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Why you need roof insurance

Jane

As with all types of insurance, its purpose is to protect the policyholder from unexpected events that cause damage. Specific roofing insurance that covers roof leak repair and routine damage repairs, does not appear to be commonly available in the UK for householders. If you put ‘roofing insurance’, into an internet search engine, you will likely get search results for public liability insurance geared towards roofing contractors and builders.

Roof insurance - What is it?

Roof insurance is integral to the buildings insurance element of home insurance. If you have a leaking roof or your roof is damaged, as a result of the following, it may be covered by your buildings insurance policy.

  • Damage from natural disasters
  • Damage from slippage, landslides, heave or subsidence
  • Damage for adverse weather conditions such as storms or gale-force winds
  • Damage caused by something falling on your roof, for example, a fallen tree or part of a tree uprooted during a severe storm
  • Damage caused by a third party

This list is not exhaustive. Other unexpected events may be covered by general buildings insurance not listed here. It is unlikely, even in these circumstances that the whole of your roof will be covered. The insurance will pay for damage caused by an unexpected event and the definitions can be narrow.

Other reasons why you may need roof insurance

The age and general condition of your roof are considerations taken into account by building insurers when deciding whether to allow a claim, what elements to pay for, and how much to pay. If your roof is less than ten years old, it is considered relatively new, and it’s likely that you will receive a larger amount for its repair and restoration.

If your roof is older than ten years old, it can be proved it has been poorly maintained, or it’s obvious the extensiveness of the damage is due to the poor condition, rather than the unexpected event, only part of the cost may be met or the claim may be disallowed.

Damage caused to the roof by an unexpected event is a key phrase in your buildings insurance policy affecting all aspects of building damage, not just roof damage.

Does house insurance cover roof leaks?

If the leaking roof is caused solely by damage rendered by an unexpected event, then the necessary roof leak repair should be covered. If the roof leaks in heavy rain or the damage caused by water leaking from roof are due to previously broken roof tiles, an existing hole in the waterproof roofing membrane, damaged flashing or blocked guttering, your building insurance probably will not cover your roof leak repair cost. Unless you can prove this damage resulted from the unexpected event. These types of roof damage are often a result of poor maintenance, or expected wear and tear on the roof, and not considered a coverable insurance risk.

Remember

The roofing insurance element of a buildings insurance policy is designed to protect you against roof damage requiring a roof leak repair and the resultant roof leak repair cost if something untoward happens to your roof. If the roof leaks in heavy rain because of an existing fault, this is considered avoidable, through routine roof maintenance, and not covered by your insurance policy.

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Flat roof insurance

If you have a non-standard building construction, then this may require a different type of insurance cover, not offered by all home insurance companies. Flat roof insurance is an example of this.

From an insurance point of view, a flat roof is considered riskier to insure than a standard gable roof. This is because they have a gentle pitch, usually 10 degrees, which may allow water and snow to build up. Consequently, they are often more prone to storm damage. Water leaking from roof into the property, is more likely after heavy rain and snow, than for a roof with a steeper pitch that allows better drainage.

Even when offered, flat roof insurance will only cover your roof damage if caused by natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, and the other standard inclusions. Damage and leaks resulting from inadequate roof maintenance and expected wear and tear will usually be excluded from the insurance cover.

Roof protection

The best ways to protect yourself against roof damage and water leakage from roof is twofold:

  1. Have a comprehensive buildings insurance policy that will cover you against untoward events.
  2. Ensure that your roof is regularly maintained to reduce the risks of broken roof tiles and holes in your roofing membranes. These may lead to a leaking roof and subsequent roof leak repair not covered by your insurance.

Roof fall protection

Roof fall protection relates to protecting professional roofers against falls from a roof when they are working on residential and commercial property. Whilst the term is more common in North America, such protection should be part of any public and employers liability policy your roofing contractor has. This type of risk is not usually covered in your buildings insurance policy and is usually the responsibility of your roofing or building contractor.

You should check that your builder or roofing contractor has appropriate employers liability and public liability insurance.

Your contractor should also undertake a risk assessment of the job before it commences for health and safety purposes. Appropriate safety equipment should be used, such as scaffolding so that the contractors can work safely.

Recap

  • Roof insurance is necessary for protection against untoward events that lead to roof damage. For example, after adverse weather conditions, like storms and wind.
  • Roof insurance is normally part of your buildings insurance policy. Check your policy to ensure that this is the case.
  • Bespoke roof insurance, covering repairs and wear and tear damage, is not widely available in the UK.
  • Routine maintenance of your roof and guttering will reduce the risk of roof damage. This will help protect you against unexpected roof leak repair bills that can be expensive. This type of maintenance is suitable for a competent DIY person who doesn’t mind heights.
  • Ensure your roof contractors have adequate insurance to work on your property, in case of accidents and further damage.
  • Ensure that they are using necessary safety equipment.

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