Hey, that’s weird…why’s it raining inside? Unless this is some sort of elaborate practical joke, you’re pretty sure that there shouldn’t be a puddle in the middle of the living room floor. Or water dripping onto your head. Anyways, there’s water where it shouldn’t be and you think a roof leak is to blame. Now the burning question (or soggy question) is does home insurance cover roof leak claims? And how can you tell if your roof is actually leaking? (Not all leaks are caused by a roof problem.) Well, we’ve got the answer to those questions, coming right up.
Does home insurance cover leaking roofs?
As with many insurance-related questions, the answer is … it depends.
If the leak is caused by something sudden and uncontrollable, such as a storm that puts a beating on your roof and tears some shingles off, the claim will most likely be covered and your insurance company will pay to have the roof repaired or replaced. You have to look at your policy to see how your company will handle the repairs or replacement. Some insurance companies use ACV (Actual Cash Value) coverage while others use replacement cost coverage. ACV uses the depreciated value of your roof for the claim while replacement cost value does not.
So, if you face a bad storm that puts a hole or two in your roof, or if a hostile tree falls into your house and (very rudely) damages your roof, you’re probably covered.
However, if your roof is leaking because you haven’t maintained it, it’s outlived its life expectancy, or it’s been neglected, a roof-leak claim will probably not be covered. Home insurance is typically for losses that are out of our control, not maintenance or upkeep problems.
How to tell if your roof is leaking: The signs to watch for
Now, a roof leak isn’t the only reason unexplained water could wind up in your home. There could be condensation dripping from the attic. (In the winter, hot air rises into the attic and causes condensation, which freezes. When it warms up, the frozen condensation melts.) Or maybe it’s a pipe problem. However, there are a few signs that could point to a roof leak:
1. Algae or mold.
If you notice algae or mold in the form of dark splotches on your roof, this could be a sign that there’s a problem. Or it could be harmless. It doesn’t necessarily mean the life of the shingle has been shortened.
2. Granules in the downspout/gutter.
Granules are those little specks on your roofing shingles. If you’re seeing an awful lot of them in your gutters or downspouts, that could be a sign you need a new roof. The granules keep sunlight from turning the shingles into toast as they bask in the sun’s UV rays, so when they start coming off, that means the shingle could get very brittle.
(However, if you have a brand-new asphalt shingle roof and you notice quite a few granules, don’t worry – these are just extra granules that are falling off your new roof.)
3. Water spots on the ceiling.
Do you have dark or discolored spots spreading on your ceilings? Drip marks that streak down the walls? Bubbling walls? That’s a classic sign that you have a water leak somewhere. If the spots seem to get worse, darken, or grow after a hard rain, that could be an indicator that you’ve got a leaky roof.
4. Missing shingles.
Well, if there are holes in your roof and you’ve got water in the house, chances are you’ve got a roof leak.
5. Shingles that are curled at the edges or raised (buckled) in the middle.
If the shingles have warped and they’re not lying flat, water could slip under the openings and cause a leak.
6. Damp or moldy insulation in your attic.
The insulation in your attic can tell you if there’s a leak in your roof. Damp or moldy insulation can indicate that water is getting in somehow.
7. Damaged flashing.
Flashing is the material that’s used to cover the joints between the roof and wall to keep the water out. If the flashing is cracked, dry, or otherwise damaged, it’s probably not going to do its job very well.
8. Roof rot.
Yes, your roof can rot, especially if it’s an organic-based material. Needless to say, rot is not good.
So, that’s what you should know about roof leaks and your home insurance. Sudden damage that’s out of your control and causes a leak is most likely covered. Maintenance issues are probably not – and that’s why it’s important to have roof inspections. Anyways, be on the lookout for roof leaks and find a trustworthy roofing professional for backup if needed. And always make sure to review your policy and read through it carefully.
Looking to save money on your home insurance? We would be happy to help you with that. We’ll help you find the best coverage at the best possible rate. To get home insurance quotes, you can fill out our quote form or give us a call.