Spring showers are a welcomed indicator that warmer weather and greener pastures are on the horizon — unless they’re happening inside. A survey from global insurance provider Chubb found that, on average, a single roof leak can cause about $65,000 in damages.
While the costs incurred by such damages are mostly covered by your homeowners insurance policy, there may be some exceptions. Here’s how to make sure your roof, and your policy, can withstand even the heaviest of downpours.
What does home insurance cover?
If your home has been damaged by a covered peril — meaning a situation, event or natural disaster that can cause damage to your property and personal belongings — your homeowners insurance provider will compensate you for it.
However, you’ll have to pay for the cost of repairs yourself when the cause of a roof leak isn’t covered or is specifically excluded by your insurance policy. Similar to pipe leaks, roof leaks that are caused by flooding, mold or a general lack of maintenance typically aren’t covered by the average home insurance policy.
You can check the declaration page of your home insurance policy to find out which perils are excluded from your current coverage. You should also check to make sure there aren’t any coverage limits based on risk factors in your area.
If you don’t feel you have adequate coverage, you can purchase additional endorsements, like flood policies, to make sure you’re protected.
4 worthwhile maintenance tasks to keep your roof in tip-top shape
If you’re worried about the out-of-pocket cost of your insurance policy, consider taking preemptive measures. Certain home renovations, for instance, can help reduce your monthly premiums, and proper maintenance can go a long way in ensuring the longevity of your roof.
1. Inspect your roof on a regular basis
Perform regular roof inspections, especially after a storm.
Create a checklist of areas to monitor — including the roof and shingles, gutters, as well as the drainage and water run-off systems — and assess them every few months. After a storm or a snowy winter, always make sure to inspect your roof from the inside and outside of your home as well.
Meanwhile, inspections done by a roofing professional can help you find problems that you may not have recognized. Ask them to make sure that your roof is up to current building codes and check areas that you are unable to check on your own.
This is especially important if your roof is over 10 years old, as a professional will be able to better appraise its condition than the average homeowner.
2. Keep photo documentation of your roof’s condition
During an inspection, take photos of your roof, especially before your area’s rain or storm season. This ensures that you have a record of your roof’s condition in case you need to file a claim for damages sustained from bad weather or a natural disaster.
If you find yourself in need of repairs, take photos of the damage as soon as possible so you can include the photos in your claim.
3. Fix any potential roof issues right away
If you find any potential problems during your inspections, address them immediately. This will prevent the issue from getting worse and help you avoid having a claim denied by your insurance company due to lack of maintenance.
For example, dead trees near your home or tree limbs that hang over your roof may cause damage if they fall during a storm, so you’ll want to trim them or get rid of them completely before they can do so.
Although it may seem tedious and pricey to fix a problem that doesn’t seem very urgent, leaving it alone may actually cost you more in repairs in the long run — homeowners typically spend between $1,197-$5,090 on average to restore or repair water damage to their property.
4. Hire trustworthy roofing contractors for any repairs needed
When you need roof repairs, always turn to a professional you can trust.
This means that, in addition to doing your research on the company you choose, you make sure the contractor doing the job is qualified, licensed and insured for the task at hand. Also make sure to check the business’s rating and any reviews they have on on sites like ANGI.
Doing your due diligence is especially important as a homeowner because any damage caused from poor repairs won’t be covered by your home insurance policy.