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A bucket underneath a leak in a living room in Dallas – Ft. Worth, TX Area

You’ve noticed water inside your home where it is not supposed to be and you realize that you have a leak in your roof. The first question most homeowners ask is: How am I going to get this fixed? The second question is: Will my homeowners’ insurance cover the cost of the repair? The answer to this question is not a simple “yes” or “no”, but more nuanced and dependent on the type of policy and what is included in your policy. When you purchased your home, your lender, most likely, required you to have homeowners insurance on your home. You might not expect damage to your home but your lender and homeowners policy don’t think the same way. So, let’s take a look at the situations when homeowners insurance will cover roof leaks when they won’t, and how to deal with your leaking roof before more damage occurs.

What Homeowners Insurance Covers

Homeowners insurance often covers roof leaks, this is not a guarantee. The best way to find out what your insurance covers is to check your policy. If you have questions reading or regarding your policy or would like clarification about your policy, contact the agent that sold you the policy. Most homeowners insurance policies also cover damages due to fire, vandalism, electrical surges, pipes bursting, AC freezing, heavy snow cover, and many other types of sudden, unexpected damages. These issues may have arisen because of your roof damage or not. Most policies do not cover wear and tear items, so be certain of what your policy exactly covers.


What Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Roof repairs are expensive, so every homeowner would like their repairs to be covered by insurance. The major factor in deciding if a roof repair is covered by your homeowner’s insurance is what caused the damage to the roof and how the leak started. Unfortunately, leaks resulting from some of the more common causes are often not covered by insurance. If your roof leak was caused by storm damage, the repairs would likely be covered. Leaks caused by vandalism will probably be covered as well.

However, if your leak occurred as a result of wear and tear over time, your repairs will probably not be covered because you are expected to take care of routine maintenance. Also, if your roof is more than 20 years old, it will likely be considered too old to be repaired, and thus, any claim is likely to be denied. A roof over 20 years old is a common cause of denial for roof repair claims.  A typical asphalt roof lasts about 20 years and the insurance company may expect you to replace your roof.

Additionally, some other types of damage don’t tend to be covered by homeowners insurance. Damages due to pests, flooding, earthquakes, and mold are often not covered. Although, you could see if you can buy an additional policy to cover these sorts of damage.

However, even if you don’t have a policy that covers roof leaks, the water damage resulting from the roof leaks may still be covered. This is true because many leaks are caused by the wear and tear of your roof over time. Yet, even though insurance companies generally don’t cover these leaks, most policies do cover water damage that results from wear and tear since this is frequently the cause of water damage. However, since insurance companies do cover this, they may want to inspect your roof periodically to make sure you are maintaining it.

Roof Leak Claims

If your homeowners insurance policy covers the reason for your roof leak you can always file a claim, but you need to consider if you should file a claim or not. Depending on the details of your situation, filing a claim may not necessarily be in your best interests.

The first thing you will want to consider in filing a claim is the amount of your deductible and the number of deductibles that your policy has written into it. Check carefully because your policy could have more than one deductible and make sure you find the one that applies to your situation. For instance, the deductible for storm damage may be different than the deductible for routine damage.

Once you find your deductible, see if the deductible is higher than the cost of the repairs. If the deductible is higher than the cost of the repairs, it’s probably not worth filing a claim. Filing an insurance claim can increase your premiums and make it harder to get homeowners insurance in the future; especially if you’ve made other claims. It may even be worth paying for the repairs out of pocket if they are not too expensive to avoid higher premiums and possibly preserve your ability to get homeowners insurance in the future.

Finding Your Roof Leak

You can help prevent water damage and keep your roof in good shape by looking out for leaks and responding quickly if you find any. Look for any water stains on your ceilings and even running down your walls that could indicate a leaky roof. These water stains can indicate a leaky roof and you will want to determine the origin of the leak. You may also notice mold on or inside your walls that will be an indicator of a leaky roof. Checking the ceiling and walls on upper floors is particularly important since that is where you’re likely to see leaks first.

Try to check your roof regularly. The best way to do this is to have periodic inspections from a roofing contractor. Then, if your roof needs any repairs, you can have them done quickly.

Steps to Take While Waiting for Roof Repair

Most people don’t want to climb up on their roof to try to temporarily cover the leak. However, you can take a few steps to limit the damages while waiting for the roofing contractor.

  • Place buckets under any leaks. Doing this helps limit the water damage. Just be sure to check and empty the buckets as they fill up.
  • Protect your goods. Keep everything away from any areas that have leaks to avoid damage to your furniture or any other items.
  • Provide Ventilation: Using a fan and opening the windows when possible may help evaporate the moisture, thus limiting further damage.
  • Mop up the water. Mopping up or drying any wet areas of your floors can keep the water from further damaging your floors. If you have a carpet, a wet/dry vac may help.

Filing Your Claim

No one wants to have their roof leaking, so it may be tempting to start repairs right away. Before starting repairs try to limit any damage and file your claim by tarping your roof. Contacting the insurance company will also allow you to find out if your leak is covered by your policy. The insurance company may also limit your choice of contractors if they do cover the repairs. It’s also possible they may want to replace your roof rather than repair it. You’ll want to find these things out before starting repairs.

Before you even begin with temporary repairs, take pictures of the damage and the temporary repairs that were made. Also, keep the receipt for the tarping as well as any other expenditures related to preventing further damage.

Roofing contractor

You can promptly contact a roofing contractor to inspect your roof and evaluate any damages. Once the roofing contractor goes over your options, you can choose an option that protects your house and suits your budget. You may have very little out-of-pocket expenses if your insurance covers the repairs.

Final Thoughts

Generally, homeowners’ insurance will not cover roof leaks that occur due to age or a lack of maintenance. However, for leaks due to sudden unexpected damage such as hail, fire, or other disastrous events, there is a good chance it may be covered. If you need assistance with your roof repair or assistance working with your insurance company, please contact Structured Foundation Repairs. We have specialized in working with insurance companies and helping our customers navigate the insurance claims process for the past 20 years. Our motto has been “Do the right thing” since 2003 and we want to help you do the right thing for your home.