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Does home insurance cover roof repairs?

Mehdi Punjwani
Written by  Mehdi Punjwani
6 min read
Updated: 12 Feb 2024

If your roof has been damaged, you may be able to claim on your home insurance policy - but it will depend on the cover you have and the type of damage that occurred. Here’s what you need to know.

Does home insurance cover roof leaks? 

Home buildings insurance will generally cover roof leaks if they’re caused by trees falling or heavy rain from a storm - essentially from an unforeseen event that causes the damage. If the leak results from a lack of proper maintenance or repairs to existing damage like broken roof tiles, then your home insurance policy probably won’t let you claim.  

Does home insurance cover damage to contents caused by roof leaks? 

Your home contents insurance, either as a standalone policy or combined with your buildings insurance, should cover any contents damaged by roof leaks. Contents insurance often includes cover for damage caused by the escape of water as well as damage from storms and flooding. However, if the leak is caused by negligence or wear and tear, you’ll likely find your policy won’t cover you. 

Does home insurance cover leaking roofs if I live in a flat? 

If you live in a flat on the top floor and have a leaky roof, the cover you’ll need will depend on your living situation: 

  • If you’re renting: You’ll only need content insurance to cover any belongings you have that may get damaged as a result of the leak. Your landlord will be responsible for the building itself, which includes maintenance of the roof and buildings insurance to cover damage. 

  • If you’re the homeowner: As the owner of the flat, you’ll be in charge of maintaining the roof and taking out buildings insurance if you’re the freeholder. If you’re a leaseholder, you’ll be able to find the details of who is responsible for the roof in your lease - it will usually be the leaseholder. 

roof being rebuilt

When are insurers likely to pay out on a roof damage claim? 

Insurers are more likely to pay out on a roof damage claim if there are signs of damage from the storm, or otherwise evidence that the roof was in good condition prior to the leak. Proof of storm damage could be fallen trees or numerous missing tiles rather than just one or two around the area of the leak. Other instances of unexpected damage include things like vandalism, fire or an explosion, which would all be covered under standard buildings insurance. 

When are insurers likely to refuse roof damage claims? 

You’ll find it harder to claim for roof damage if it’s resulting from a lack of maintenance. Homeowners are expected to undertake basic upkeep of their homes. This means it’s your responsibility to spot wear and tear and take action to resolve it, otherwise you won’t be covered if it leads to a leaky roof. This is particularly important in winter months when bad weather is more common. Your claim may also not be valid if you don’t have the right kind of insurance - for example, if you have a thatched roof you’ll need specialist cover. 

How to find a roof leak? 

Finding the source of a leak in your roof is a crucial step in getting it fixed and making a successful claim. Here’s what you should do: 

  • Look for signs of moisture and mould. The leak is likely to be nearby 

  • If you’re in the loft, turn the lights off and look for cracks of daylight as this could be where the damage is 

  • Identify drips falling on a rainy day  

  • Direct a hosepipe on the roof on a dry day to see if there is a leak 

  • Check the roof for missing tiles  

  • If it’s flat, check the seams and surface for cracks 

  • Mark the damage with a pencil or chalk so you remember where it is  

How do you prevent roof leaks? 

To prevent roof leaks, your best bet is to regularly inspect your roof tiles or flat roof as well as your loft for damage and take care of issues before they become significant. It’s good to keep your guttering clear so water doesn’t build up where it shouldn’t, and ensure weeds, moss, and tree branches aren’t affecting the structure of your roof. 

How much does a new roof cost in the UK? 

The cost of a new roof in the UK will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of your roof, the structure, the material, and the cost of labour. According to Checkatrade, the average cost of a roof installation in 2023 was roughly £5,000-£8,000, but be sure to check with different tradespeople and compare quotes to find the best deal. Remember, your insurer will need to approve your repair work before you carry it out if you hope to claim for the cost, unless it’s an emergency.  

What should I do if my roof is leaking? 

If you find a leak in your roof, you should take quick action to prevent damage from getting worse: 

  1. Move your belongings out of the way before they get damaged and add to your home insurance claim 

  2. Collect the water in a container or bucker to stop water from spreading 

  3. Gather evidence of the damage, including photos and videos of weather conditions 

  4. Contact a roofing expert or repairman if the damage is severe and compromises your home’s structure  

  5. Call your insurer to file a claim  

How do you file a claim for a damaged roof? 

Filing a home insurance claim for a damaged roof is similar to any other home insurance claim - you’ll usually need to do the following: 

  1. Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible before the damage gets worse 

  2. Give them as much information as possible about the leak and the cause of the damage - remember to be honest 

  3. Take photographs and gather receipts for repair or maintenance work if you have it to demonstrate the roof is otherwise in good condition. 

  4. If the damage was caused by a storm, it can be useful to have weather reports or videos as evidence too 

  5. If it’s an emergency that needs fixing as soon as possible you should arrange this, but if the repairs aren’t urgent you should wait for your insurer to agree to it first. In an emergency, insurers will generally understand that immediate action was required and will still pay out for your claim 

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