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Flat roofs and home insurance


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What is flat roof insurance?

Flat roof home insurance is, as its name suggests, home insurance that covers a property with a flat roof.

A typical home has a sloping roof built with tiles or slate. This is considered to be of ‘standard’ construction by insurers.

A flat-roofed house, on the other hand, is classed as ‘non-standard’ construction by insurers. As such, it comes with extra risks, so you need to let your insurer know that your home has a full or partial flat roof when you get a quote.

flat roof home insurance

Is my roof flat?

In insurance terms a roof is considered flat if it has a slope of less than 10 degrees.

If more than 25-30% of your roof is flat, then it’s considered ‘non-standard’ and the price of your policy will be affected. Flat roofs carry more risk of damage, so premiums are usually more expensive.

It should be obvious that you have a flat or partially flat roof. But if you’re unsure, then check your homebuyers survey from when you bought the property.

What risks are associated with flat roof homes in the UK?

Rain or snow will run off a standard pitched roof. But it can build up on a flat roof, leaving it more vulnerable to leaks and damage.

Water can pool on the roof or seep through it, compromising roof seams and causing damp which can affect interior walls, making it costly to repair.

Debris can sit on a flat roof, too, adding extra weight which can cause damage.

Some flat roofs have limited lifespans of 10 to 20 years, which is much shorter than a pitched tile or slate roof, and they need regular maintenance to keep them in a good condition.

Also, flat roofs are associated with a higher risk of burglary because thieves could climb up onto them to access upstairs windows.

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How much does flat roof insurance cost?

It’s likely to cost more than a policy for a similar property which has a pitched roof. That’s simply because of the risks associated with a flat roof and the increased likelihood of having to make a claim.

Insurers will also base their premium on how much of your roof is flat, how old it is, and what material it’s constructed from.

The usual factors that affect the cost of a home buildings insurance policy also come into play. Things like the rebuild cost of the property and the excess you agree to pay in the event of a claim.

Does a flat roof affect home insurance?

Insurance companies usually consider your home to be of non-standard construction if more than a certain proportion of your property’s roof is flat - usually more than 25-30%. If that’s the case, then you’ll likely be charged more for your buildings insurance than if the property had a pitched roof.

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How to buy flat roof insurance

Not all providers will cover a flat-roofed property because of the higher risk of weather damage to the building and contents.

Some mainstream home insurance providers may offer cover but could add certain conditions such as annual inspections. Or they might only take on a property where the flat roof is under a certain age.

However, there are plenty of specialist insurers who are experts in understanding the specific risks associated with flat roofs and who’ll cover all ages of flat roofs in all materials including:

  • Felt and timber frame
  • Asphalt
  • Fibreglass
  • High technology rubbers like EPDM
  • Metal
  • Grass-covered ‘green’ roofs

When calculating your premium, insurers consider things like whether the roof has been recently repaired and if it’s made from modern materials that can offer better resistance to bad weather.

Be prepared to pay more for your insurance if you have a flat roof – insurers can see it as more of a risk. You can cut the cost by following our top tips
Ceri McMillan - Home insurance expert

How can I cut the cost of flat roof insurance?

There are a few things that may help you get a cheaper quote:

  • Keep the roof well-maintained. Some insurers make it a condition of their policy that you have regular inspections
  • Improve home security to deter intruders and thieves. You can install approved locks on doors and windows, an approved burglar alarm and security lighting
  • Waterproof your flat roof and ensure you have an effective drainage system installed so water can run off the roof quickly
  • Compare multiple quotes to find the best deal for you

Frequently asked questions

There’s a higher risk of damage due to wet, stormy weather and snow if a property has a flat roof. This, along with the increased risk of burglary because thieves can climb on a flat roof to access upstairs windows, means that insurance is more expensive.

  • Inspect your roof regularly for debris like leaves, twigs, standing water and damage, especially after bad weather. Look for things like splitting, a common problem in a felt or asphalt roof. Consider getting your roof cleaned and serviced annually by a professional. This will help prevent expensive problems. And, if you have to make an insurance claim, you’ll have proof that you maintained your roof well
  • Keep roof gutters and drains clear and clean from debris so water can run away from the roof easily
  • Trim any overhanging trees so that falling branches and twigs can’t damage the roof

If your flat roof develops a leak because it’s damaged by an unexpected event like a storm, then you may be able to make a claim. You’ll need to provide proof that you’ve kept your roof well-maintained and that the damage wasn’t caused by wear and tear or lack of maintenance.

Again, if you can show that you kept your flat roof in good repair before the damage that you’re claiming for occurred, then you should be covered for repairs. Insurance won’t pay out for general upkeep and repairs. It’s up to you to keep your roof well-maintained and to protect it from wear and tear.

As with any home insurance policy, you can consider add-ons such as:

Home emergency cover

Cover to help you deal with home emergencies such as burst pipes and blocked toilets, or if your electrical or gas supply fails. It will pay up to a certain amount for an authorised repairer to visit your home to sort out the emergency

Accidental damage cover

Covers you for damage to your possessions or your property that’s the result of an accident, such as spilling paint over your carpet, or a ball being kicked through your window

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Page last reviewed: 19 January 2023
Page reviewed by: Ceri McMillan