Home insurance is pretty important. In fact, it’s usually required! That’s because it offers a surefire way to pay for major home repairs. Of course, while home insurance policies can pay for a lot of repairs around the house, they don’t cover every single problem. For instance, if your dog chews on your kitchen cabinets, don’t count on home insurance to help you out. The same goes for when your friend spills a drink on your carpet and you can’t get the stain out. You’re on your own for that one!
But what about other, more pressing issues around the house? For example, does home insurance cover roof leaks? Now that’s more likely to be something that’s covered! But the answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Here’s what you should know before you try to make an insurance claim on a roof issue.
As you might imagine, the roof is one of the most important parts of your home, protecting everything below from exposure to wind, rain, snow, and constant sunlight. Simply put, you need your roof to be sturdy and leak-free unless you’re fine with your furniture getting soggy during every storm. That’s why the average home insurance policy provides at least some coverage for roofs. But does home insurance cover roof leaks? The answer is, sometimes.
The “dwelling coverage” part of your policy would pay for roof repairs if a covered peril caused the damage. This means if a sudden, accidental issue led to the roof leaks, your insurance should cover repairs. But if the leaks are because of poor maintenance on the roof and you could have prevented them, you might have to pay out of pocket to fix the damage. So, when exactly does home insurance cover roof leaks? Keep reading to learn what counts as a covered peril — and what doesn’t.
Your policy provides coverage for roof leaks only if one or more covered perils caused them. What counts as a covered peril? In most cases, inclement weather is considered a covered peril. If any of the following happens to your house, your roof repairs will likely have coverage:
- Heavy wind rips the shingles off the roof.
- Hail damages the roof and allows water in.
- A thunderstorm leads to a tree falling on your home.
- Lightning strikes your house and causes roof leaks.
- Heavy snow or ice damages the roof.
Extreme weather can wreak havoc on roofs, so it’s a good thing most home insurance policies cover the damage. Just check your policy to ensure there are no wind or hail exclusions, as some areas with extreme weather might require you to purchase extra coverage for full roof protection. That’s good information to know before the next storm in your area!
Weather isn’t the only type of peril that’s usually covered. If a fire breaks out or debris falls on your roof, insurance will usually cover roof repairs.
If your roof is leaking and you haven’t seen extreme weather, fires, or debris hitting your roof, it’s unlikely that your insurance will pay for repairs. Leaks from regular wear and tear are another thing your insurance policy probably won’t cover. The same goes if you haven’t properly maintained the roof, letting known problems continue for years until they got worse.
For instance, insurance won’t pay for repairs if you left snow or ice on your roof for months. Pest problems — such as squirrels or rats damaging the roof — aren’t likely to have insurance coverage. The insurance company will see this as a gradual problem you should have fixed before it got worse.
Other issues that may cause a denial of your leaky roof claim include:
- Wet rot
- Construction errors
- Improper code materials
So, does home insurance cover roof leaks that the homeowner could have prevented with proper maintenance? No. This is why it’s so important to keep a close eye on your roof. Get an inspection done at least once per year to ensure there aren’t any issues you should fix now. Otherwise, you could end up paying out of pocket when your roof leaks!
Start the repair process as soon as possible if you notice leaks in your roof. You don’t want the issue to get worse, since this might lead to replacing the entire roof or repairing water damage to the home interior.
Your first step is to assess the damage to your roof. Minor leak? You could repair it yourself if you have any knowledge of home repairs. If you don’t, leave this job to the professionals. You don’t want to mess up your roof! Contact a handyperson or roofing professional to get a price quote on the repairs.
Remember that even if your home insurance coverage pays for the roof repairs, you must still pay a deductible — anywhere from $500 to $1,500 on average. So if paying for repairs out of pocket is less expensive than your deductible, you may find this the best route to take.
What if the repairs cost more? Look at your home insurance paperwork — or contact your insurance provider — to find out if they will cover the repairs. If yes, you need to file a claim. Find out what paperwork you need to fill out and take pictures of the damage to your roof, including any water damage the leaks caused to the rest of your house. Your insurance company might send out a claims adjuster to view the damage in person.
The next step is to get an estimate for roof repairs if you haven’t done so already. It’s considered best practice to talk to at least three roofing companies so you get three price estimates to send to your insurance provider. Once you send in the paperwork and the photos, your provider will send you a check for the roof repair cost after subtracting your deductible.
Clearly, it pays to have a great home insurance policy once you become a homeowner! Sure, it won’t cover chewed-up cabinets and carpet stains — or most other wear and tear — but it could cover those roof repairs after the next big storm.
If you don’t yet have a policy, or you want to switch to one that offers more coverage, come to LemonBrew Insurance for help. We’re happy to offer insurance for homeowners, landlords, renters, and more. Contact the #BrewCrew today to get answers to all your questions about home insurance!