The mysteries of a new home are sweet to new homeowners. Until disaster strikes in the form of a leaky roof. New homeowners will find out quickly if their homeowners’ insurance covers the leak.
Should a tree fall through the upper floors of the house due to a bad wind or hail storm, then the insurance would likely cover it.
However, if the new homeowner fails to keep up with basic maintenance, then the roof might leak due to everyday wear and tear.
In this instance, the homeowner’s insurance probably won’t cover that. New homeowners should know exactly what their insurance policy covers and what it doesn’t.
It is also a good idea for new homeowners to keep up with maintenance so that they won’t need that policy for roof repair or replacement.
Is Water Damage From a Roof Leak Covered?
Absolutely. A homeowners insurance policy will cover the damage caused by a roof leak if it doesn’t cover the reason for the leak itself.
For example, should the homeowner sustain water damage through a catastrophic cause like a wind storm or a hurricane, it’s covered. Gross neglect, not so much.
Roof Leaks Your Home Insurance Will Not Cover
Insurance companies don’t like to pay out. The insurance policy will have a list placed in various paragraphs detailing on what they won’t pay out.
Homeowners who meticulously study their policy won’t be caught paying out of pocket for roof repairs because the insurance company didn’t cover it.
Another thing homeowners should do is check their roofs for leaks. If the gutters are full of twigs and leaves, clean them. Rainwater that can’t escape through the gutters will rot the wood behind the gutter and get into your attic or wall, causing water damage.
It doesn’t cost a penny to eyeball the roof for loose shingles or anything else that looks out of place and could cause a leak.
Some of the things an insurance company won’t pay out on a leaky roof include the results of a lack of home maintenance. In many cases, a hole in the roof could have been prevented.
General wear and tear, or brittle or loose shingles take very little money and time to fix. A little maintenance could save many homeowners a ton of money.
Some wear and tear are expected, however, and homeowners may not be able to prevent leaks. Make sure the roof is inspected regularly, at least once or twice per year as well as following big storms, so that any repairs don’t break the bank.
Homeowners should know that water damages caused by manufacturing flaws or mistakes made in installation won’t be covered. This is another good reason that inspections and waterproofing is a good idea.
How To Spot Roof Leaks
Finding a roof leak early is the difference between expensive repairs, mold and water damage and a roof with no problems that only needs low-cost maintenance work.
Finding leaks isn’t easy, however; water moves around. Here’s how to find the key indicators that your roof might be suffering from a leak…
How to spot a roof leak at early inspection
There are some obvious signs of a leaky roof that can be easily seen by the naked eye:
- Warped, curling and buckling shingles
- Losing granules
- Flashing damaged
- Missing shingles
- Roof rot
Look For Penetrations
Nails are an obvious cause for roof leaks due to penetration, but there are other things to look out for too. Homeowners may also check the seals around the plumbing and air vents, flashing around venting, pipe gaskets, chimneys, and dormers.
Check The Attic
You’ll need a flashlight to help you investigate this possibility, as you’ll be able to note the light reflecting off any leaking water easily. A leak will show up between the plastic sheeting and the insulation. If, when you pull aside the insulation, there is a reflection, you have a leak.
Mildew is another good indication of a leaky roof. It has to have moisture to live, so if you have mildew in your attic, there is most likely a leak. When you check the insulation, make sure you’re covered from head to toe with gloves, head wear, long sleeves and long pants for safety’s sake. You’ll also need a painter’s mask to prevent breathing in the fiberglass.
After You Have Found The Leak
A tiny pinhole from a nail can cause water damage, so there are some cases where the leak is a minor issue and simple to fix. If you aren’t comfortable up high, then it’s always a good idea to hire a professional.
When To File a Home Insurance Claim On a Leaky Roof
When it looks like the damage will be more than the policy’s deductible, then it’s time to file a claim. The best way to go forward is to use an inspector. If they’re only assessing damage, then the cost will be slight to nothing.
It’s only when an inspection is deep and thorough that it costs hundreds. The two things you’ll need to know from the inspector is the extent of the damage, and what the cost might be to repair it.
Most policy’s deductibles are around $750. Should the repair cost be only slightly above that, it might be a good idea to skip the deductible and just pay for it.
Remember your rates go up when you file a claim, usually by $100 to $200. Paying the extra above the deductible saves you from paying higher rates.
How Much Will Homeowners Insurance Cover?
The majority of roofs are covered on an ordinary homeowners policy to the outer limits of the “structural coverage.” Since the roof is part of the structure, it is, of course, covered like the rest of the structure.
Be aware, however, that if there is a weakness in the roof, you might encounter difficulty getting insurance. An inspection will show whether or not this will be a particular issue for you.
Homeowner Tips For Roof Leaks and Insurance Claims
An ounce of prevention is better than a new roof:
- Use an inspector or another trained professional
- Take pictures of the leaks and damages
- Update the pictures following repairs or a severe storm
- Keep a file of bills, invoices, inspection reports and such to make the claims process easier
- Remove trees that could harm the roof if they fell
- Replace curly, broken or buckled shingles
Impact-resistant shingles are expensive to use as replacements, but they’ll save money and your roof in the long run.
No two insurance companies are alike, and each one will cover their homeowners differently. Study your policy and be sure to call the insurance company and ask questions.