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Will home insurance cover a leaking roof?

Leaks caused by accidents might be covered — but it depends on your policy.

Home insurance includes coverage for your rook, but not all leaks are covered. In many instances, it comes down to whether the leak was the result of an a covered accident, such as a falling tree branch in a storm, or of your failure to maintain the roof.

You should be covered if the cause of the leak was a covered event.

You won’t be covered if the roof is leaking as a result of poor maintenance.

Will I be covered for a leaking roof?

Whether most insurers will cover a roof leak comes down to what caused the leak.

  • A covered event. If a covered peril, like damage from hail or storm-related debris, damages your roof, your insurance should cover it.
  • Wear and tear. Home insurance doesn’t cover general wear and tear, so if there’s no evidence of accidental damage or if the roof has been leaking for some time, the repairs won’t be covered.
  • An excluded event. Accidents and perils that are excluded from your policy, like floods and earthquakes, won’t be covered. If you have an HO-1 or HO-2 policy, damage from any cause not listed as a covered peril won’t be covered.

Will I be covered for water damage?

If your home insurance covers the damage to the roof, it’ll generally also cover any water damage.

But in cases where the leak isn’t covered, like excluded events or general wear and tear, your insurer won’t help you pay for the resulting water damage, either.

Does home insurance cover roof leaks caused by mold?

No, most insurers won’t cover roof leaks or resulting water damage caused by mold.

When should I file a claim for my leaky roof?

If your roof is damaged after an event covered by your insurance, like a storm, contact your insurer as soon as possible. If you wait to file a claim and/or start repairs and the water damage gets worse in the meantime, your insurer may decide that the water damage was a result of negligence and refuse to pay out.

If your roof has been leaking for years and is only now becoming a problem, avoid making a claim not only is your insurer likely to reject your claim, but they could also raise your premium as a result. And if your roof starts leaking out of nowhere, try to find the cause before filing a claim with your insurer.

How should I maintain my roof?

To help prevent any leaks or problems with your roof, you’ll want to clean the gutters and downspouts and clear any debris, such as leaves, moss and branches, regularly. You can do this yourself or hire a handyman to do it.

You’ll also want to inspect your roof regularly — you can do this yourself or hire someone to inspect your roof at least once a year. If you spot any mold, rust, broken shingles, missing or damaged flashing or nails or cracked/worn sealant, you’ll need to repair your roof as soon as possible to prevent further damage. If you’re not comfortable making repairs yourself, hire a contractor.

Finally, you’ll want to trim any overhanging branches and insulate your house and roof to prevent ice dams.

How to spot a potential leak

There are three typical signs that your roof may be leaking:

  • Missing shingles or tiles. You should regularly inspect your roof for missing or broken shingles and tiles, which can allow water to enter.
  • Stains on the ceiling. If there is a damp spot on your ceiling, this can be an indication that water is already leaking into your home.
  • Choked gutters and downpipes. You should clear these regularly and install gutter guards to prevent debris build-up.

Sick of your current insurer? It might be time to switch

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Bottom line

Regularly maintaining your roof and hiring a roofing expert to rectify any design or installation problems it may have can help prevent any problems. And for disasters outside of your control, like storms and falling trees, get a home insurance policy that can protect you and your home.

Frequently asked questions about leaks and home insurance

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