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Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015


Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks - Image 1

Image via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Flickr

A leaky roof can be an annoying and stressful — not to mention costly — endeavor that can keep you up at night, literally. Leaky roofs can be caused by any number of factors, from sub-par gutter systems to shoddy roofing materials. Living with drippy ceilings due to leaks in the roof is no way to live, but you may be wondering how you’re going to pay for it all. You may wonder: does homeowner’s insurance cover roof leaks? While there are many types of insurance with different coverage depending on where you live and your plan choices, the answer isn’t as cut and dried as you may think. Let’s explore this issue further.

It all boils down to the cause of the leak. If Mother Nature is to blame, such as after a particularly nasty wind and rain storm, then your insurance may cover all or part of the damage. For example, if a tree branch crashed onto your roof, punctured a hole, and caused water to leak inside, you will likely be reimbursed for the cost of the repair. In the same vein, any damage caused by a buildup of snow and ice, or as the result of a hurricane or other intense storm, may be covered.

If the leak resulted from inadequate maintenance on your roofing and gutter systems, or from roofing and gutters that haven’t been replaced well past their expected life span, you could be on your own. Leaks resulting from a lack of maintenance over the years to keep these systems in good working order may be declined when it comes to your homeowners insurance claim. This is essentially because, in the eyes of the insurance company, the leak could have been avoided through regular maintenance. A tree branch falling on your roof during a storm, on the other hand, cannot be controlled by you. When damage is determined to stem from old age, too much wear and tear, neglect or poor conditions, this is considered to be normal maintenance and is not typically covered under homeowners insurance policies.

This is why it’s so important not to neglect your roof and gutters. With a new roof costing upwards of $10,000, it’s in your best interest to keep that money in your pocket and maintain your home throughout the seasons to keep these costs at bay. According to Bob Vila, danger signals of roof leaks include:

  • Cracked, curled or missing shingles
  • Shingle decay
  • Poorly operating gutters
  • Visible stains on walls and ceilings

Hiring a professional is one way to be proactive about preventing damage. Trim shrubbery and trees around your property, have your roof inspected regularly, and install a quality gutter system that will divert rainwater away from your property. Do your part to keep leaks at bay, and you won’t have to ask yourself that question: does homeowner's insurance cover roof leaks?

If you've found that it's time to make a change to your home roofing or gutters, LeafGuard of Northeast Wisconsin is your go-to source for reliable gutter systems for your home.

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