When you purchase a home, you are responsible for the maintenance and safety of it. Homeowners need to understand that although homes must be built to the applicable code in their area, they are still built by humans, and things can go wrong as a result. Homeowners should also keep in mind that things in and on their home will eventually wear out and must be repaired or replaced. With that being said, let’s discuss roof issues.
Why is Your Roof Leaking?
Whether or not your insurer will pay to repair or replace your roof depends on the reason it is leaking in the first place. Typically covered damage may be the result of the following:
- A tree branch has fallen and caused damage
- Hail has damaged the roof shingles
- Severe winds have caused the shingles to lift and/or buckle
- The roof has been damaged by a fire
- Snow or ice damage
If your home’s roof begins leaking as a result of any of the reasons mentioned above, your insurance policy will respond to repair or replace your roof and damage to your contents. Keep in mind, however that there must be evidence that the leak is a result of a covered peril. If you claim that your roof is leaking because of a hail storm, but there hasn’t been one reported in your area, your claim is likely going to be denied for the roof repair. Your insurance policy will list the perils that you are insured against and also losses that are excluded. Policies are typically difficult for most people to read, so ask your agent to go through the exclusions with you.
If you discover a leak in the roof and call your insurance company, a claims adjuster will usually come out for an inspection within a few days. If after the inspection, your claims adjuster determines that your roof is leaking because it is old and worn out or improperly maintained, you claim will likely be denied and your repair bills must come out-of-pocket, however, repairs or replacement of damaged contents will likely be covered. Most roof coverings have a warranty, and it’s the responsibility of the homeowner, not the insurance company, to make sure that maintenance issues are resolved. Missing and buckling shingles are the responsibility of the homeowner, not the insurance company. The homeowner, not the insurance company, must replace old worn-out roofs.
Here’s the bad news. If your roof is outdated and leaking after a hailstorm, your insurer may still deny the claim because your roof should have been replaced before the hailstorm came through your neighborhood.
If you feel your claim should not have been denied and wish to pursue your insurance company, your best option would be to contact a reputable public adjuster who will represent your interests and not the interests of the insurance company.