Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?
Yes, it does. However, there are conditions to the coverage, as outlined in most policies. It works like this: Homeowner’s insurance covers roof leaks when they occur suddenly and accidentally and when the leak is caused by a disaster such as a fire or natural disaster. Leaks that develop over time or because of neglect are not covered.
Whether homeowner’s insurance covers a leaky roof depends on what caused the leak. A standard policy will cover repairs to your roof if a natural disaster causes the roof to crack and leak. If shingles rip off your roof during a windstorm or a tree branch crashes into your roof and causes a leak, that warrants insurance coverage. Leaks that develop over time due to poor maintenance or failure to fix the damage you already knew about would not be covered.
Sudden Damage vs. Gradual Damage
Insurance companies often make a clear distinction between sudden damage and gradual damage, as each determines the way the roof is damaged.
Sudden damage usually occurs due to an event that you were not expecting and had little to no control over. A hurricane may cause wind and rain to engulf your roof and remove it from its supporting structure. A high wind may remove several asphalt shingles from the roof surface. A fire may have occurred that was not your fault. Insurance companies are more likely to cover this type of roof damage.
Gradual damage often occurs because of neglect. You may have allowed moisture, mold or deterioration to develop over time without addressing the problem. It may have been years since you scheduled a professional roof inspection or roof maintenance, or you ignored roof damage from a past storm. In any case, the insurance company may deny your insurance claim, citing that neglect is what led to the roof leak.
Should You File a Claim for a Roof Leak?
Not every roof leak is substantial. As such, you do not always have to file a claim if you notice a leak or any damage to the roof or attic. Whether you should file a homeowner’s insurance claim for a roof leak depends on several factors, including:
- Significance of the leak
- Significance of the water damage
- Your deductible
- What your policy covers
- Whether you have filed any claims recently
Most homeowner’s insurance policies come with a deductible of $500 to $2,500, which you will have to pay before receiving any reimbursement from your insurance company. If you have a $750 deductible, and the damage will cost only $400 to repair, you would not receive a reimbursement. It makes sense to skip filing a claim.
Filing a claim may trigger a premium increase when you renew your policy, as insurers will view your home as riskier to cover. Unless your repair costs are significantly higher than your deductible, it might cost less over the long term to pay for it yourself.
How to Prevent Roof Leaks
The best way to deal with insurance companies is to do everything you can to avoid filing a claim. This means preventing roof leaks or minimizing the damage from an occurring leak. There are several things you can do to prevent roof leaks.
Schedule Routine Roof Inspections and Maintenance
Monitoring your roof and taking care of small problems as you go will reduce the likelihood of a roof leak. You should schedule a professional roof inspection at least once a year, preferably before hurricane season. A roofing contractor in Pensacola, Florida, can identify any potential problems and perform the necessary maintenance before any leaks occur.
Address Roof Damage Immediately
If you notice that a storm damaged your roof or caused any leaks, you should immediately contact a roofing contractor and your insurance company. Delaying a claim could reduce your chances of getting a fair insurance settlement. Delaying a professional roof repair can make any problem worse and cause extensive damage throughout your home interior.
Install a Quality Roof
Whether you are installing a roof on a new house or need a full roof replacement, you should always strive to get the highest quality roof possible. High-quality roofing materials will do a better job of protecting your home from rainwater. Quality products also last longer and come with a better warranty. Plus, you can keep your insurance rates lower for a longer period.
Schedule a Free Roof Inspection
Quality Roofing Solutions offers premier roofing services for homeowners in Pensacola, Milton, Pace, Gulf Breeze and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. Call (850) 378-3757 or fill out the quick form on our contact page to schedule a free roof inspection.