As a property owner, roof leaks are a real nuisance. While patching the leak can be stressful enough, you don’t want the added strain of your insurance claim being rejected. So, it’s good to know if home insurance covers roof leaks before applying for a new policy or filing a claim.
While many home insurance providers cover damage caused to the roof of your house, not all leaks are covered. Whether your claim will be accepted or denied often depends on the cause of the damage.
When does home insurance cover roof leaks?
Home insurance policies provide cover loss and damage to your home from a variety of causes. However, each policy varies greatly and it’s important to check the individual coverage in the Product Disclosure Statement.
Some insurers will cover damage from a leaking roof if it was unavoidable. Some of the instances where may get damage covered, depending on the individual policy, include:
- Trees or branches falling
- Other objects falling
- Damage caused by natural disasters like windstorm, hail and other extreme weather conditions
- Heavyweight of snow or ice
Again, it’s critical to check the policy as the type of roof damage covered will depend on the insurer and your level of coverage.
There are also instances where your home insurance will not cover the repair costs for your roof at all. These exclusions will be listed in your policy.
Consider browsing through different providers to determine which provider gives coverage that is most suitable for you.
What are the standard exclusions?
Some of the most common exclusions for roof leak damages include:
- Lack of roof maintenance
- Damage caused by mould, algae or wood rotting
- Wear and tear, or roof deterioration
- Damage caused by birds, rodents or insects
- A shrinking, bulging or expanding roof.
When should you file a claim for your leaky roof?
If your roof has been damaged due to an event that is covered in your insurance policy, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible. If you wait too long to make a claim and start repairs, the water damage could get worse. In this case, your insurer may decide that the level of damage was caused as a result of negligence, which will most likely result in your claim getting rejected.
On the other hand, if you’ve noticed that your roof has been leaking for years and has recently escalated, you are also unlikely to get a claim paid. If your roof starts leaking for no apparent reason, it may be worth first trying to find the cause before filing a claim.
How to spot a potential leak?
When it comes to roof leaks, it’s often a case of sooner is better. To spot a possible leak, check for:
- Missing shingles or tiles: Inspect your roof for any missing or broken shingles or tiles as it can allow water to enter.
- Stains on the ceiling: If you notice a damp spot on your ceiling, it could be an indication that the water is leaking into your home and you need to investigate it immediately.
- Choked gutters and downpipes: Check your gutters regularly to ensure they aren’t blocked. You could also consider installing gutter guards to prevent the build-up of any debris.
How to maintain your roof?
As most home insurance providers will not cover leaky roofs that were caused due to negligence, you should try to maintain your roof to avoid bearing the cost of repairs yourself. Consider cleaning the gutters regularly, while also clearing debris, leaves, moss and branches.
You could also get a professional to inspect your roof semi-regularly to spot any initial signs of mould, rust, broken shingles, missing or damaged nails or cracked sealants. This may help you to repair your roof before the damage escalates.