Does home insurance cover roof repairs?

Your roof can be damaged by storms, impact or simple old age. Find out what’s likely to be covered and how to avoid having a home insurance claim for your roof rejected.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 14 June 2021  | 3 min read

Does home insurance cover roof leaks?

This really depends on your insurance policy and what caused the leak.

Most home insurance providers will cover the cost of repairs if roof leaks are due to a sudden, unexpected event, like storm damage or a falling tree.

But you won’t be covered for roof leaks that are due to wear and tear. Or leaks that result from a lack of maintenance – it’s your responsibility as the homeowner to keep your roof in a good state of repair.

Problems with home insurance roof claims

Disputes can arise when an insurer decides that an insured event has caused the damage, but that your roof would have survived the event if it had been in better condition.

For example, high winds cause tiles to blow away, but that happened because the roof hadn’t had regular maintenance to check them.

So if your house has suffered weather damage you should contact your insurers as soon as you can and it’s a good idea to keep proof of any repairs or maintenance work you’ve had done, to show you’ve been keeping your roof in good condition.

If you’re unhappy with your insurer’s decision to make a claim, you should complain to your insurer. If you’re still unhappy with its response after eight weeks you can ask the Financial Ombudsman to look at the facts and make a decision over whether your claim should have been paid or refused.

Will home insurance cover damage to contents as well as the repair of the roof?

Home insurance is split into two separate types of insurance: buildings and contents. You can buy these together as a combined policy, or buy each of them separately.

If your possessions are damaged following a roof leak, for example, water poured through the roof and stopped your TV from working – this would be covered either under the contents part of your combined home insurance policy, or through your standalone contents cover.

Most contents insurance includes cover for things like:

  • Fire
  • Flooding or storms
  • Explosion or lightening
  • Water escaping from burst pipes
  • Falling trees and branches
  • Theft
  • Vandalism

Will home insurance cover a leaking roof if I live in a flat?

If you live in a top-floor flat and your roof starts leaking – depending on the cause of the leak – your home insurance policy may cover the costs of damage and repairs.

But it depends on whether you rent the flat, or are a leaseholder or a freeholder.

If you’re renting a flat

It’s your landlord’s responsibility to maintain the property, carry out repairs and take out buildings insurance. You won’t need to make a claim for the roof damage itself.

If you have your own tenants contents insurance that might cover items of yours that are damaged by the leak.

If you own the flat

If you’re a leaseholder, details of who is responsible for buildings insurance and repairs will be found in your lease. Typically, it’s the freeholder’s responsibility to look after and maintain the building, including the roof of the property, and take out buildings cover.

If you’re a freeholder, or a joint freeholder with other leaseholders, it’s your (collective) responsibility to arrange buildings insurance for the whole building. This can help to cover the cost of repairing damage to your roof and building.

How to find a roof leak

It’s important to spot and locate a roof leak as early as possible, to limit damage to your home and possessions. But it’s not always obvious how the water is coming in.

Here are some simple ways to help you find your leak:

  • Identify visible signs – If you can see evidence of a leak indoors, even if the water coming in is not immediately above this area, the source in the roof is likely to be nearby
  • Head to the loft – Look inside for any dark stains or obvious signs of moisture or mould on your roof timbers, or loft insulation, that may be caused by water
  • Look for daylight – Turn off torches and any lights in the roof, so you can see if any area has daylight coming in through holes or cracks
  • Choose a rainy day – Take a torch with you into the loft space and see if you can spot where the rainwater is entering the property
  • Test with a hose – If no wet weather is forecast, try gently spraying a hose onto the area you think has the leak. Have a second person inside to spot any water leaking in
  • Watch for missing tiles – Stormy weather can often cause tiles to become damaged or loose. A missing or cracked roof tile can mean water getting into your roof space
  • Check your flat roof – Look for any visible cracks in the tar or coating of your flat roof. And check along the seams of the roofing material to make sure the seal is still tight

If you can’t identify where the source of the leak is coming from, you should get help from a professional. Check your home insurance policy documents to see what repairs you are covered for.

How to prevent leaks in the roof

You should keep your property and your roof in good condition to protect your home against damage caused by leaks. This will also help ensure any insurance claims are not invalidated.

To look after your roof:

  • Check roof tiles regularly – Replace any damaged tiles quickly to limit the chances of any water coming in
  • Clear your guttering – Regularly inspect and remove any leaves and debris that can cause blockages to your guttering and prevent good water drainage
  • Keep trees and plants away – Trim back any branches that overhang your roof. Keep your roof clear of any weeds or moss, which can cause structural damage to your tiles
  • Inspect your skylights – Check that seals are still intact and look for any signs water might be dripping into your property from your skylight
  • Maintain flat roofs – Carry out regular inspection and maintenance. Over time the felt or asphalt coating on your roof can crack, tear or blister, so you’ll need to have this repaired or replaced

How to file a home insurance claim for a leaking roof

If you experience a leak in your property, check your home insurance policy to see what you are covered for.

Ring your insurer

If you decide to make a claim, ring your insurer and provide as much detail as you can about your leak and any damage that has been caused.

You will find your insurer’s phone number on your policy documents – make sure you have your policy number to hand when you call.

Gather evidence

Take as many photographs as you can of the leak in your roof and the damage that has been caused. Gather any receipts you have for any repair or maintenance work you may have had done previously as evidence your roof is well-maintained.

Your roof leak may have been caused by weather damage, perhaps as a result of a storm. If you think this is what caused the damage, collect any evidence of these weather conditions, such as local weather reports.

If repairs aren’t urgent, get approval of the work from your insurer

Your insurer needs to agree to any repair work on your home that you’re claiming for, before you get in contractors and start paying for materials.

But if you have a roof leak, you may need this fixed as an emergency. In cases like this, insurers are usually understanding and should reimburse you.

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