Your roof plays a vital role in protecting your loved ones and valuable belongings, so you’ve probably wondered whether you’d be covered if this essential structure is damaged. The answer depends on several factors, including the source of the damage, the age of your roof and your insurance policy. To learn more about whether your homeowners insurance covers roof leaks and how to file a claim, read on.
Will Insurance Pay for a Leaking Roof?
Your home insurance will likely cover a leaking roof if the leak was caused by a covered peril. If you’re like most homeowners, you have an open peril policy, which means your policy insures your home against all sources of damage except for ones it explicitly excludes. Commonly excluded perils include:
- Damage caused by broken or frozen pipes in vacant homes
- Vandalism to a vacant dwelling
- Theft of a dwelling that is under construction
- Corrosion, latent defects, pollution and industrial smoke
- Wear, tear and settling
- Damage caused by pets, animals and pests
- Weather events that aggravate another cause of loss that is excluded, such as flooding
- Association and government actions
- Defective design, construction and maintenance
Unless the damage was caused by one of the excluded perils above, your roof leak is likely covered by insurance via your policy’s dwelling structure portion. Common examples of situations that result in claims for damage include:
- Collapsed trees
There is a chance your policy also covers damage from raccoons and other animals. This varies from policy to policy, so check the details of your policy. Damage from dogs, cats and other pets is usually excluded from homeowners insurance policies.
If your roofing material was damaged from an unexcluded peril and this resulted in a leak, your policy may cover the cost of replacing your roof and any structural damage to your home. Homes are usually insured on a replacement cost basis, which means your insurance company will replace it at its current market value. However, your roof’s age may be grounds for them to reject your roof claim. For this reason, it never hurts to ask your insurance company whether they’ll cover your roof in its current condition.
Damage done to any personal belongings, like a couch or a rug, is usually covered by personal property coverage. This type of insurance is either paid out on its replacement cost or its actual cash value. The main difference between the two is how you’re reimbursed — replacement cost doesn’t factor in depreciation, whereas actual cash value does. Based on these values, it can be beneficial to insure your property and home on a replacement cost basis.
Are There Any Circumstances Where My Insurance Won’t Pay?
One situation your insurance company likely will not cover is a natural disaster. This includes if your roof is damaged by a hurricane, flooding or earthquake. General wear and tear of your roof will not be covered, either. Your insurance will not reimburse you for replacing your roof just because the current one is old.
If your roof is getting up there in age and needs repairs, this poses an insurance risk of its own. The older and weaker your roof is, the more likely you’ll need to file an insurance claim after a rough storm. It’s highly recommended that you have your roof maintained routinely, as it can ensure your roof claim won’t be as likely to be denied by your insurer.
If you’re uncertain whether a certain type of damage will or will not be covered by your policy, contact your company and speak to one of the insurance adjusters.
Should I File a Claim for My Roof’s Damage?
If there is damage, you should likely file a claim. Even if you are unsure whether you’ll be covered, it doesn’t hurt to contact your insurance provider. Depending on the policy you have, you may not have to pay as many out-of-pocket costs as you would have if you didn’t file the claim.
If I Have a Leak, Should I Call the Insurance Company or Roofing Company?
To ensure your roof will be handled properly, you should call your insurance provider first. If you contact a roofing company first, they might end up making repairs your policy doesn’t cover, which can result in your claim being denied. To avoid having to pay the bill, make sure to familiarize yourself with the details of your insurance policy.
How Does a Roof Insurance Claim Work?
Filing a roof insurance claim involves getting in touch with your insurance company and a roof repair company. Contact your insurance company first to find out what your policy covers. The company may ask you to contact an approved roofing company so they can professionally inspect your roof. Some roofing companies may offer to assist with your claim or communicate with your insurance company on your behalf once the repairs are finished.
How Do I File a Roof Damage Claim?
How to file a claim for a leaking roof varies slightly from one insurance company to the next, but the general steps are as follows:
- Photograph the damage: Take plenty of photos of your damaged roof. Try to include shots of what did the damage, such as a collapsed tree. Take these photos before making any temporary repairs, such as throwing a tarp over the roof to protect the house.
- Call your insurance company: Contact them as soon as possible to inform them about the damage that has occurred, including the extent of the damage and the cause of the damage. Confirm whether your policy will cover you and how much time you have to file.
- File the claim: Your insurance company can give you all the needed paperwork. Fill it out and submit it.
- Hold on to receipts: Keep all the receipts related to securing your roof from becoming more damaged, whether the repairs are done by a professional or by you. Wait to hire a professional to do repairs until your insurance company approves your claim, as they might have a network of approved contractors, and using a contractor outside of that network could mean the company won’t cover the repair costs. If you’re unable to live in your home and need to go to a hotel, your insurance policy might cover the costs of your stay.
- Expect an insurance adjuster to visit: Your insurance company might dispatch an insurance adjuster to your home to assess the roof damage. They will work with both your insurance company and the repair contractor to calculate how much it will cost to repair or replace the roof.
- Familiarize yourself with your appeal rights: It is possible that the insurer will deny your claim or reimburse you for less than what the repairs or replacement cost. You are entitled to have a public adjuster assess your roof damage, after which they will provide their report to your insurance company to appeal the claim denial or payout amount.
Request a Free Estimate From US Roofing
If your roof has been damaged by a storm, the professionals at US Roofing can provide emergency roofing services as well as assistance with your insurance claims. Our contractors will gladly perform an inspection of your property and provide a quote free of charge. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 855-877-6631 or fill out our online form.