Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

  • If your roof is damaged due to a storm, homeowners insurance covers it.
  • But if your roof is damaged due to lack of maintenance, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover it.
  • Some insurance carriers offer better roof materials as a perk if your roof is damaged.
  • See Insider’s guide to the best homeowners insurance companies.

Storms can cause damage to your home and landscape, and due to climate change we’re seeing more frequent storms that cause damage. If your roof is damaged due to a storm or another covered event and starts leaking, homeowners insurance will help you. However, damage from improper maintenance or normal wear and tear is not covered.

Does homeowners insurance cover damage to your roof?

There are three main components to homeowners insurance: dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, and personal liability coverage.

If something happens to your home, you can have it repaired or rebuilt under dwelling coverage. Your dwelling consists of your home and any other structures on the property, like a garage or shed. Damage to your roof would fall under dwelling coverage.

Damage to your roof will be covered if it’s the result of a covered event, which is referred to as an insurance peril

A peril is an event that may damage your home or belongings, like theft, fire, or a storm. The type of peril coverage you have depends on the type of homeowners insurance you purchased. Common insurance perils include fire, lightning, theft, ice, snow, sleet, smoke, vandalism, and freezing.

When damage to your roof isn’t covered

Floods, earthquakes, government seizures, mudslides, ordinance updates, sewer backups, and sinkholes are perils that will not be covered by homeowners insurance. Those will require add-on coverage using a rider policy or separate insurance.

Damage from wear and tear or lack of maintenance is usually not covered. According to Home Advisor, the most common causes for roof leaks are clogged gutters, skylight leaks, broken or missing shingles, cracked flashing, cracked vent booting, and ice dams from snow and ice storms.

Be sure to perform regular maintenance on your roof and inspect your attic for leaks or wet spots. This is especially important if you have skylights or roof windows — as they can be entry points for leaks with melting snow and condensation. If you notice a leak, have a professional come out to assess the situation.

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 (ACV) 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.

How to file a claim if your roof is leaking and damaged 

According to Home Advisor, roof repair costs range from $366 to $1,576, with the average cost to repair roof leaks coming in around $963.

Whenever you file a successful homeowners insurance claim, you are covered minus the cost of your deductible. If the cost to repair your roof is less than your deductible, you may want to pay out of pocket and not file a claim. 

However, if it turns out that there is more damage than you originally thought and you failed to timely notify your homeowners insurance, your later claim may be denied — especially if you attempted to repair it yourself and caused further damage. It’s best to have a professional check out the damage and provide an estimate.

If your roof is damaged, follow these steps to report and file a claim.

  1. Take pictures of damaged possessions and what caused the damage (fire, storm, etc).
  2. Contact your homeowners insurance company. Failure to timely notify your insurance provider can result in denying the claim.
  3. If damage is from flood, earthquake, or landslide where you have separate coverage, contact that insurance provider.

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