When you are dealing with a damaged roof, you want to know if your homeowners insurance will pay for all the repairs. Unfortunately, there is no general answer for your roofing dilemma. Certain factors may exclude your insurance company from writing a check for the repair. On the other hand, you may be surprised to find out that the insurance company will cover your costs in full. Insurance companies have specific standards that they must follow to approve or deny your claim. Before you can expect the insurance company to pay out, you need to know about a few of their rules.
What Is Covered?
When your roof is damaged, you want to know if it is covered by homeowners insurance. For the most part, this insurance will cover leaks and damages to your roof as long as your policy does not exclude the cause. Many insurance policies require you to maintain the structure of your roof. For example, if a storm knocks a tree into your roof, then you are covered. However, if maintenance issues cause a leak, you may have to pay for the repair out of your pocket. In any case, you need to check with your agent to determine how your home is covered. Before you expect a check from the insurance company, make sure to check out the homeowners policy deductible. Your repair costs could be cheaper to pay out of pocket.
If a covered peril caused the damage, many policies would cover a roof leak. In other words, the peril is considered the cause of loss, such as fire damage. You will want to look at the specifics of your insurance to determine what is covered. With other policies, some homeowners are covered on an open peril basis. These policies insure against all sources of damage except those excluded in your policy.
Some examples of excluded damage include:
- Theft from a building under construction
- Damage from frozen or broken pipes in a vacant building
- Vandalism to an empty building
- Damage from ice and water weight
- Pets, pests, and other animals
- Settling, or wear and tear
- Latent defect, pollution, industrial smoke, or corrosion
- Defective construction, maintenance, or design
If your roof damage does not fall into the category of the excluded peril, then your insurance policy should cover the repair costs of the roof. Some circumstances are covered under your insurance claim, and they include:
- Hail damage
- Tree collapse
- Lightning damage
If your roof is damaged in the event of those above losses, and you have a leak, then you are more likely to be covered by the insurance policy. The policy would cover repairs to the structure and the roof. You should be aware that most homes are insured on a replacement cost basis. That term means that the roof would be replaced at the current market value.
If you have personal property that was damaged, like a couch or rug, then those items would be covered by your personal property coverage. This type of insurance pays out the replacement cost or the actual cash value.
Some perils are almost always excluded from home insurance policies, such as floods. These hazards could be subjected to lower limits or excluded due to the risks associated in your area. If you want to add this specialty hazard, you will have to add supplemental coverage to your policy. Mold and fungus are also excluded from many policies as well. For example, mold that grows in a damp room would not be covered unless you have a mold endorsement on your policy. However, if the mold was the result of a covered roof leak, then the insurance company should cover the removal of mold in your home. You do have to file a claim promptly to cover all damages with the leak.
If you want to fully protect your home, roof, and belongings, then you should think about additional coverage. Flood coverage will protect your roof from any flood damage. Many of these policies also cover damage caused by hurricanes as well. These policies should be added to your coverage if you live in a flood-prone area. You might want to consider earthquake coverage. This policy will ensure your roof is covered against any earthquake damage.
Many homeowner insurance claims will fall within a gray area. If you have any doubts about whether your policy will cover the roof leak, you need to speak to your insurance agent.
Protecting Your Roof
Now that you know what is covered, you need to learn how to protect your roof. For the most part, homeowners insurance will not cover normal wear and tear. The upkeep of your roof is your responsibility. You need to keep up on the maintenance and avoid those out of pocket repair costs.
You should focus on specific areas of your roof, including:
- Trimming the trees near the roof
- Keeping your gutters clean
- Making a visual inspection of your roof
- Removing any debris from the roof, including moss, trees, and leaves
- Performing inspection after storms, especially hail and ice
Finding the Roof Leak
By spotting a leak as soon as possible, you can minimize the damage to your home. However, that is not always as simple as it seems. Many roofs are sloped, and water can enter your house at one part and trickle down to another area where the leak is visible. If you notice water dripping or a water stain on the ceiling, the leak may actually be coming from a different area of your roof.
The first step is finding the source of the leak. For most people, this is one of the most challenging steps. You need to check possible points of entry, including raised nails, misaligned shingles, cracks near vents, cracks in the chimney, or shifted gutters.
If you cannot find the point of entry on your roof by a visual inspection, then you should check the attic area. You want to search for any wet wood. Mold or moisture is another sure sign of water damage in your roof. Some people will even spray the roof with a hose to locate the leak. It may seem silly to add more water to your roof, but you can find the point of entry with this method. When all these techniques fail, those wet spots might be the result of a plumbing leak in your house.
When you do find the source of the roof leak, you will not need much maintenance to repair it. In some cases, you will need just a rubber sealant or a single shingle to solve the problem. For many roofs, you want to ask for the assistance of a professional roofing company to fix your issues.
If you fail to find the source of the leak, your home will experience mold growth. As mentioned before, mold damage is excluded from many home policies, and it is also costly to fix. With any roof damage, you want to take a few steps to limit the damage of the leak, and you need to alert your insurance company as early as possible.
The Cost of Repairing a Roof Leak
The total cost to repair your roof will depend on the size of the leak, the length of time it has existed, and the source of the leak. For example, a leaking vent may only need a rubber sealant, and the cost will be under $100. On the other hand, if your roof needs a large area that requires reshingling, the labor and material could cost you between $400 to $700. New shingles, cement, metal flashing, and plywood might cost anywhere from $700 to $3,000. Other factors lead to higher costs, including repair work around a chimney or skylight.
If you have a roof leak, you should leave it in the hands of the professionals. An experienced roof company can assess your damage and find the right solutions for your repairs. Roof work is dangerous, and you don’t want to risk injury by climbing up on the roof. While you might save a few dollars by repairing the roof by yourself, you could actually be costing more in the long run if the repairs are inadequate and cause more damage. In addition to that, if the insurance company finds out that your home repair caused the new damage, then your claim may be denied. You always want to hire a professional roofing company to complete all repairs on your home.
Should I File a Claim for a Roof Leak?
Whether you should file an insurance claim does depend on a few factors. The size of your deductible, the significance of the leak, and other claims history all play an essential role in filing with your insurance company. Many home insurance policies have a deductible between $500 to $1,000. You will have to pay those costs before receiving any reimbursement from your insurance. For example, if your deductible is $500, and the damage was only $300 to repair, you will not want to file a claim for reimbursement.
You should be aware that filing a claim may mean a premium increase when you renew your insurance policy. If you have a history of repeated claims, then your rate could see a considerable spike. Unless the repair costs are higher than the deductible, you may want to skip the claim as it could cost you more over the long term.
For many cases, you might want to hold off with filing a claim. For example, if you have $500 deductible and repair a leak for $1,000, you will receive reimbursement after the claim is filed. However, your insurance company may now consider the house to have an increased risk and raise your rates by a significant percentage for the next year. Over the year, the new increase could end up costing you more than the deductible you received from the roof repair.
Some claims do not lead to a payout, but your insurance company could still raise your rates. In some cases, you could even be dropped by the insurance company if you have filed more than one claim in the past three years. For those in this situation, you might want to think twice about filing a claim and just pay for your repairs out of pocket.
Filing a Claim for a Roof Leak
If your roof damage is significant, then you will want to file through your insurance company. Once you have discovered the damage, there are a few things you can do to get a successful outcome for your claim.
Take photos: If you notice any type of roof damage, you always want to take a picture to document it.
Get an estimate: In some cases, your insurance company will not pay out if the damage fails to exceed your deductible. You should always consider the value of filing a claim. If your repair is only a few hundred dollars, it may not be feasible to contact the insurance company.
Contact your insurance provider: If your repair estimate is more than the deductible, you will want to contact the claims department of your insurance company. These insurance adjusters will give you a cost for the repairs, the estimated time for the fix, and other information for your claim.
In any case, you never want to ignore an issue with your roof. Whether you repair it on your own or file an insurance claim, you need to take care of the problem as soon as possible.
When you have a leak in your roof, it can be a complicated process to file a claim with your insurance company. Many stipulations can exclude the damage on your roof. You will want to check out the rules with your policy. In any case, roof repairs need to be handled by a professional company.
RGB Construction is here to help with all your roofing issues. If you want to schedule a consultation for your home, make sure to fill out the contact form.