Are you a homeowner dealing with water damage after a roof leak? It’s crucial that you move quick and prevent any further damage. Before panic sets in, it’s important to understand to what extent your homeowners insurance covers roof leaks.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to homeowners insurance and a common claim. Sudden, accidental roof leaks will typically be covered under your homeowners insurance policy.
Some policies will pay to repair the damaged roof that is leaking but not for water stains or mold. However, this is dependent on your individual policy and the circumstances around the claim.
Some policies are more robust than others so you’ll need to read through your policy to discover what is covered and what is not covered. If that’s not your idea of a good time, this is something you can have your agent do for you. Unless you bought your insurance through one of those 1-800 number call centers.
If that’s the case, our first order of business is to discuss your life choices! But seriously, reach out to us. One of our agents would love to help.
Your policy will lay out its covered perils. Perils is just a fancy word meaning the cause of the damage. For example, wind, hail, fire etc.
Claims Typically Covered
Scenarios where damage to a roof that causes a leak will likely be covered:
- Tree falls on your house
- Hail damage
- Wind damage (coverage purchased separately in some states)
- Lightning strike
Claims Typically Not Covered
Scenarios where damage to a roof that causes a leak are typically not covered:
- Earthquake (Unless optionally added)
- Flood (Unless you’ve purchased flood insurance)
- Wear and tear
- Damage caused by pests
- Faulty labor or materials
- Poor maintenance
Replacement Cost Vs Actual Cash Value
The amount your homeowners insurance will pay for the damages can be significantly different depending on the settlement type in your policy.
Replacement Cost will pay the amount to replace your roof with similar quality materials, minus your deductible.
Actual Cash Value will depreciate the payout based on the roof age. For example, if your roof costs $10,000 to replace and it’s 10 years old, you may only get $5,000 minus your deductible.
This is a very costly mistake for a lot of people. They’re choosing actual cash value because it saves money on insurance costs.
However, for some, you may not have a choice. Many insurance companies will not give you the option for replacement cost if your roof is over a certain age. Typically, this is around 15 – 20 years old but varies by company. Your policy may be grandfathered or it may automatically convert from replacement cost to actual cash value when it hits the age limit.
It’s important to note that your roof settlement could be actual cash value but the rest of the structure can be replacement cost. So, just because you have replacement cost on the home doesn’t mean you also have it for the roof. Ok, a little confusing but hopefully we cleared that up.
How to File an Insurance Claim for a Roof Leak
First, make sure you document the damage with pictures (if possible). Next, contact your insurance company right away to report the leak and ask about your coverage. Do not wait! Most policies state that you have a duty to prevent further damage. Even if you tarp the roof yourself or have someone else do it, you need to put your insurance company on notice asap. If you procrastinate you may get denied.
Protecting Your Roof from Leaks
Inspect your roof after storms. Look for any signs of damage, such as cracked or missing shingles, and address them immediately. Additionally, make sure to keep your gutters clear of debris, as clogged gutters can lead to water damage and leaks.
Consider having a professional assess your roof to ensure it is in good condition and identify any potential problem areas before they turn into major leaks. By taking these steps, you can help protect your home and your wallet from costly roof repairs.
We hope this has helped answer your question; does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks? Check out our related articles on homeowners insurance as well as others on car insurance, umbrella, life and more.