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
- Collapsed trees
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.