Does Home Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

If your home is suffering from a roof leak, you’ll want to fix it straight away. This is when many homeowners turn to their home insurance, hoping that their policy will help them cover the costs. After all, the main reason most homeowners take out a home insurance policy is to protect them in unforeseen events like this. But will your home insurance cover roof damage, or repairing it? The answer is, it depends entirely on your circumstances, and your exact policy.

Will My Home Insurance Cover Roof Repairs?

In general, home insurance policies will only cover damage to your roof caused by an unforeseen one-off event. For example, if a storm damaged your roof, your insurer would expect to see obvious signs of damage, such as many missing roof tiles or a large hole in your roof. In this instance, if your policy covers it, then your insurer would pay for any damages or repairs.

However, if your roof has not been well-maintained over the years, and has now sprung a leak, this will likely fall under general wear-and-tear. This sort of damage is not usually covered by home insurance, as it is often stated in your policy that it is the homeowner’s responsibility to care for their home and keep it to a good standard.

Legal & General’s statement on the case of Mrs M:

“As is the position for the majority of household insurance policies, Mrs M is covered for a one-off insured event, such as flood, fire or storm, but insurance policies are not designed to cover damage or repairs that may be required through general wear and tear.

In addition, customers are required under the terms of their insurance cover to maintain their property in good order and it is clear Mrs M's roof had been leaking and required maintenance and was not damaged by a one-off event.

How to Claim for Roof Repairs on Your Home Insurance

Once you’ve determined that your home insurance policy may cover the costs of replacing or repairing your roof, there are a few more things to consider.

1. Get an Estimate for Repair Costs

One of the first things you’ll need to do when filing a claim with your home insurance is provide an estimate of the cost of repairing the damage to your roof. Many reputable roofers or roofing companies will give you a quote for free, so it’s worth your while ringing around to get the best price. It may also be the case that your chosen roofer has experience of home insurance claims for roof damage, and will be able to help answer your questions in detail. How to find a good roofer.

2. Will Your Insurance Cover the Full Cost of Repairing Your Roof?

Some more comprehensive home insurance policies will offer full cover for repair costs. However, this is a rare exception, and will often only be the case if your roof was in excellent condition prior to being damaged by a freak occurrence such as a sudden storm or if a tree fell onto it. Therefore, in most cases, if your insurer will pay you, it will only be a partial amount.

3. Do You Have Roof Replacement Cover?

Rather than covering the cost of repairs, it may be worth your time checking if your home insurer would cover the cost of a full roof replacement. This would of course, depend upon the severity of the damage done to your roof. You should obtain a detailed report from a professional to prove that a new roof is needed, and that the damage cannot be fixed by repairs alone. It may also help your case if the cost of a full roof replacement is less than carrying out the repairs.

4. Age and Condition of Your Roof

Insurers often look at several factors before paying a claim. For example, if your roof is less than ten years old, or has been checked recently by a professional, these will set your claim in good stead. After all, if it can be proven that your roof was in strong condition before it was damaged, then it is far less likely for your claim to be dismissed as wear and tear. We would recommend having your roof checked at least annually, to arm yourself with this info should the need ever arise.

5. The Exact Cause of Damage

This is perhaps the most important factor in determining whether or not your home insurance policy covers you. Policies generally contain a detailed list of what they will and will not cover. For example, while general wear and tear is not covered, unexpected bouts of severe weather, or even external elements such as arson or vandalism could be covered. It is always worth determining the exact cause of damage to your roof and consulting your insurer to find out.