Poor Maintenance Or Neglect
A roof thatâs endured gradual damage would not be covered in the event that a leak enters the home and causes damage. In general, poorly maintained or neglected structures are not covered by any of the six basic protections of a typical homeowners policy. If your roof was corroding before the leak began, your home insurance wouldnât cover the resulting damage because necessary repairs would have prevented the leak from occurring in the first place.
Causes Of Roof Leaks Insurance Companies Will Cover
The causes of roof leaks that insurance companies cover will depend on the specifics of your homeowners insurance policy and surrounding circumstances.
There are perils, or causes of damage, that insurance companies will and won’t cover. Heres a list of perils covered by most homeowners insurance policies:
- Government action
It is the homeowners responsibility to maintain and take care of their roof and home, so most insurance companies do not cover roof leaks caused by improper ownership or lack of maintenance.
Sometimes homeowners unknowingly neglect their roof for many years, assuming their insurance company will fix damages without question. Unfortunately, this isnt how insurance works.
For example, even if your roof is damaged after a storm, if part of the damage is due to neglect prior to the storm then the insurance company may not fully reimburse the claim. They’ll cite homeowner neglect as a partial cause.
Likewise, homeowners should be aware that not all homeowners policies cover roof leaks caused by floods and earthquakes. You can always consider adding flood insurance and earthquake insurance to your policies, but if you havent already then these perils may not be covered.
On this note, a professional roof inspection should be done every few years to assess the condition of your roof. Making minor repairs and doing routine maintenance, such as regular gutter cleaning, is also necessary to prevent larger issues from occurring.
How To Prevent Leaks In The Roof
If you want to keep a roof over your head, get to know your roof and its various strengths and weaknesses so that you can spot issues before they become serious.
- Regularly inspect your roof and particularly after bad weather
- Be diligent about clearing debris from gutters as this can quickly lead to more serious problems if left for a long period of time
- Where possible, cut back trees from getting too close to your property. As flying or falling debris, such as leaves and algae, will always find a place on your roof, slowly causing decay that can result in leaks
- Check chimneys and ventilation ducts are well maintained. A roof that is poorly ventilated may suffer slowly from rotting wooden structures that are initially difficult to spot from the outside.
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My Roof Is Leaking: Is It Covered By Insurance
By admin | October 17, 2014
Part of being a homeowner means keeping up on important repairs, especially roof repairs. Owning a home is expensive, but it becomes even more expensive when you have to come up with thousands of dollars for an unexpected roofing job. Having the right home insurance can help save you hundreds of dollars when it comes to repairs, but if you havent looked at your homeowners policy recently, you may be surprised what is and isnt covered by your home insurance.
Slow Leaks Can Cause Just As Much Damage
As a homeowner, you may be totally unaware of the leak until there is evidence, such as the growth of mold, appearance of rot or a bulging ceiling where water is pooling. Or, you may only learn of the water damage after calling in a repair specialist who discovers it while dealing with a different issue.
At this point, some insurance companies will deny the claim based on the fact that regular home maintenance was not performed, and because it was a slow, ongoing leak .
Other insurance companies may cover the claim only because the slow leak and the damage it caused was hidden in walls, beneath floors or above the ceilingin other words, in areas that are not visible to the eye.
To determine whether you have coverage, check your policys seepage exclusion or call your independent broker for some guidance.
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Take The Appropriate Next Steps In Your Roof Replacement Claim
After you submit your insurance claim and enlist a roofing company to offer supporting evidence, your insurance company has the discretion to make a decision. After their allotted time frame , the insurance agent will let you know if your claim was approved or denied. If they deny your claim, you can appeal the decision. These procedures differ by insurance company, so make sure to consult your insurance agent for guidance.
If your roofing claim is approved, youll be able to start working with your chosen contractors to complete your new roof installation. Once your roof is replaced, we recommend that you get it inspected regularly. Not only will routine maintenance keep your roof in great condition, but itll make future roofing claims easier to get approved since youll have both written reports and photos noting the past condition of the roof.
Types Of Roof Damage Covered By Homeowners Insurance
The dwelling coverage portion of your homeowners insurance covers the house structure, including the roof.
Types of roof damage covered by your insurance will depend on the policys terms and the reasons your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. Typically, a policy covers problems that are sudden or accidental, and caused by certain events such as wind, fire, hail or the weight of snow.
Insurance for partial damage. In some cases, the lifespan of the roof is shortened because of damage. Your insurer may cover the cost to replace the entire roof even if its only partially damaged. For example, if a homeowner has asphalt shingles damaged by hail strikes, an adjuster would count how many strikes occurred in a section to determine the impact on the lifespan of the roof. If there are enough strikes, the roof lifespan is substantially impacted and it needs to be replaced.
Even if a roof isnt taking in water right now, the erosion or strikes compromise the lifespan of the roof. This means a roof will never last as long as it should have lasted otherwise, therefore it should be replaced, Steve Severaid, senior vice president & treasurer with The Greenspan Company/Adjusters International.
Insurance for matching issues. If the materials to fix your roof are unavailable, your insurance company may have to replace the entire roof. For example, if you have slate tile that you cant get any more, you may have to replace the entire roof to ensure materials match.
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Find Cheap Homeowners Insurance Quotes In Your Area
Your homeowners insurance policy generally covers roof leaks and other damage to your roof, as long as the cause of the damage is not specifically excluded in your policy. However, if a leak occurs due to a lack of maintenance, you may have to pay for the repairs yourself.
As with any other claim, before making a claim for roof damage, make sure to consider your home insurance policy’s deductibles to determine whether filing a claim makes the best financial sense.
What Is Actual Cash Value
The ACV of your roof is what your roof is worth today, taking into consideration things such as its age, condition and type of roofing material. Before your insurance kicks in to help cover the cost, youll be required to pay a deductible.
Lets say your roof is ten years old and you originally paid $12,000 to have it installed. Unfortunately, a tree fell on your roof during a windstorm and caused serious damage. Since your roof has been exposed to the elements for ten years, it has depreciated and may only be worth $7,200 today. If you have actual cash value coverage, well pay $7,200 and you would pay the remaining cost to replace your roof.
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What If You Do Not Have A Copy Of Your Insurance Policy
You can contact your insurance agent and they will be able to provide you a copy of your insurance policy. If needed, you can go through your insurer directly to obtain a copy of your policy. It is important to note that you want to obtain a copy of your actual insurance policy, as opposed to just the declarations page. The declarations page shows you how much coverage you have, whereas the policy itself is much lengthier and describes in detail what you are insured against.
What Will It Cost Me If Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Fully Cover My Roof Leak
If you have a covered roof leak, it doesnt mean that you wont have to pay anything out of pocket.
Before any coverage kicks in, youll need to pay the deductible that you chose when you purchased your policy. Your policys applicable coverage limits will also apply. This means that your policy only pays for repairs up to the limit outlined in the policy for a particular type of loss.
Some New Jersey homeowners insurance policies include a separate wind/hail deductible, or a mandatory or optional hurricane deductible. These deductibles are separate from the main deductible, and apply only when damage is caused by wind, hail, or a hurricane.
Rather than being a set amount, like $500, these deductibles are typically a percentage of the homes value, such as 1%. If your New Jersey home is worth $200,000, youd likely need to surpass $2,000 in windstorm damage, for example, to your roof and other areas of the homes structure before your insurance will start reimbursing you.
After paying your deductible, youll be responsible for paying any amount exceeding the limit for the dwelling category of coverage. This limit will be determined by your specific policy, but its often 10% of your homes total value. So if youve got a $200,000 home, coverage for roof repairs may be capped at $20,000. If the repairs cost more than that, youd have to pay the remaining expenses out of pocket.
Article Author | Ann Herro
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Does The Type Of Roof You Have Matter If It Is Damaged
Yes. There are some roofs do not have the ability to be repaired, and the entire roof must be replaced. Additionally, the price of a roof varies depending on the type of materials used in construction. For example, the materials for a shingle roof are less expensive than the cost of a barrel tile roof. Furthermore, some roofs will require more labor than others, which increases the replacement cost.
The normal life expectancy of a roof varies depending on the type of material your roof is made from. According to U.S. News and World Report, asphalt shingle roofs last around 20 years, concrete shingles last around 25 years, while slate, copper and tile roofs can last up to 50 years. These listed life expectancies vary depending on the weather and climate conditions. Unfortunately, with the aggressive weather conditions that we face in Florida, the life expectancy of a roof in Florida is significantly less.
The overall condition and life expectancy of a roof is very important to know because insurance companies often use this as a defense as to why they deny coverage for roof damage. It is imperative that an experienced roofer inspects, evaluates and estimates the cost to fix your damaged roof. An experienced property damage attorney can avoid these pitfalls with the use of an experienced professional roofer.
Which Part Of My Policy Covers My Roof
The dwelling coverage is the portion of your policy that may help pay for roof repairs or damage. Overall, this is the part that pays for repairing or rebuilding the physical structure of a house.
What about damages to the roof of a garage or work shed? In this case, its the other structures portion of your policy that may help cover the costs to fix the roof.
Your policy may also provide coverage for personal property damaged by a roof leak. In this case, its the personal property coverage of your policy that may help pay for the repairs.
How Do You Know If The Cause Of Your Roof Damage Is Covered By Your Insurance
This can be the tricky part. First, you must know the underlying cause of your roof damage. Only once you know the cause of the damage will you then be able to determine if your roof damage is covered by insurance. Even if you know the cause of your roof damage, insurance policies can be extremely lengthy and very confusing.
You homeowner’s insurance policy provides all the necessary details in these situations. As previously mentioned, these policies can be extremely difficult to decipher. An experienced property damage attorney can review your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if your roof damage is covered by insurance. An insurance agent who sells these policies daily may not even know if your roof damage is covered under the policy. The policies have such nuances that the importance of having a skilled roof damage attorney review it cannot be understated.
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Find The Right Roof Insurance Coverage For Your Home
Now that you know how your homeowners insurance helps cover your roof from unexpected damages,connect with your agentto find the best coverage for your home. Remember, the age of your roof and its condition affect how youre covered by your policy, so consider the advantages and overall cost savings ofrepairing and maintaining your roofnow before damage occurs and youre potentially left to pay out of pocket to fix it.
This coverage is not available in MN at this time.
Some coverages may not be available in your state or on your specific policy form. Please speak with your agent to learn more about your coverage options.
Dont Get Estimates From Different Roofing Companies For Your Insurance Claim
Once you have your insurance claim paperwork, you shouldnt get estimates from different roofing companies. This is mainly because insurance companies come up with the price to replace or repair your storm-damaged roof, not a roofing contractor.
Insurance companies use software called Xactimate to come up with the price estimate for your roof claim based on the general pricing average of the materials in your area. Because of this, theres no reason to try to find a roofing company with the lowest estimate because the price is already set by the insurance company.
If the roofing companys estimate does end up being more than your insurances initial estimate, theres no reason to panic. Your roofing company has to submit an itemized list showing their cost to complete the job and get it approved by the insurance company.
But just because you shouldnt get multiple estimates doesnt mean you shouldnt do your research and talk to multiple roofing companies to find the right one for you. Once your claim is approved, the most important thing to look for in a roofing company isnt pricing, its trust.
This is just one reason why you shouldnt get multiple estimates from different roofing contractors. To learn the other reasons, check out this article on the 3 reasons you shouldnt get multiple quotes for a storm damaged roof.
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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.
What To Do If Your Roof Is Leaking
If your roof is leaking, this is where a homeowners insurance policy with dwelling coverage comes in handy. Your roof may need to be repaired or entirely replaced, so home insurance can help offset the hefty costs that come with roof damage.
Before repairs, however, steps must be taken as soon as you discover a leak.
- Find the source. Once you notice that your roof is leaking, like from water damage or a dripping ceiling, start looking for the source of the leak in your attic or crawl space underneath your roof. If you dont have access to either of these locations, try scoping out the damage from outside your home. To prevent further damage, ask a roofer or contractor to climb onto the roof to investigate if the leak still cant be found.
- Capture water damage. Documenting the extent of the damage to your home is a necessary precursor to filing a homeowners insurance claim. If you can locate the source of the leak, make sure to take a picture of it and the roof damage.
- Do damage control. For a temporary solution until repairs are made, use buckets to catch water from leaky ceilings and move items out of the way to prevent further damage. Using fans to dry the area as much as possible can also help prevent mold. If the damage has created standing water, its a good idea to use a wet vacuum or mop up the water.
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