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Does Home Insurance Cover Roof Leaks: All the Info You Need

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated November, 17, 2022

A leaking roof can lead to loads of issues from damp walls to structural problems—not to mention that the cost of repairs can go up to £800. 

Is there anything you can do to offset the cost? Does home insurance cover roof leaks? And if it does, will it only cover the cost of repairs?

The answer is: it depends. While most policies will cover leaking roofs, there are certain situations when your insurance company might not be able to reimburse you.  

Let’s take a closer look at if and how your home insurance can help with a leaking roof.

Will Your Home Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

Whether or not your insurance provider will cover the cost of a leaking roof depends on the cause of the damage. 

If the roof was damaged by a storm or heavy rain, most insurance companies will pay for the cost of repairs. 

However, if the damage was caused by poor upkeep, you probably won’t be reimbursed. This means that if your roof leaks because it has not been maintained properly, your insurer could put this down to negligence and reject your claim.

As a rule of thumb, elements cause more damage to the exterior, such as missing tiles, huge gaps in the roof or falling trees. If there are no obvious signs of external damage except for a few missing tiles, it is more likely that the part of the roof has worn out, causing the leak. Your insurer will not pay for any damages if this is the case. 

Which Types of Home Insurance Cover a Leaking Roof?

There are two types of home insurance: buildings insurance and contents insurance. 

Buildings insurance typically covers the cost to repair or rebuild your home if it was damaged or destroyed by storms, falling trees, or fire. 

More specifically, buildings insurance covers damages to a roof caused by:

  • Explosions and fire
  • Natural disasters, like floods, storms and earthquakes
  • Frozen or burst pipes (boilers are only covered by certain insurers)
  • Vandalism and theft
  • Subsidence 
  • Vehicle collision 
  • Aircraft collision
  • Fallen trees, aerials, lampposts or other external objects

What doesn’t buildings insurance cover?

Damages caused by regular wear and tear are not covered by buildings insurance. Homes that have not been occupied for more than 30 days or used to run a business are also not covered under a building insurance policy. 

That said, not all companies offer the same terms and conditions, so it pays to shop around and find the best deal for you.

Does home insurance cover damages to personal belongings?

Contents coverage can reimburse the cost of actual items damaged by fire, flood, water leaks, storms and natural disasters. It will not cover items that have been damaged from regular wear and tear or poor maintenance. 

Contents insurance typically includes items like

  • Furniture
  • Laminate flooring & carpets (in some cases)
  • Computer equipment
  • Personal belongings

While many insurers offer these as two separate elements of a home insurance policy, many tend to combine them into a single package. The package is often offered at a discount, although you should look into what is actually covered as cheaper insurance is not always the best option. 

Is a Roof Leak Covered by Insurance in Rented Properties?

The same rules apply to rented properties. Your house insurance will cover a leaking roof if the home has been properly maintained

If you are the landlord

Landlords are responsible for keeping the roof in good condition and carrying out repairs, as well as taking out landlord’s home insurance

Note: If you have taken out or switched to a buy-to-let mortgage, the lender might require that you get a buildings insurance policy as part of the deal.

If you are a tenant 

The landlord’s insurance policy does not cover damages caused to the items inside the flat. To protect clothing, computer equipment and other personal belongings, tenants need to take out a tenant’s insurance or contents insurance policy. 

Does tenancy liability insurance cover leaks? Find out here

Does Home Insurance Cover a Roof Leak in Flats?

Buildings insurance in flats covers leaks and damaged roofs, but this depends on the cause of the leak and whether you own the flat or are a leaseholder. 

Typically when it comes to a leaking roof and home insurance in flats, the freeholder i.e. landlord, is in charge of taking out relevant insurance coverage, as well as maintenance and repairs. This is not always the case as sometimes leaseholders will be required to pay for some of the repair costs—your leasehold agreement should clearly state who is responsible for costs in the event of a roof leak. 

Those who own the flat as a share of freehold, have a collective responsibility to get buildings insurance for the entire building and carry out repairs in case of damages. 

How to Prevent Leaks in the Roof

The best way to protect against leaks is to keep your home in good condition. Plus, as mentioned above your leaky roof will not be covered by home insurance unless it is well-maintained. This involves:

  • Regularly checking roof tiles: If you notice any missing, damaged or broken tiles replace them quickly to stop water from coming in
  • Inspecting the roof for leaks: You can do this by checking the loft and loft insulation for water stains, mould or other types of water damage. You could also check the roof for possible leaks with a hose or on a rainy day—shine a torch into the loft space to see if any water or daylight is coming in.
  • Clearing gutters: Debris and leaves can block the gutters and stop the water from draining
  • Trimming trees and plants: If possible keep vegetation away from the roof as weeds and moss can cause structural damage to the tiles, while trees and overhanging branches could collapse on your roof even in mild weather conditions.
  • Checking on skylights and windows: Seals that have been damaged can easily let water in, so check on them regularly to make sure they are intact.
  • Keeping air bricks and roof ventilation clear of debris: This will ensure that the roof cavity is dry.
The Best House Insurance Companies for Roof Leak Claims in the UK
1. Admiral Platinum Cover
Admiral’s Platinum package offers unlimited buildings coverage and up to £150,000 contents cover, as well as up to £10,000 trace and access cover which will reimburse you for any expenses involved in detecting and repairing the source of the leak. 
2. The AA Home Insurance Plus
You could get unlimited buildings and contents cover with the AA’s premium insurance package as well as up to £5,000 in trace and access cover. Alternative accommodation cover (up to £50,000) is also available if the leak in your roof has made it impossible to stay in the house.  
3. MORE THAN Upgraded buildings and contents cover
MORE THAN, one of the leading insurers in the UK, provides up to £1 million in buildings coverage and up to £100,000 contents insurance. If you need to lift floorboards or remove insulation to repair damages caused by a leaking roof, this insurer will also cover costs up to £5,000. 

How to File a Leaking Roof Insurance Claim?

If you notice a water leak from the roof and you are covered by the relevant type of insurance, you need to

1. Contact your insurer

To make a claim, call your insurance provider and give them as many details as possible about the cause and the damage. 

2. Have proof ready  

Taking photos of the leak and the damage caused is always a good idea when making a claim. You should also try to find old receipts of repair work and maintenance done on the roof to show that you have been keeping it in good condition. 

Finally, try to find some local weather reports to substantiate your claim. 

3. Get a quote

Contact a roofing company to get an estimated cost of the repairs. Most roofers will give you a quote for free and since they have the experience they could also advise you on how to deal with your insurer.

4. Be ready for disputes

The insurer might reject your claim if they believe the damage to the roof could have been avoided if it had been kept in better shape. 

If you are not satisfied with the insurer’s decision, you need to discuss the matter with them. They may not give you the answer you want, in which case, you could contact the Financial Ombudsman (at least eight weeks after the insurance company responded to your complaint) who will go over the claim and decide whether you should be paid out or not. 

Bottom Line

Leaking roofs are a common issue homeowners and tenants face, especially in a country like the UK that sees rain or snow for an average of 133 days a year. 

The best way to minimise the cost of repairs and damages is to take out buildings and contents insurance and make sure that your roof is in good condition. Regularly check it for leaks and damaged or missing tiles—otherwise, you might not be reimbursed by your insurer. 

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

How much does roof leak home insurance cost?

The average cost of home insurance is about £140 a year, however, this depends on whether you are choosing buildings and contents-only policies or you are going for a combined package. 

The premium also depends on your claims history, the value of your home (and its contents) as well as the area where you live—you will naturally be required to pay higher premiums if you reside in areas at risk of floods and other natural disasters. If you live in suburbs that have a higher crime rate, expect higher premiums. 

Does home insurance cover thatched roofs?

If you have a home with a thatched roof and adequate insurance, your provider should reimburse you for damages caused by floods, storms or high winds. Keep in mind that it can be hard to find a reasonably-priced policy for these propertieshouses with thatched roofs are more at risk from fire and damage caused by birds and vermin.

Does home insurance cover roof leaks on flat roofs?

If your flat roof has been damaged by storms, falling trees or burglary attempts, but is in otherwise good condition, your insurer will probably cover the cost of repairs

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.