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 lack of maintenance, you may have to pay for the repairs yourself.
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As with any other claim, before filing a roof damage claim, be sure to consider your home insurance policy’s deductibles to determine if filing a claim makes the best financial sense.
Does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks?
Most roof leaks are covered by homeowners insurance policies. however, whether your homeowners insurance company will reimburse you to repair a roof leak, and any subsequent damage to your belongings, depends on the original cause of the leak. The declaration page of your home insurance policy explains what perils are covered or excluded under your current policy.
Most homeowners insurance policies cover a list of “open perils.” These hazards typically include, but are not limited to, the following:
As a general rule, open perils include any damage resulting from a sudden and accidental incident, unless the cause of that damage is specifically excluded in your homeowners insurance policy. on the other hand, your insurance company will deny any claim filed for gradual wear and tear or lack of maintenance.
Some perils, like flooding, are usually excluded from home insurance policies. other hazards may be excluded or subject to lower limits based on the risks associated with your area. If you want coverage for one of these perils, you can usually add supplemental coverage to your policy in the form of an optional endorsement.
perils normally excluded from home insurance policies
While mold and mildew are generally excluded from standard homeowners insurance policies, they are covered if they are the result of a covered incident. If mold grows in a naturally damp room, you won’t be covered unless you’ve added an optional mold insurance endorsement to your policy.
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However, if the mold is the result of a covered roof leak, your insurance company should also cover the mold repair, unless you have not filed a claim for that leak in a timely manner.
how your home insurance company can help
Several home insurance companies offer policyholders access to a network of qualified and approved contractors, and working with them could save you money. Contractors typically don’t charge for an estimate, and insurers often offer a guarantee for work done by an approved contractor.
Below, we’ve listed some home insurance companies that offer policyholders special access to contractors.
how to find a roof leak
The first (and sometimes the most difficult) step you need to take is to find the source of the leak. check your roof for possible entry points, such as a misaligned tile, a raised nail, cracks near vent pipes, a poorly placed gutter, or a crack in the base of your chimney.
If you can’t identify the entry point by looking at your roof, try checking your attic. look for mold or moisture indoors, or look for wet wood on a rainy day. Alternatively, you can spray the roof with a garden hose to locate the leak.
Although this may seem counterintuitive, doing it on a dry day will allow you to fix the leak at a time when you control how much water can enter your home. If you still can’t find any cracks or holes, the source may be a plumbing leak.
If you spot a roof leak early, it usually doesn’t take much effort to fix. often a replaced shingle or rubber sealant will solve the problem. however, if you are not comfortable maintaining your roof, you should have a professional do it.
how much does it cost to fix a roof leak?
The total cost to repair your leak and any damage it causes depends on the size of the leak, its source, and how long it’s been around before you fix it. If you just need to apply a rubber sealant to a leaking vent, it could cost less than $100 to fix.
On the other hand, if you need to re-shingle a section of your roof, the materials and labor can cost anywhere from $400 to $700. Major roof repairs, including new shingles, plywood, cement, and metal flashing, could cost anywhere from $700 to $3,000. Other factors, such as the danger involved in working on and repairing a skylight or chimney, can also affect your total costs.
Except for the most basic leaks, it’s best to have a professional assess the damage and recommend repairs. Getting work done on your roof can be dangerous, and while you may feel like you’re saving money by fixing a leak yourself, it could end up costing you a lot more if your repairs are inadequate and lead to wood rot or mold damage.
Also, if your insurance company realizes that the new damage is the result of work you attempted to do yourself rather than have it done by a professional, they may claim that you are responsible for the damage and deny your claim.
Should I file a claim for a roof leak?
Whether you should file a home insurance claim for a roof leak depends on the size of the leak, the amount of your deductible, and whether you have filed other claims in recent years.
Also, filing a claim may result in a premium increase when you renew your policy, as insurers will consider your home riskier to cover. So unless your repair costs are significantly higher than your deductible, it may cost less in the long run to pay for it yourself.