A leaky roof is one of the most common perils covered by a home insurance policy's dwelling coverage. Insurance often covers the cost of roof repairs and replacements if a storm, severe snowfall or lightning strike damages the roof and causes water leaks.
Dwelling coverage is part of your home insurance policy that covers your home structure and any outbuildings, such as a garage or other structure, as long as they are attached to your home. This type of coverage can help repair or rebuild the physical structure of your home if a covered peril damages it.
Roof leaks are covered by standard home insurance policies on an open perils policy (open perils include fire, windstorm, hailstorm and falling trees), which means that insurance for roof leaks is not excluded; it is automatically covered.
In this article:
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?
As a part of the physical structure, the roof is covered under dwelling coverage. So, homeowners insurance covers roof leaks if the damage is sudden and a covered peril causes it. Below are some instances where homeowners insurance covers roof leaks.
- Dwelling coverage pays for roof leaks if your roof is damaged due to vandalism or another peril.
- Homeowners insurance covers leaks in the roof caused by a storm.
- If a tree branch breaks off and damages your roof, any leaks are covered by homeowners insurance.
Homeowners insurance dwelling coverage pays for roof leaks because of certain causes of the damage. But you may also get personal property coverage for roof leaks.
For example, an ice dam that forms on your roof during a cold winter can cause water to drip down the ceiling of your house and onto the carpet. Your personal property coverage pays to fix or replace any damaged carpet, but your dwelling coverage would cover the cost of repairing the roof.
When Doesn’t Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?
Homeowners insurance doesn't cover roof leaks if a non-covered peril causes the damage. For example, homeowners insurance will not provide coverage if the leak was caused by faulty construction or neglect. For insurance companies to approve your claim, you have to prove that a covered peril caused the roof leaks.
Scenarios where homeowners insurance doesn't cover roof leaks include:
- Roof leaks caused by a lack of maintenance, pests or mold are generally not covered.
- Roof leaks are common with age due to general wear and tear; this type of damage is not covered.
How To Prevent Roof Leaks
When it comes to protecting your home, homeowners insurance provides financial compensation in the case of a covered peril. However, you must maintain your roof to avoid leaks since general wear and tear is not covered by insurance. Repairing a leaking roof as soon as possible can help minimize damage. MoneyGeek outlines how to prevent roof leaks below.
Look for Leaks
Check your home often for signs of a leak. If you have an attic, don’t skip it as it is the closest area to the roof. You may see discoloration on the ceiling, signaling a roof leak, or water on the floor. At the first sign of a leak, call a professional to have it fixed.
Never Put Off Roof Repairs
Roof leaking is more likely to happen as roofs wear over time. If your roof is old or nearing its lifespan, make the necessary repairs or replace the roof to avoid a bigger problem in the future from leaks.
Inspect Your Roof Often and After Any Weather Event
When you have a roof leak, it may be difficult to determine where it is coming from. Keep an eye out for signs of rot, damaged or cracked shingles and missing or loose nails to see where a roof leak may start and repair them.
Also, after a storm, make sure to inspect your roof for damage. If you suspect a problem, contact your insurance provider right away to inspect and repair the damage before a roof leak can happen.
Where to Buy Homeowners Insurance
Most major insurers, including State Farm, Progressive, GEICO and Farmers, provide homeowners insurance. Regional insurance companies like Lemonade and Hippo also offer homeowners insurance. You can shop around for home insurance and compare rates from several companies to find the best provider for your needs.
Homeowners insurance costs an average of $175 per month. However, your rate may vary based on the company and the value of your home and personal belongings. To estimate how much you may pay for homeowners insurance, use MoneyGeek's personal property calculator.
About Mark Fitzpatrick