Does Home Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

If you're asking yourself the question, will my home insurance pay for roof repairs, the answer is – it depends.

If a storm has caused damage to your roof or sent a tree crashing through it, most home insurance policies will cover the cost of repairs.

However, if the roof leaks are the result of poor roof maintenance, it's likely that the homeowner's insurance won't pay out for roof repairs. If you own the property, it's up to you to maintain the roof.

Key Points

  • Most policies will pay for the cost of repairs if it was unexpected
  • If you failed to keep on top of roof maintenance, your insurer is not likely to cover the cost of repair
  • Contact your insurer the moment you spot something wrong with your roof
  • If you have had any roofing work undertaken, ask the roofer for a receipt so that you can prove you have been keeping on top of roof maintenance
Does Home Insurance Cover Roof Leaks

Your Home Insurance Won't Pay for a Roof Repair Caused by Poor Maintenance, but they Should Cover the Costs in Most Other Cases

Most homeowners insurance policies will cover roof leaks. However, your home insurance company will want to determine the cause of the roof leak before reimbursing you for the repair work. The easiest way to find out whether your home insurance will pay for a leaking roof is to read the declaration page in your homeowner's insurance policy.

The declaration page will explain what perils are covered and excluded. If you cannot find your homeowner's insurance policy, you can call your insurance provider and ask does home insurance cover roof leaks? Your insurer should be able to tell you over the phone.

Most home insurers will have an “open peril” list in their policy. Most homeowners insurance policies will contain a list of perils like in the table below:

List of perils covered by standard home insurance policy

Sudden and accidental cracking, bursting or breaking of pipes and other systems within the homeStrong winds and hailstone
Frozen home amenities such as a boiler systemDamage caused by a riot
Unexpected, accidental damage caused by electrical surgeDamage from vehicles
Accidental damage caused by the discharge of steam or waterFire and smoke (including wildfires)
ExplosionsA volcano erupting
Falling objectsLightning
Excessive weight caused by sleet, snow or iceVandalism
Damage from aircraftTheft

A list of open perils is anything that could cause damage to your property that is outside your control. Read the list of perils carefully to make sure that the cause of the damage to your property is not excluded in the policy. If the home insurance company determines that the cause of the damage is due to lack of maintenance, they are not likely to honour an insurance claim.

A typical example is if strong winds cause a tree to come crashing down onto your roof tiles. You will be able to make a homeowners insurance claim to repair the roof damage. However, if your roof springs a leak after decades of weather and no upkeep, you will probably have to pay out of your own pocket.

Home insurers will exclude some types of perils in their policies. Pet damage and floods are good examples of the types of perils that are excluded in home insurance policies. Where you live may increase the risk of some types of perils damaging your property. If you live somewhere that is more likely to be exposed to some types of perils; you could ask your insurer for supplemental coverage.

Here is a List of Hazards that Most Home Insurance Companies Exclude from their Policies

  • Pet damage
  • Animal or insect infestation damage
  • Corrosion, smog, or rust
  • Mudslides, landslides, and earthquakes
  • Actions taken by the government or war
  • Floods
  • House foundation problems such as cracking, settling, or warping
  • Lack of maintenance and neglect

Most standard home insurance policies will exclude damage caused by mould and fungus. However, if the policyholder took out additional cover for mould and fungus damage, they'll be covered if they need to make a claim.

However, if a covered roof leak is the cause of mould growing inside the property, then your insurer should also cover the cost of mould removal. If the homeowner took too long to report the roof leaked to their insurer, then the insurance company might refuse to pay for damages.

Which Type of Home Insurance Covers Roof Leaks?

If you ever need to make an insurance claim for a roof leak, you would need your building insurance policy at hand.

Building insurance covers the cost of repairs and other structural damage. If a roof leak has damaged your furniture, you will need to claim your home contents insurance.

Buildings insurance will cover the cost of structural damage to your home, such as:

  • Damage to a permanent fixture such as a bathroom or kitchen
  • Repairing or rebuilding a property

Contents insurance will replace any damaged items within your home:

  • Laptops, TVs, and phones
  • Furniture
  • Carpets and laminate flooring
  • Personal belongings

Buildings insurance and home contents insurance offer protection from different types of scenarios. Both types of insurance are usually sold separately. Shop around for an insurance company that offers a combined policy, and you might even get a discount. Keep in mind that you pay for what you get. If you buy the cheapest type of policy, you may find it more difficult to make a claim.

Claiming on House Insurance for a Roof Leak

Making a claim for a roof repair on your home insurance is usually straightforward. Find the page titled making a claim (or something similar to that) and follow the instructions. The usual steps for claiming on your house insurance for roof leaks are as follows:

  • Get in touch with your insurance provider and let them know about the damage to your roof and you want to make a claim.
  • Take plenty of photographs of the damage to your roof and inside your home. Make a list of all of your damaged possessions and take photographs. Send the photographs to the person who is dealing with your claim.
  • Get a quote for repairing roof damage and re-roofing
  • Send a copy of your quotes to your insurer
  • Set a date to have the roof repaired
  • Once the work is finished, notify your insurer and send them a copy of your invoice. Your insurer will be able to see how much repairing a roof leak cost and can pay the roofing company for the completed work.

Problems with Home Insurance Roof Claims

Your insurer may acknowledge that strong winds have caused significant damage to your roof. However, they might say it would have stayed intact if the roof had been maintained.

A good example would be if your chimney pots fell off the chimney stack, damaged the roof, and smashed on the ground below. Regular roof maintenance would have noticed the chimney pots were loose and needed re-bedding.

If your roof has been weather damaged, it's important to let your insurer know right away. If you have any receipts for repairs or maintenance, tell your insurer, so they know you have been taking good care of your roof.

If you don't agree with your insurer's decision not to pay out for a claim, you should make a formal complaint. If you're not happy with the response to your complaint, you can take it one step further and get in touch with the financial ombudsman. The financial ombudsman will review the claim and decide whether it should be paid or refused.

How to Find a Roof Leak

 (for pitched roofs, not flat roofs)

Go up into the attic and see if you can spot daylight coming in through a missing slate or damaged roof tile.

Grab a torch before you go into the attic. Once you're up into the attic, take a good look at what you can stand on. There may not be any proper flooring, so you will have to stand on the roof joists. Make sure your feet stay on the joists; otherwise, your foot might go through the bedroom ceiling!

Point your torch at the underside of the roof and see if you can spot any wet patches where the rain could be getting in. Have a look around for patches of mould. Mould thrives in cold, moist areas, and roof leaks help to create the perfect environment for mould to grow. If you find mould, there's a good chance you will find the cause of the roof leak. 

Damaged Roof Insulation can Help You find the Source of the Roof Leak

If you have insulation on the underside of your roof, it can actually help you find the roof leak. Take a good look at the insulation and see if you notice anything different. You will usually see a brownish water stained patch where the rainwater has been dripping onto the insulation. If you can see damage on a section of insulation, keep in mind that the source of the leak could be several feet on either side of it.

If you've spotted water damaged insulation on the underside of your roof, the next step is to remove it carefully. You may have to remove the insulation on either side of the damaged piece to find the cause of the roof leak. Make sure you have the right protective gear before starting.

Look for Signs of Daylight or an Object that Could have Pierced the Roof

Once you have removed the insulation, switch off the torch. If you can see daylight, look closely and see if there's a broken slate or missing tiles. If you can't see any daylight, switch on your torch and have a closer inspection of the underside of the roof. Look for anything that could have pierced the roof, such as a nail. If you can't see anything obvious, have a look for roof vents. If your roof has vents, the waterproof seals around them can deteriorate over time.

Frequently asked questions

Will my Monthly Home Insurance Payments go Down if I Get a New Roof?

There's a good chance your homeowner's insurance provider will give you a discount for replacing your roof. Replacing a pitched or flat roof reduces the chances of you making a claim for a roof repair to virtually zero. Talk to your existing insurer and ask them about a discount. If they refuse, shop around and try and find one that will. Try and find an insurer which is regulated by the financial services register. I recommend you get a quote from this roof insurance company.

Do You Have to Pay the Excess on Your Home Insurance for a Roof Replacement?

If your home insurance has agreed to pay for a roof replacement, you will likely have to pay the excess. The amount of excess you pay should be in your home insurance policy. If you're still not sure, contact your insurer.

Does my Home Insurance Provider Choose a Roofer to Repair my Roof or can I Choose one Myself?

If your roof is brand new, your insurer might want to use one of their contracted roofing companies. In most cases, you're on your own. It is up to you to contact local roofers and ask them for a quote. If you want to avoid the hassle of contacting multiple roofing companies, I recommend you visit this website and they will contact you!