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The roof is an essential part of the house. It protects the occupants from weather elements and improves the house's beauty. However, it is susceptible to harmful elements that might lead to gradual damage. Due to Florida's weather, it is common for Florida homeowners to have to deal with filing a roof leak insurance claim.

Lack of maintenance is a long-standing problem that results in leaking rooftops. Roof leaks do not only affect the top but the interior of the house, too. You may rely on your insurance policy to fix the leaky roof in such an instance.

However, insurance companies are not always willing to pay roof damage claims. At other times, failing to follow the due process affects roof insurance claims. This article looks at different types of damages that result in leaking roofs and how to make a successful roof damage insurance claim.

If you need help with a roof leak insurance claim, an experienced home insurance attorney at VG Law Group may be able to help. Contact us for more information. 

What Causes Roof Leaks 

Roof leaks are not only from gradual water damage. Several other factors cause deterioration that might result in a roofing leak. Below are the most common factors that cause this problem.

People 

Roof damages are not always from a severe storm; people contribute to the deterioration of their rooftop. While it's okay to walk on roofs, heavy foot traffic is a problem. This is more so when the membrane is not protected by walk pads, especially around HVAC equipment. 

The roofing material and design play a crucial role in whether you can walk on your roof. For example, it is best to avoid stepping on a rooftop made with metal roofing materials. Also, human error or carelessness like dropped tools or mishandled parts may cause roof leaks. So unless a roofing company is carrying out regular or routine maintenance, dissuade people from walking on your rooftop. 

Seams 

Seams are the weak point of a roof. It is a large roll of membrane coiled over the vast expanse of a commercial roof. The membranes are secured to either the insulation or deck, depending on whether the rooftop is fully adhered or mechanically fastened. 

The seams hold up effectively in flat, open spaces. But at the edge, especially around flashing, pipes, or the end of an older patch, delamination may cause a roof leak. So always carry out regular maintenance to ensure the seams are functioning optimally. 

Rooftop Equipment 

The parts near heavy HVAC equipment and exhaust fans are often the sites of punctures and leaks. Screws may get pulled out, and washers or gaskets can dry rot, creating potential entry points for water. Additionally, ventilation isn't waterproof, and hard-driving rain may enter through HVAC access panels. 

Neglect 

Most people often ignore their roofs for an extended period of time, leading to disastrous consequences. Failure to carry out routine or annual maintenance and inspections creates weak points. Pitch pans and caulking dry out or crack, letting water seep in. 

Regular monitoring and resealing prevent leaks and damaged roofs. But if left to rot, it could ultimately damage the structure, resulting in a roof replacement. 

Weather 

Constant exposure to the elements is terrible for the rooftop. Two common examples of weather conditions responsible for damage to the roof are:

  • Hail Storm: The age and condition of the rooftop contribute to this type of damage. This is because building materials absorb hail damage differently. For instance, it can cause dings to aluminum siding, gutters, or asphalt shingles. 
  • Wind or Hurricane: It is one of the most common types of storm damage. Strong winds can directly impact your roof, ripping off its shingles, roof tiles, and deck. In addition, tree limbs and other debris may rip off part of the rooftop.  

Effect of Roof Water Damage 

Several claims for roof damage originate from water. Excess moisture on the rooftop causes mold issues, leading to mold remediation. Water doesn't cause sudden damage so the effect may go unnoticed for a while. But once you notice it, you'll see one of the following impacts:

  • Damaged ceilings 
  • Stained walls 
  • Structural damage 
  • Insulation damage 
  • Floor damage 
  • Personal property loss 
  • Foundational problems

Does Homeowners Insurance Include Roof Leaks? 

Typically, an all-peril homeowners insurance policy covers wind damage, flood damage,  natural disaster, water damage, etc. It also covers different types of roof damage, including leaks. However, it does not cover roof repairs if the damage results from negligence or gradual leaks.

It must be accidental damage. If it isn't, your claim for roof damage will fail, and you'll pay the repair cost. 

What About a Coverage for Water Damage? 

Some people choose not to buy a homeowners policy. They opt for water damage insurance instead, believing it includes roof leaks. However, your insurance provider will not pay insurance money for a roof leak if the policy covers water damage only.

Water damage insurance covers:

  • Accidental discharge of water from frozen pipes, broken pipes, or a plumbing leak
  • Storm-related water damage (e.g., damage from hurricanes)
  • Accidental water backup from sewer or overflow of water (here, you need a water damage endorsement policy)
  • Flood damage (if you have flood insurance)

Consult an attorney before filing a claim for water damage.  

How To Make a Successful Roof Leak Insurance Claim

Having an insurance policy doesn't guarantee automatic success. However, before and after contacting the insurance agency, there are steps to take to have a successful roof leak or homeowners' insurance claim

Assess the Damage to the Roof

The first thing to do is get on the rooftop and assess the initial damage. Alternatively, you can hire a reputable roofing company. Don't carry out any quick repairs.

The company will give you a detailed report on:

  • The cause of the leak
  • What is required to fix the damage
  • The cost of repairs
  • Replacement costs, and
  • Provide you with records of repairs. 

Another upside of hiring a reputable roofing company is access to certified public adjusters specializing in consumer advocacy. In addition, the adjuster will discuss your roof water damage claim with your insurance company on your behalf. 

Check What Your Insurance Cover

Not every homeowner's insurance covers roof leaks, especially a standard homeowners insurance policy. So check the type of roof coverage policy, coverage limits, and insurance deductible. Additionally, note other relevant details, such as the specific types of damage in the insurance coverage. 

Document the Damage

The next thing is documenting the damage to the rooftop. Start with taking photos of the leak source and the effect. The pictures are evidence that the damage is recent. Then fill out a detailed report for the homeowner's insurance company. 

The report should contain:

  • The cause of the leak
  • Damages from the leak
  • The estimated time frame for repairs 
  • The type of repair
  • Cost of repair

Contact Your Insurer 

Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Most standard policies have a time frame for filing a homeowners insurance claim. Failing to file within the stipulated time leads to denial of water leak claims. After contacting your insurer, an insurance adjuster will investigate if your version reflects the facts. You may have to reach out to the insurance commissioner in some cases.

Contact a Local Roofing Company

You may carry out minor repairs alone, but you need a roofing contractor if the damage is extensive. First, request a written estimate for repairing the deterioration. If you need a complete roof replacement, the company should state it and show why basic repairs are impossible. 

File Your Claim 

After doing the above, file a roof water damage insurance claim. Include all the information and evidence needed to establish your assertions. At this point, it is best to contact a lawyer. An experienced home insurance attorney will advise you throughout the process. If your insurer denies your claim, they'll help you file a lawsuit to get your money. 

What Is the Average Payout for a Roof Leak Insurance Claim? 

Like auto insurance, there is no fixed average insurance payout for a roof leak home insurance claim. The amount paid differs from person to person based on the type of policy. 

Contact Us Today

Frequent insurance claims mean insurance firms must be careful before paying policyholders to avoid insurance fraud. However, their refusal could also be from bad faith. If this is the case, you should consider speaking with a legal team to help you recover compensation. Contact VG Law Group today to see if our Florida homeowner's insurance attorneys can help.

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