Does home insurance cover roof leaks?
Your roof is one of the most important structural parts of your home, and any leaks can be worrying – whatever their cause. Of course, having home insurance is essential for all aspects of your property – including the building itself – but does your policy cover roof leaks?
Your insurer may have some particular stipulations when it comes to claiming for roof leaks as part of your home insurance, so understanding what they are and what it means can help you navigate your claim.
Here, we’ll take a look at the causes of roof leaks, the signs of water damage that you need to look out for, how you can find out if you’re covered for roof leaks, and how we can help you make a successful water leak insurance claim.
Causes of roof leaks
A leak can come on suddenly – during a storm, after structural damage caused by wind, debris or lightning, or as the result of a fire or smoke damage – or it can be a result of a problem that’s been building for some time. But no matter how quickly it happens, there’s always a cause. Some of these include:
- Slipped or missing tiles
This can result in water pooling under the slates or tiles, which can damage the underlay and lead to leaks.
- Guttering damage
You might notice dripping or pouring water, particularly during heavy downpours.
- Damaged flashing or junctions
Leaks can happen if your flashings or roof junctions have any cracks, or if they’ve been incorrectly installed.
This can form under your tiles or underlay if your roof is poorly ventilated. Over time, this will drip through into your ceiling, causing damage.
- Issues with the underlay
Where underlay has been exposed to the elements for a long time, it can rot and be ineffectual, which can result in leaks.
These problems can have specific causes, but they can also crop up as a result of general wear and tear.
Whatever the cause, a leaking roof can be distressing. It not only damages your building’s structure, it can damage your belongings too, so knowing whether or not any leaks are covered by your home insurance (as well as any repairs that you might need to make) can help lessen any worry or stress you may experience.
Signs your roof is leaking
It’s not always practical (or possible) to climb onto your roof to assess its condition, but if there is a problem, there are some telltale signs that you’re likely to notice both inside and outside your home. These include:
Spots and stains
These early warning signs will be most visible on ceilings, in corners and alcoves, where they’ll appear as brown stains.
Audible dripping within your walls, or finding wet patches in your attic, are sure signs of a leak.
Look out for black mould and other signs of damp growing on your walls and ceilings.
Moss or fungi
If your roof is leaking water onto your exterior walls (for example, where flashing or guttering is damaged), you might notice moss, mould or fungi tracking along the lines of excess water.
No matter what the sign, any moisture should always be investigated as soon as possible. Not only will you be able to find the cause and source – and hopefully quickly remedy it – it will also help in minimising any further damage.
Does buildings insurance cover roof repairs?
Determining the cause of your leak is essential – and not just to help you assess the damage and get an idea of what might need repairing. It also dictates whether or not you’re covered by your home insurance.
That’s because, while most insurers will process your claim for damage, they’re unlikely to pay out for leaks caused by general wear and tear. Of course, it’s always best to check your particular policy, but the buildings insurance part of each home insurance policy (which covers protection for the actual structure of your home) usually covers damage or loss as a result of:
- Storms, flooding and natural disasters like extreme weather events
- Fallen trees or lampposts
- Collisions (of vehicles or aircraft)
- Vandalism, theft and attempted theft
- Burst or frozen pipes
If your roof is leaking as a result of any of these issues, repairs and payments for any damaged property are likely to be covered by your policy.
However, a successful claim becomes less likely where the leak is caused by general wear and tear – or poor maintenance. This isn’t usually covered by home or buildings insurance as there’s an expectation that you would actively undertake any necessary repairs and maintenance, and it’s possible your insurer will decide that your leak has been caused by your neglect, and won’t pay out for any damage.
It’s therefore essential that you keep on top of roof upkeep, as repairs can help reduce the possibility of leaks and keep your costs down.
What about contents?
Of course, a leaking roof doesn’t just cause damage to your building’s structure: if it’s severe enough, it might also damage your possessions. Electrical items, clothing, furniture and carpets can all be affected by a roof leak, so you need to know that they’re protected too.
Your contents insurance part of your home insurance should cover you for damage caused by the following, among others:
- Floods, storms and extreme weather
- Natural disasters
So if your roof is leaking following a storm or fire, for example, you should be covered for any damage to your belongings too.
Of course, always check your policy and speak to your insurance company if you’re unsure as to what your home insurance covers.
If the damage to your contents is as a result of a leak caused by lack of maintenance or neglect then it is also possible that your Insurer will decline a claim for these items.
Making a successful water leak insurance claim
There are number of steps you need to take if your home has been damaged by a leaking roof:
Step one: Control the leak
Prevent any further damage to your property or belongings, but don’t be tempted to try and fix the cause yourself. Your insurer or loss adjuster have the specialist knowledge to assess the situation, and by fixing it yourself, you may find you’re unable to claim.
Step two: Check your policy
You may have different levels of cover, or different stipulations as to what your policy will cover, so make sure you read it and then speak to your insurance provider or your broker.
Step three: Gather evidence
Keep track of when you speak to your insurer, and keep a record or evidence of the leak. This can be photos of the cause, the damage or any other relevant information your insurer may need.
Step four: Speak to an insurance claims consultancy
Navigating an insurance claim can be time consuming and stressful, particularly if you’re already dealing with the fallout and emotional distress caused by a leaking roof.
But that’s where our team comes in. At Harris Balcombe, we have years of experience when it comes to dealing with roof leak claims, and are here to help you get the compensation you deserve from your insurance company.
Speak to our team on 0330 022 9179 to organise a free, no obligation assessment, and let us take care of everything for you – from emergency pumping and investigating the cause of the leak, to speaking to your insurer and negotiating your claim.
Call our 24/7 helpline on 0330 022 9179 for a free no obligations assessment