or replacement of specific roof components if they become defective during the warranty period. Insurance is a policy that covers accidental damage to your building due to storms, fires, natural disasters, theft or other unforeseen events.
More specifically, a commercial roof warranty is a guarantee that the roof will perform according to the specifications that the manufacturer establishes. Warranties vary in length of term and total coverage. Generally, if an aspect of the roof fails under normal use during the warranty period, the manufacturer provides a remedy for the problem. For example, if a part of the roof leaks due to defective material, the manufacturer’s warranty provides for repairing or replacing the defective product to eliminate the problem.
Roof warranty repairs
Repairs that are made to a roof based on the manufacturer’s warranty are known as warranty repairs. Depending on warranty terms, the manufacturer provides materials for repairs free of charge and may cover labor or a portion of labor. Warranties do not cover physical damage or neglected maintenance. Premium warranties do not limit how many repairs can be made during the warranty period. If repairs are needed after the warranty expires, they can be covered by the insurance policy that applies to the building.
Roof insurance repairs
Repairs that are made to a roof via the building owner’s property insurance policy are known as insurance repairs. Unlike a roof warranty, which applies specifically to your roof, a property insurance policy often applies to your whole building. The insurance policy and the roof warranty also differ concerning the period of coverage. A manufacturer’s warranty may last for a long time but it eventually expires, whereas an insurance policy can be renewed without end.
Cost of coverage and annual operating expenses
A commercial roof warranty is can be provided by the manufacturer of the roof system and is generally paid for by the installing contractor but you need to properly maintaining your roof to keep your warranty in effect.
You’re going to have to pay for your building insurance policy yourself — to keep it in effect, you need to keep up the payments! The cost of building insurance depends on the aspects of the building that it covers and the coverage options you choose. As a reference, annual insurance for a small office building can be as low as $1,000 whereas annual insurance for a large office building can easily top $15,000.
Why you need both
There are two main reasons why both a commercial roof warranty and building insurance policy should protect a building. First, the warranty applies to the roof, while the insurance can apply to the entire building. Second, the roof warranty eventually expires, leaving the insurance policy as the primary means for covering costs associated with roof problems. Combining a roof warranty with a building insurance policy provides the ultimate level of asset protection for a building.
Having both can also save you a lot of money on roof repair and general building repair. And knowing what’s covered by either the warranty or the insurance policy — including knowing to what degree everything is covered — can help you better predict annual operating expenses.
At Sentry, we warranty all of our work — on repairs, re-roofing and new construction. The length of the warranty depends on your particular project and roofing system. We work with in conjunction with manufacturers for problems covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and we make sure that all of the work is in line with the product specifications. If something isn’t covered by the warranty, we’ll let you know before doing the work.
This post is the first in a three-part series on commercial roofing warranties. Come back for our next post as we take a look at the different types of commercial roof warranty products available.