Will Insurance Cover Roof Leaks? (2021 Update)
Will my homeowner’s insurance cover roof leaks? The answer is not always as straightforward as you might think. For example, your policy may require that the leak be a result of a hail storm, windstorm, or another natural disaster to qualify for coverage.
Additionally, most insurance companies require a licensed contractor to have installed your roof for it to be covered under your insurance plan. Today we will walk you through the process of determining whether or not your homeowners’ insurance policy covers roof damage and provide some helpful tips to reduce the risk of water damage in your home.
What are the Signs of a Roof Leak?
Roof leaks are one of the most common causes of property damage. Damage can occur to interior and exterior surfaces and lead to water seeping into your home’s foundation, which leads to rotting wood framing elements and eventually structural collapse. So how does it happen? Roofing material is susceptible to leaking when there are cracks in the roofing shingles, tiles, or a leak in the roof’s flashing.
If you have noticed any of these signs on your home, it does not mean that homeowners insurance will cover your loss because many homeowner policies do not include coverage for leaks caused by wear and tear. However, if a storm rolls through and you notice these signs of a leak, call a professional right away. This instance should have no issue getting covered due to storm damage. But always take quick action on even the most minor repairs to avoid paying out of pocket later. Remember routine maintenance is important to prevent subsequent damage
What are Some of the Causes of a Roof Leak?
The most common cause is a damaged shingle or flashing, which can crack or dent, compromising their integrity and leaving them susceptible to leaks. This can be caused by hail or wind damage or other severe weather as it hits an aging roof. Other causes include things like heavy or steady rain over a long period, poor installation, wet rot, poor maintenance, broken or damaged tiles, and a lack of ventilation on your roof.
Next Steps When you Have a Leaky Roof
If a storm rolls through and you notice these signs of a leak, call a professional right away. This instance should have no issue getting covered due to storm damage, and you should be able to file an insurance claim right away.
Before you file your claim, though, do a thorough walk-through of your property and note any other signs of damage or leaks. This documentation can come in handy when you file your claim, and you can compare your findings with those of a professional inspection to ensure nothing is missed.
If it does not appear that the leak was caused by a natural disaster, take some time to carefully review your homeowner’s insurance policy and contact your agent for more information about which coverage may apply in this situation. As always, we recommend having a professional roofer come out and inspect the home’s roofing material, flashing, and shingles.
When Are Roof Leaks Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
To reiterate, roof insurance claims are not immediately covered under homeowners insurance in most cases. However, storm damage caused by hail, wind, or lightning can cause a roof leak which is then covered by your home insurance policy. In addition, a roof leak caused by poor installation from a contractor might also be covered under homeowner’s insurance if it is not covered by a workmanship warranty (check with your insurance provider).
For reference, here’s a list of roof repairs included in most homeowners insurance policies:
- Hail and windstorms
- Falling debris
- Damage due to snow, ice, or sleet
- Fire and smoke (including wildfires)
- Freezing HVAC systems
- Damage from riots or vandalism
- Volcanic eruptions
- Sudden and accidental breaking, cracking or bursting of pipes
- Sudden and accidental damage due to water
- Sudden and accidental damage due to an electrical surge
- Damage from vehicles or aircraft
When Are They Not Covered by Insurance?
- Roof leaks won’t be covered when they are old leaks from years past that you never got repaired, a leak from regular wear and tear, a leak from poor DIY repair, and any roof leaks caused by the below exclusions. The following are often excluded from standard insurance policies but can be covered under circumstantial coverage depending on where you live—i.e., purchasing flood insurance when you live in a flood zone.
- Earthquakes, landslides, and mudslides
- Damage due to an infestation of animals or insects
- Negligence and general wear and tear
- Settling, cracking or warping of your house’s foundation
- Damage caused by your pets
- War or government action
- Smog, rust, and corrosion
In conclusion, will your insurance company take care of your leaky roof claim? The answer is not always. While your standard homeowners’ insurance policy does not usually have coverage for a leak from just regular wear or negligence, it will cover any storm-related damage to the roof caused by hail/windstorms and lightning strikes. It does not cover any leaks that have been caused by negligence or general wear, settling/cracking of the foundation due to natural causes (not construction), damage from an infestation of animals or insects, war-related damages.
When In Doubt Call The Pros
If you find yourself facing a situation where you need your roof leak repaired, call us. The Gouge Roofing team will come out and do a thorough inspection for you to determine the root cause, and we can take it from there! So contact us right away when you spot a leak.