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Does home insurance cover roof leaks?

Peter Terlato avatar
Peter Terlato
- 4 min read
Does home insurance cover roof leaks?

Key highlights

  • Home insurance coverage for roof leaks varies depending on the damage's cause and the individual policy. Falling trees, natural disasters, vandalism, and heavy snow may be covered, but negligence, inadequate maintenance, and wear and tear are often excluded.
  • Promptly filing a claim and providing evidence is crucial for successful reimbursement.
  • Regularly checking for missing shingles, clogged gutters, and ceiling stains can help identify potential leaks. Maintaining the roof through cleaning, inspections, and repairs can help prevent costly damage and potential claim denials.
  • While many home insurance providers cover damage 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.

    Patching a roof leak can be stressful enough, but you also don’t want the added strain of your insurance claim being rejected. It’s worth knowing if your home insurance covers roof leaks before applying for a new policy or filing a claim.

    When does home insurance cover roof leaks?

    Home insurance policies provide cover for damage to your home caused by a variety of insured events. However, each policy varies greatly, so it’s important to check the individual coverage in your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

    Many insurers will cover damage from a leaking roof if it was unavoidable. Some of the instances where damage may be covered, depending on the individual policy, include:

    • Falling trees or branches
    • Other falling objects;
    • Damage caused by natural disasters like windstorms, hail and other extreme weather events;
    • Vandalism, or;
    • Heavy weight of snow or ice.

    Typically, once your claim is approved, any water damage to your home and/or its contents because of the leak will be covered. Your policy will likely specify a repair cost limit, and some policies may stipulate that the roof must be restored to the same standard as the original. However, this will all depend on your individual policy’s coverage restrictions.

    It is critical to check your home insurance policy for details, as the type of roof damage covered will depend on the insurer and your level of coverage. There may also be 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 a range of different providers to determine which policy gives coverage that is most suitable for you and your home.

    What are the standard exclusions?

    Some of the most common exclusions for roof leak damages include:

    • Negligence e.g. blocked gutters
    • Inadequate roof maintenance
    • Rusted roof sheeting or nails
    • Lifted or loose roof sheeting or tiles
    • Damage caused by mould, rotting wood or algae
    • Wear and tear or roof deterioration as a result of ageing
    • Damage caused by birds, rodents or insects
    • Roof settling, contraction, expansion or distortion

    When should you file a claim for a leaking 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 initiate repairs, the water damage could get worse. In this case, your insurer may decide that the level of damage was caused by negligence, which may result in your claim being rejected.

    On the other hand, if you’ve noticed that your roof has been leaking for years and it 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.

    Be prepared with any necessary information, evidence, photos, and details pertaining to the damage before filing a claim with your insurer. This may help to expedite the process and potentially give you a greater chance of lodging a successful claim.

    How to spot a possible leak

    To spot a potential roof leak, check for:

    • Missing shingles or roof tiles: Inspect your roof for any missing or broken shingles or tiles, as this may be how water is leaking into your home.
    • Clogged gutters and downpipes: Check and clean your gutters regularly to ensure they aren’t blocked. You could also consider installing gutter guards to help prevent debris from interfering with the flow of rainwater.
    • Stains on your ceiling: If you notice a damp or dark spot on your ceiling, it could indicate that water is leaking from your roof – you may want to investigate this immediately.

    How to maintain your roof

    As most home insurance providers will not cover leaky roofs that were caused due to negligence, it’s often worth trying to maintain your roof to avoid bearing the cost of repairs yourself.

    Consider cleaning the gutters regularly, while also clearing away debris, leaves, moss, and branches. It’s also sensible to regularly check for rusted areas, cracks, and holes in your roof.

    You might also consider hiring 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 any damage escalates.

    Compare home insurance

    Product database updated 22 Jun, 2024

    This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.