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