Does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks?

Does homeowners insurance does cover roof leaks? In some cases, and it can save customers up to $8,000 in repairs. That being said, homeowners' insurance policies don't cover every case of roof damage. For example, most homeowners' insurance doesn't cover roof leaks, such as when the damage occurs due to rot or animal infestations.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Roof repairs may be covered under your insurance
  • The damages have to happen because of peril
  • If it’s natural wear and tear, you won’t get coverage

Does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks? The answer is that it may depend on the reason for the damage. Your home insurance will cover the roof repairs or replacement if it happens because of unforeseen peril. However, if it happens due to animals or mold, it won’t be covered.

Does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks? Enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool to see what you could pay for home insurance that covers roof leaks.

Will homeowners insurance cover roof leaks?

Does insurance cover roof leaks? If you’ve recently had damage happen to your home, you may be wondering how to get insurance to pay for roof replacement. It turns out that whether or not you get coverage may depend on why the damage has occurred.

If your insurance adjuster finds that the damage occurred due to peril, then you can likely get help paying for repairs or a replacement. Peril is a sudden event that couldn’t have been prevented or protected against, such as a burglary or natural disaster.

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Does home insurance cover roof repairs?

Does homeowners insurance cover roof replacement? When your roof has sustained damage, you may want to file a roof damage insurance claim. However, it may not be worth filing the roof insurance claim depending on why your home has sustained damage.

Most insurance companies will cover roof repairs if it occurs due to peril. Peril covers any unexpected events that you couldn’t have protected against.

This reasoning leaves some causes of accidents, such as wear and tear and animal infestations, off the list of covered services.

When are roof leaks covered or not covered by home insurance?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, roof leaks and other damage can be covered by your insurance company when it occurs due to an unforeseeable event, usually something that happens suddenly.

Some examples of the covered incidents include:

  • Lightning strikes
  • Falling tree limbs
  • Vandalism/Burglary
  • Fire

Most events that cause damage quickly will be covered under peril in your homeowners insurance policy. If your insurer finds that the cause was out of your control, you can likely get the funding you need to repair your home.

That being said, there are more than a few cases where your insurance company will not cover your roof damage. This is usually the case when the damage occurrs over a period of time instead of suddenly.

Some cases where your homeowners insurance policy might not cover damages include:

  • Animal nesting
  • General wear and tear
  • Mold/wet rot
  • Contractor errors

The insurance policy will only want to cover your home since you’ve had the policy. Since it can’t verify how long many of those issues had been there, the insurer won’t cover them. Many of these issues can also be fixed or prevented ahead of time before severe damage occurs.

What should I do if my roof is leaking?

It can be a bit shocking to notice a wet spot in your ceiling suddenly. However, if you find that the cause of the mess is a roof leak, then there are a few steps you should take quickly to prevent further damage.

  • Find the source – Try to find the cause of the leak, but make sure that you do so safely.
  • Document the damage– Make sure you take photos and write down any information about the damage that may be useful.
  • Patchwork the area – If you can do anything to reduce the leak or temporarily stop it until you get repairs, that will help.
  • Contact your insurer – If it’s caused by peril, you can likely get help taking care of the repairs.

If you’re covered, you won’t have to pay entirely out of pocket for your roof repairs. However, if the insurer finds that the damage didn’t occur due to peril, you’ll likely have to pay for the repairs yourself.

Does insurance cover water damage from roof leaks?

Most home insurance types will often cover roof leaks and other water damage if they occur due to peril.

As previously mentioned, peril includes any incident that occurs suddenly and wasn’t preventable. In cases where there is mold, pests, or other preventable damage, the insurance won’t pay.

How do I file an insurance claim for a leaky roof?

If your roof is damaged by peril, you’ll likely want to file your claim quickly to get the repairs started. In addition to the steps above, when you notice the leak, you should also:

  • Get outside estimates from different repair companies.
  • Provide the photos and any other documented information to your insurer.

Your insurance company will want to help you if possible, so it’s best to be honest and share all the information you can. However, you don’t want to mislead or lie to your insurer, as that will likely cause you to lose your entire policy.

Should I file an insurance claim for a damaged roof?

If your roof damage doesn’t fall under the peril specification, you may want to forego the claims process. If there isn’t a chance that you’ll get coverage for the repairs, you shouldn’t risk the chance that your rates will go up.

How much do roof repairs cost?

Your roof repair cost will depend on size, where you live, and the type of materials that are used in its construction.

According to Forbes, minor repairs like gutter cleaning and small leaks can range from $150 to $1,500, with significant maintenance getting up to around $7,000.

In the worst-case scenario, a roof replacement, you could see yourself paying well over $8,000 to get your new roof.

How can I protect my roof while waiting for repairs?

If you’ve suddenly had roof damage, it’s unlikely that a repair worker will be able to get out to you immediately. In the meantime, you’ll need to protect yourself and your loved ones from the elements in your newly exposed roof.

Many methods have been used over the years to protect many homes, and you can implement them on your roof as well. Some of these DIY temporary fixes for your roof include:

  • Tarp – Simple and affordable, you can block out the rain and other elements until repairs come, especially good for larger holes.
  • Shingles – If the shingles are missing or loose, see if you can replace them or fix them in place temporarily until repairs are done.
  • Stop leaks from inside – If you know where the leak is coming from, you can temporarily use leak-proof substances to fill it.

It can be stressful when your roof suddenly needs repairs, and you can’t immediately do it. However, with a bit of creativity, you can ensure that you and your loved ones are warm and protected from the rain and cold.

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Homeowners Insurance and Roof Damage: The Bottom Line

Roof leaks and water damage can be a stressful experience for any homeowner. At best, it means noisy repairs. At worst, a replacement roof may not be covered by homeowners insurance. However, if the damages occur due to peril, you can get help paying for the repairs.

Does homeowners insurance cover roof leak rates? Homeowners insurance can cover repair costs, so enter your ZIP code to see what you could pay at top insurers today.

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