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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

Dana George

Our Insurance Expert

Ashley Maready
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Homeowners insurance may be like manna from heaven when things go wrong, but insurance policies vary by carrier and can sometimes be difficult to understand. Unless you speak legalese fluently, figuring out what your homeowners policy covers takes time. To help save you some of that time, we'll cover when homeowners insurance covers roof damage.

When does homeowners insurance cover roof damage?

The typical homeowners insurance policy includes "dwelling coverage." Dwelling coverage helps protect a homeowner from loss when the home's structure is damaged, and that includes the roof. Major disasters -- like damage due to a fire or tornado -- are covered. So if a bad storm moves through the neighborhood and knocks a tree over on a homeowner's roof, that would be covered. If the storm strips shingles off the roof, that would be covered too.

There are two important things to remember:

  1. You will likely have an insurance deductible to pay before homeowners insurance kicks in.
  2. The insurance policy may include a coverage limit. In other words, it is possible to purchase a policy with a strict limit on how much the insurance company will cover in the event of loss.

Does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks?

The quick answer is maybe. It ultimately depends on why the roof is leaking. Let's say the roof of a home is damaged by a hail storm and springs a leak. In that case, the repairs would be covered (unless the policy has a wind or hail exclusion).

Now, say a roof leak occurs because a homeowner failed to conduct routine maintenance or because the roof is old and ready to be replaced. Those leaks are unlikely to be covered.

In a nutshell: If a leak can be traced back to lack of maintenance or age of the roof, the leak is probably not covered. If the leak is due to wind, hail, or another weather event, it probably will be covered.

Does homeowners insurance cover roof replacement?

Yes, if a homeowner has roof replacement coverage, the insurer will replace the roof (as long as it's not due to normal wear and tear or lack of maintenance). The caveat is this: You must purchase a policy that includes roof replacement coverage and not assume that it's included in every policy.

It's natural for homeowners to shop around for the best policy rates. Sometimes, though, a low rate comes at the expense of the coverage they need. For example, a cheap homeowners insurance policy may limit how much the insurance company will pay toward a new roof. If you're interested in a policy that covers the total replacement cost of your roof (minus the deductible) you should make that clear to your insurance agent before purchasing a policy.

It's important to read a policy before signing on. Here's why: Events outside your control -- like fire or vandalism -- are almost always covered, and damage from extreme weather events is usually covered. It's words like "almost, "always" and "usually" that should give you pause.

Before purchasing a policy, look specifically for what is (and is not) covered. The costs of homeowners insurance varies, depending on the level of coverage desired. While comprehensive coverage may cost more upfront, it can save a homeowner thousands of dollars in the event of a claim.

Does homeowners insurance cover wind and hail damage to my roof?

Most homeowners policies do cover wind and hail damage. That said, in areas of the country where both wind and hail damage are common, more companies are setting limits on how much they're willing to pay or excluding them from their homeowners policies entirely. For example, USAA Insurance excludes wind or hail coverage in coastal areas of Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.

Cost of repairing your roof with or without homeowners insurance

The cost to repair a roof depends on the severity of the damage. According to Angi, the average roof repair runs between $379 and $1,796. And This Old House reports that the average cost of a new roof is $10,000, with most projects ranging from $8,500 to $14,300. The final cost depends on the size of the home.

When insurance covers the repair or replacement, all a homeowner is out is the deductible. However, you may find that the deductible on a roof replacement is higher than your standard homeowners deductible, so be on the lookout for that as you shop for new insurance coverage.

How to file a roof insurance claim

When filing a homeowners insurance claim for roof damage, you should take the following steps.

Document the damage

Take as many pictures as possible of the damage. And if possible, take photos of what caused the damage (for example, a fallen tree on the roof). Ideally, take these photos from inside the house. Never climb up on a roof that may be damaged or go out in the middle of a storm.

Make temporary repairs if it is safe to do so

If it is possible to do so safely, throw a tarp over the impacted area of the roof to prevent further damage to the home. If it is not safe, definitely skip this step. Save receipts for anything purchased, including tarps.

Contact your insurance company

Call the insurance company as soon as possible to report the loss.

File the paperwork

Submit any paperwork provided by the insurer. The faster the paperwork is returned, the faster the company can get to work on the claim.

Schedule a visit from an insurance adjuster

Plan to be home to meet with the insurance adjuster, explain what happened, and answer any questions.

What if my roof insurance claim is denied?

Insurance companies must mail a formal letter explaining their reasons for the denial. If it was denied due to a legitimate reason (like the policy had lapsed, or the loss was specifically excluded from coverage), there's nothing more that can be done. However, if the homeowner did nothing wrong and it appears the claim should have been paid, they can:

  • File a formal appeal with the insurance company, providing as much evidence and documentation as possible.
  • Call a property insurance claims professional. A licensed public insurance adjuster can verify coverage, document losses, and place a value on those losses. To find someone who will advocate on your behalf, type the words "property insurance claims professional" into a search engine, followed by your ZIP code.
  • File a formal complaint with the state's insurance commissioner.

And finally, if it still appears that the insurance company should have covered the loss but did not, a homeowner has the option of hiring a qualified attorney to sue the insurer.

Are there roof requirements for home insurance?

Some types of roofs are less expensive to insure than others. These types of roofs tend to earn a discounted premium. And there are some roofs that are so risky to insure that it can be tough (if not impossible) to secure coverage. So, yes, there are roof requirements for homeowners insurance. Here are some roof types that easily meet insurance requirements:

  • A newer roof. If a roof is 20 years old or more, some companies will require an inspection before offering homeowners coverage. Other insurers may offer cash value replacement only or refuse to write a policy for the home.
  • A metal, slate, or asphalt shingle roof tends to be attractive to insurance companies (as opposed to a wooden roof).
  • Insurance companies like homes with a hip roof. "Hip" refers to the shape of the roof. Hip roofs are known for withstanding weather events better than other roof types. Typically, a hip roof is cheaper to insure than a gable or flat roof.

When is roof damage not covered by insurance?

There are several scenarios under which an insurer might refuse to insure a roof or may deny a claim. They include the following.

When the roof is too old

Typically, the newer the roof, the less expensive it is to insure. On the other hand, an old roof (20 years or more) may not qualify for coverage.

When the damage was the homeowner's fault

For example, if you were setting off fireworks in the yard and that caused the roof to catch on fire, the loss would not be covered. If your teenagers were playing around on the roof and someone fell through, homeowners insurance would likely deny the claim.

When the roofing material is too expensive to insure

For example, untreated wood shingle roofs have a reputation for easily catching fire, and insurers are likely to limit their coverage or refuse to insure the roof.

When the damage is specifically excluded per the policy

Events like earthquakes, landslides, sinkholes, pest infestation, war or government action, and nuclear explosions are almost always excluded from homeowners insurance policies. So if a roof is damaged in a landslide, a homeowner is out of luck.

The takeaway lesson here is that you're responsible for making sure the homeowners policy you choose includes all the coverage you're looking for, including roof coverage. The best way to make that happen is to make a list of all the things you're looking for in a policy and compare that list to the policy you're offered. The wisest way to go about buying homeowners insurance is to purchase the highest level of coverage you can afford.


  • Deductibles run the gamut, depending on what you choose. However, the most common roof deductible is $1,000.

  • If you do not have adequate insurance on your roof and can't afford to replace it yourself, you may want to look into a personal loan or home equity loan to cover the expense.

  • It depends on the insurance company. Some will, but will charge a higher policy premium. Others will refuse to write a policy.

  • It's possible your insurance premium will increase a bit after getting a new roof. It depends, in part, if this is your first claim. If you don't have a history of making claims, there's less chance that your rate will increase. Even if it does, it will probably be by very little.

  • If the leak is due to an insured event (like a lightning storm), take pictures of the leak, call your insurance company, file a claim, and schedule an appointment with an adjuster. If you purchase anything to slow the damage of the leak (like a tarp), keep the receipts for the insurance company.