Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Your Leaking Roof?
A leaking roof can be a nightmare for any homeowner. Not only can it damage your ceiling and walls, but it can also cause damage to your floors and the contents of your home.
So, will your homeowners insurance cover your leaking roof and subsequent water damage?
The short answer is maybe. Homeowners insurance typically covers sudden and accidental roof leaks that are caused by a covered event, such as a storm with high winds or hail. But as you’ll see in this article, there are many exceptions you need to be aware of.
Factors That Will Determine Coverage
Factors that will determine whether you’re homeowners insurance will cover your leaking roof include the following:
What Caused the Leak?
Whether your homeowners insurance covers a roof leak will depend a lot on what caused the leak.
Most standard homeowners insurance policies will cover a leaking roof due to a covered event such as damage caused by wind and hail. Unless your policy specifically excludes coverage for roof leaks, it’s typically covered.
Note: Standard homeowners insurance policies will not cover flood damage. If you want to have flood damage insurance, there are flood-specific insurance policies available on the market.
Sudden and Accidental
Insurance companies typically only cover sudden and accidental damage. If the condition of your roof gradually declines over time and you fail to repair or maintain it, you will most likely not be able to claim for any roof leaks.
The damage may appear to be sudden to you because it wasn’t visible at first. However, your insurance company might argue you could have done more to prevent it.
For example, squirrels may cause roof damage over time that can cause roof leaks. Insurance companies classify it as a maintenance issue and your homeowners insurance will not cover it.
The Age of Your Roof
In principle, roofs that are over 20 years old often have limited coverage, if any. Some insurance companies require an inspection report on the condition of your roof before they will consider insuring it.
Always check your homeowners insurance policy to determine if your roof is covered.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Replacements?
Whether homeowners insurance covers roof replacements will differ from insurer to insurer and depend on the type and condition of your roof.
Some insurers might not cover old roofs, while others may offer a cash value replacement only.
The type of roof you have also plays a role. For example, insurance companies might be more willing to insure “hip” roofs than wooden roofs. Hip roof structures provide better protection from rain, snow, and high winds. And they are typically cheaper to insure than a gable or flat roof.
How to Detect a Roof Leak
If you notice water stains or mold on your ceiling, you might have a roof leak. And if you don’t have it repaired, it will only get worse.
Make sure to check your roof regularly for leaks. Since it can be hard to detect a leak when it’s not raining, consider hiring a professional roofing company to inspect your roof. But take care to avoid free roof inspection scams.
Keep all invoices and receipts. It might help should your insurance company claim that you have not been maintaining your roof.
How to File a Roof Insurance Claim
Follow the following steps if you have a roof leak:
- Try to reduce the damage – Mop up water and use a bucket to catch water.
- Report the roof leak to your insurance company – Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Hire a roofing contractor for emergency repairs – If further damage might occur if the roof leak is not attended to right away, discuss hiring a roofing contractor for emergency repairs with your insurer.
- Document the damage – Take as many photos as possible to illustrate the damage. Be careful not to do anything that might compromise your safety, such as climbing on the roof.
- File the required paperwork – Submit the required documents to your insurance company.
Should You Hire a Public Adjuster?
When you file a claim under your homeowners insurance policy for a leaking roof and subsequent damages, your insurer will appoint an insurance adjuster to investigate the claim. The insurance adjuster looks after the best interests of your insurance company, not your best interests. Their job is to minimize the liability of your insurer.
As explained in our article about the pros and cons of using a public adjuster, not every homeowners insurance claim requires the intervention of a public adjuster. Small and straightforward insurance claims can usually be filed and managed directly by the homeowner.
However, for large or complex claims, it’s recommended that you contact a public adjuster. This is often the case with roof leaks where a leaking roof can cause substantial damage, and where the condition of the roof before the leak occurred plays a huge role.
By hiring a public adjuster who acts in YOUR best interests, you might be able to obtain a higher settlement offer and a faster resolution of your claim.
Homeowners insurance typically covers sudden and accidental roof leaks that are caused by a covered event, such as a storm with high winds or hail. However, as explained in this article, there are many factors that might influence the outcome of an insurance claim for a leaking roof.
It includes the cause of the roof leak, the age and condition of your roof, and how well you maintain your roof.
For large or complex claims where your roof may need to be replaced or where a roof leak caused significant damage, it’s recommended that you contact a public adjuster.
An experienced, reputable, and licensed public adjuster can help you overcome the challenges of managing your property insurance claim. They can assist you in getting the best possible settlement offer you’re entitled to under your homeowners insurance policy.
Avner Gat, Inc. has 17+ years of experience as a public adjuster in Los Angeles that covers Southern California. We protect homeowners from the games and fine print that insurance companies are known for.
Call us at (818) 917-5256 to find out how we can help you.