What Kind Of Roof Damage Is Covered By Insurance
Many homeowners insurance policies include dwelling coverage, which is meant to cover damage to your homes structure.
If your roof is damaged by fire, wind, hail or falling debris like trees, your dwelling coverage may help cover the cost of repairs. In the event that your homes contents are damaged as well, personal property coverage can also help repair or replace these items.
How To Protect Yourself From Hidden Costs
According to a study by Erie Insurance, nearly 27% of homeowners mistakenly believe their insurance will pay for damage that occurs to their roof through normal wear and tear. So proper home maintenance and routine inspection can go a long way to ensure any pooling water and roof leaks are caught early and fixed. If left unchecked, biggerand potentially damagingproblems are likely to occur.
Does Home Insurance Cover Roof Repairs
Its that time of year again when rainy days are a bit of a given. If you have a poorly maintained roof, chances are youll know about it soon.
A damaged roof can lead to a whole host of problems, from stained walls to costly structural and foundation faults.
Does house insurance cover roof leaks? Ultimately, it depends on your insurance policy and what caused it in the first place. Most Buildings and Contents policies will cover both the structure of the roof and any damaged belongings if the leak resulted from an unpreventable event, such as a storm. However, you wont be covered if its due to a lack of maintenance on your behalf.
You’ll need to make sure youre informed and dont invalidate your cover, heres a rundown.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Leaks From A Fallen Tree
If the tree fell on your roof due to a sudden or accidental cause, then your policy may help pay to fix the leak. An example is if a hurricane uprooted an otherwise healthy tree and caused it to crash on your roof. Since a hurricane is outside of your control, then your policy should help cover the costs to fix the roof leak.
What Water Damage Does Home Insurance Not Cover
While your homeowners policy will cover water damage under one of the perils noted above, there are other instances of water damage that are not covered under standard policies, including:
- Neglect or unsolved maintenance issues
- Water backup
In the event your insurer does pay for damage caused to your home by one of these conditions, they typically will not pay to repair the item that caused the damage. This means that if a neglected pipe bursts, your insurer may pay to fix the damage caused by the pipe, but will not cover the cost of replacing the pipe itself.
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How To Find Roof Leaks
Always check your roof for signs of wear and damage, particularly after a storm. You can do this curb side, establishing whether this is a DIY job, or better left to the professionals. If access is straightforward it may be possible to fix the problem yourself. However, if youâre at all unsure, itâs probably wiser to give an authorised tradesperson a call.
If you are attempting repairs yourself, get the right tools for the job, including ladders or scaffolding for easy access and remember to take your time, picking the right day to begin repairs.
Missing tiles are often visible from outside, but if you canât see anything obvious, try going up into the loft. Shine a torch onto the inside of the roof on a rainy day, as any water will reflect in the torchlight if it’s leaking in.
If dry weather is forecast but you still want to spot leaks, use a garden hose and gently spray the area you believe to contain the leak. Make sure you also have a spotter working on the inside, ensuring theyâve protected the inside of the home for potential water damage.
If you do locate the leak and youâre not sure of how to fix the issue, call in the experts immediately.
Are You To Blame For The Damage
Some homeowners dont take good care of their property. They leave gutters to fill with rotting leaves, pay no mind to missing or cracked shingles and generally ignore their homes exterior until something goes wrong. If your roof shingles are curling, cracked or covered in mildew and water gets in as a result, its possible you will have your roof insurance claim denied and youll most likely wind up eating the costs.
On the other hand, if a hail storm leaves your shingles riddled with cracks, insurance will likely cover the cost to replace them.
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What If You Don’t Know The Cause Of Your Roof Damage How Can You Determine The Cause Of Your Roof Damage
It is very common for you as a homeowner not to initially know what causes the damage to their roof. All you know as the homeowner is that your roof is damaged and leaking water into your house. Most of the time, as a homeowner, you will not be able to see the physical damage to your roof that causes the leak.
This is especially true with smaller leaks. Small leaks can be ongoing for months before the homeowner notices the damage resulting from water leaking coming into the home. For example, a small leak caused by damage from a storm can go unnoticed because the water leaks into the attic where the damage is not visible to the homeowner. Small leaks can result in some of the greatest damage because of the mold that accumulates and the resulting structural damage from the time that the water damage went unnoticed.
Determining the cause of the damage can be tricky, but there are generally telltale signs when the cause of the damage is related to a windstorm or hurricane. For example, on a tile or shingle roof there are nails that affix the shingle tor tile to the roof. Nails are straight and shot straight into the roof. When there is a windstorm or hurricane the force of the wind causes shingles or roof tiles to lift, which causes the nails affixing them to the roof to bend. An experienced roof damage attorney with the proper experts can help determine the cause of your roof damage.
Ive Found A Leak Now What
If youve found a leak, dont ignore it. The longer you let a roof leak go, the more damage youll have. Water damage can be expense to repair. If you act quickly, youll be able to save your property from much of the water damage.
Once you have established your roof is leaking, you need to take steps to minimize interior damage. Move any items that might be damaged by water. This includes furniture, electronics, and valuables. Be sure to unplug electronics or disconnect the power before moving electronics. Place a bucket under the leak to catch as much water as possible. If you notice wall paint bubbling or blistering, take a small pin to puncture the bubble and release the water gathering in the wall.
Next, try to remove the water. Dry any water that has soaked carpet or furniture. Use old towels, mops, and buckets to soak up the excess water. You can dump water in sewer drains or into a permeable surface, like your lawn. You may want to use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up water from carpets or flooring. Fans can be useful too. A fan not only helps dry the water, but it also circulates the air, which can help prevent mold build up.
As soon as possible, youll want to contact a professional roofing company to assess the damage. Get a written estimate for any repairs or replacement. Dont commit to any roofing repairs until youve contacted your insurance agent.
Have additional questions? Call and speak with a licensed agent who can help review your policy with you!
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How To File A Roof Claim And What To Expect
Before you file a roof claim, consider your deductible first. The deductible is the out-of-pocket cost that you need to pay before your coverage kicks in. If your deductible is $500, then you need to shoulder that first before your insurance starts to help.
If the damage to your roof is way more your deductible, then thats a good time to consider filing a claim. Note, however, that filing claims may raise your risk of having higher premiums in the future.
After considering your deductible, here are the other steps you should take.
What Roof Damage Is Not Covered By Insurance
When the cause of roof damage is not a covered peril, then the cost of repairing the damage is not covered by insurance. Perils that are not covered include roof damage from general wear and tear or lack of maintenance.
Mold, pests or birds, wet rot, errors made by a contractor or construction worker as well as improper code materials are examples of perils that arent covered by homeowners insurance. Improper code materials are violations of building or plumbing guidelines established by licensed contractors.
In some cases, a homeowners insurance policy specifically excludes covering the repair of roof damage, more so in HO-8 insurance policies. The significance of HO-8 home insurance is that it is often used to insure older or high-risk homes which are more likely to encounter roof damage from weather like hail and wind or falling objects like trees and power lines.
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Roof Repairs When You Live In A Flat
But, is a leaking roof covered by home insurance if you live in a flat? It depends on what policy you have, and whether you own a share of the freehold, or have the leasehold.
If youre the leaseholder: it is usually not your responsibility, but that of the freeholder to look after the structure of the property and take out buildings insurance. So, a leaky roof would be their issue to sort. You should be able to find the details of who is responsible for repairs in your lease documents.
If you own a share of the freehold: its your responsibility to protect the property with buildings insurance. Find out more about the difference between leasehold and freehold in Things first time buyers need to know.
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How Do I Spot A Leak
If youre concerned about a leaking roof, the first thing youll want to know is how to spot a roof leak. Many circumstances, like weather, age, neglect, and decay can affect your roof, but there are three common signs that may indicate your roof is damaged and could leak in the next rain storm.
Buckling, curling, or missing shinglesOver time, shingles wear out. Water can seep through the roof and into your home when shingles crack or are broken. Wind, rain, hail storms, freezing temperatures, or even someone walking on the roof can all damage shingles. Every season, take a visual inventory of your shingles to see if they are still in good shape and still in place.
Ceiling or roof spotsIf water has come through the roof, you may notice stains on your ceiling. Leaks can travel and show up away from the original source of the leak. Look for spots that may indicate a leak around vents or a chimney. If you have ceiling tiles, youll notice dark-colored spots if your roof is leaking
Debris in the gutters or on the roofThe debris and leaves that gather in the gutters will slow the water flow coming from the roof. When water doesnt flow properly off the roof, it flows sideways, keeping the moisture on the roof. Moisture retention on the roof causes mildew, mold, and moss that will shorten the life of your roof. Be sure to remove debris from gutter and the roof every season.
How Long Does A Roof Claim Lawsuit Take
Once a homeowner starts the claim process by notifying their their insurance company they have roof damage, the insurance company has ninety days to investigate the claim and make a determination as to whether the claim is covered or the claim is considered to be denied. However, the insurance company can make their coverage determination in less than ninety days. Once there is a denial, a partial denial, or partial payment on the claim, lawsuit can be filed on behalf of the homeowner. The time of the lawsuit itself usually takes between in as little as six months or take as long eighteen months.
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Actual Cash Value Vs Replacement Cost
Homeowners insurance policies typically use “replacement cost” when paying out for covered damage. Replacement cost is the cost to replace the item with a new or used product.
On the other hand, actual cash value takes into consideration depreciation of the item. For example, if a five-year-old leather sofa is damaged by fire, the actual cash value considers the age of the sofa. Actual cash value is usually lower than the replacement cost value.
Flood insurance policies typically use actual cash value, but you can pay extra to use replacement cost.
Check with your homeowners insurance to see which is used for roof damage repair. Some providers offer “guaranteed replacement cost” as a perk. Other companies, like Nationwide, offer “better roof replacement,” which upgrades your roof with newer and stronger materials. Check with your carrier to see if a similar perk is available.
File A Claim With Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company and notify them of the roof leak. A claims representative will send you the appropriate paperwork, and ask you to share the photos of the damage. Once the claim is filed, the insurance company will review the damage, calculate your payout based on documentation and repair estimates and write you a check for the cost of repairs, minus your deductible.
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Age Of Roof And Insurance
Insurers consider a roofs age and condition when providing coverage.
Some insurers refuse to renew existing homeowner insurance policies on houses with roofs older than 20 years unless they pass an inspection. Insurers wont renew a policy that fails inspection without a roof replacement.
Other insurers dont write new policies for homes with roofs over 20 years old. Or theyll only pay actual cash value for roof replacement for older roofs when theyre damaged. This means they dont cover the cost of an entirely replaced roof, but only reimburse for what an old roof is worth after 20-plus years.
“If you have a roof that has lasted 20 years, then you’ve probably exceeded the roofing membrane life expectancy, says Gerald Delaune, senior building envelope consultant at Childress Engineering Services Inc. in Richardson, TX. Chances are that at that point, there are issues within the roofing system that cannot be seen , which could potentially deteriorate the deck and that it would be worth your money to replace the roof.
Replacing a roof can cost $10,000 or more, but you might need to make that investment to keep coverage.
Chip Merlin, president of Tampa-based Merlin Law Group, said home insurers have tightened underwriting requirements for older homes, especially when it comes to roofs, plumbing and electrical systems.
Call Your Insurance Company First
The first thing you should do if you suspect storm damage is call your insurance company. Once you give them all the relevant information, what happens next depends on your area and your specific insurance company.
Some insurance companies schedule an adjuster to come out and inspect the damage to see if you have a claim. After their inspection, and if they approve your claim, then itll be time to start researching to find a great roofing contractor.
On the other hand, some insurance companies might tell you to have a roofing contractor inspect your roof for damage before they send an adjuster out. This is pretty common in the Middle Tennessee area, but you wont know to do this until reaching out to your homeowners insurance.
No matter what scenario youll eventually fall under, the first thing you should always do is call your insurance company.
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How To Protect Your Roof
Protecting your roof is the best way to prevent a leak from occurring in the first place. Make sure to keep your gutters clean, remove debris from your roof after major storms, and regularly trim trees that overhang your roof. After a storm, do a quick inspection from the inside and outside of your home to check for roof damage, particularly if there is ice or hail. Its also helpful to photograph your roof prior to storm/hail seasons to verify its condition in the event a leak occurs later. This can be especially helpful in establishing a true cause of loss.
What If Your Insurance Company Denies Your Roof Damage Claim
This is where we can help you. When an insurance company denies a claim when it should be paid out, we file a lawsuit against your insurance company for a breach of contract claim to force them to properly pay the claim. In essence, you obtained and paid for homeowner’s insurance to protect your house, and you submitted a claim when your roof was damaged. Your homeowner’s insurance breached the insurance contract that you entered with them. We file suit for damages. Below are a couple of examples of times insurance companies have denied roofing claims only to settle after we have filed suit. Call an experience insurance claim attorney if your roof claim was denied.
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