There’s a reason people refer to your home as “the roof over your head.” A roof is a key component in your home, keeping damaging elements like rain out of your house. Most roof leaks aren’t covered by home insurance, so a home warranty is a good way to protect yourself from the cost of roof repairs.
Unfortunately, your roof can have a leak for a long time before you realize it, causing unseen damage to the walls, ceilings, insulation, and framing. The resulting dampness can also promote the growth of mold in your home, which can be a serious health hazard. By the time you notice a drip from the ceiling and run for a bucket, you could be facing a big repair bill.
Read on to learn steps you can take to maintain your roof, common issues that can lead to leaks, and how a home warranty roof leak coverage could limit the amount you have to spend on repairs.
Roofing materials are designed to have a long life. Asphalt shingles have a lifespan of 15–30 years, wood shakes of 30–50 years, and metal and tile roofs generally have an expected life of more than 50 years, according to the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. In fact, asphalt shingles are one of the few products that people often refer to by their warranty life, such as a 30-year shingle.
However, the manufacturer’s warranty on those singles only covers defects in the product itself. So, unless the shingles on your roof melt away in a rainstorm, it’s pretty unlikely that 30-year warranty is going to come into play. It’s far more likely to experience leaks as a result from either improper installation or natural wear and tear to your roof.
Most roofing contractors will guarantee installation for one or two years, but it can take five or six years for problems to show up if there are installation problems, so that installation warranty isn’t likely to be helpful, either.
The cost of repairing a leaky roof can vary widely. Overall, the national average for a small repair is about $650, but it could go well over $2,000.
Many roof leaks stem from problems with the flashing. Flashing is a strip of metal—typically either galvanized steel or aluminum—used in areas of the roof like seams around skylights and chimneys to help keep water from seeping in. Sealants used in roofing can also fail and cause leaks.
Some home warranties do cover roof leaks, although the coverage is typically optional, add-on coverage that you must sign up for when you first take out the policy.
A home warranty is a service contract that covers specific, listed items, which can include home appliances and home systems, depending on the plan your purchase. Home warranties and the best home warranty providers cover issues that result from typical wear and tear and do not cover issues that arise if you use an appliance or system incorrectly.
When you have a home warranty and need a repair on a covered item, you call the home warranty company, which will arrange for a pre-screened service technician to come to your home. The technician will determine if the issue is covered, and if so, they will repair it if possible. All you will be charged for is the service call, a fee that generally ranges from $75 to $125.
In some cases, the warranty company will decide to replace the appliance rather than repair it. In that case, the company may offer you a comparable item rather than the exact model you currently own.
Home warranties allow you to limit the cost of unexpected repairs because you only have to pay the service fee for covered items rather than the entire cost to repair or replace covered appliances or systems. With something like a roof leak, which is only going to get worse as time passes, it’s important to act as soon as you discover the leak. If knowing you’ll only have to pay a small service fee will prevent you from delaying the repair, home warranty roof leak coverage could easily pay for itself.
If you are in the market for a home warranty, the best way to determine if roof leaks are covered is to read the sample contract that most home warranty companies make available on their website. These contracts list what is covered, what is excluded, and what can be added as optional coverage. The contract will also note if the warranty coverage has a dollar limit on it.
Some warranty companies offer different coverage in different states or regions. These companies will require you to supply your zip code, so you can get an accurate picture of what is covered in your area.
As you examine different policies, you’ll find that roof leak coverage is usually an add-on, so it will cost you extra beyond the normal home warranty premium. The contract will probably use a phrase like “limited roof leak,” and the limits could include the dollar amount the company will pay to cover repairs. Repairs may be limited to roofs that are over living areas of the home, and the policy may only be available if you are covering a single-family home. Most policies don’t cover roofs with skylights.
If the damage is so bad that all or part of your roof must be replaced, some warranty plans will estimate how much just fixing the leak would have cost and will provide that much money to go toward the roof replacement. Other plans won’t provide any money if the leak is so bad you need a partial or complete roof replacement.
Some home warranty companies only offer the roof leak add-on in policies that real estate professionals purchase for their buyers and sellers. Often the policy won’t cover the seller but will pay for covered repairs after the buyer takes possession of the house.
Not all home warranty coverage is equal. If you want roof leak to be included in your contract, that’s an important factor to consider when selecting a provider.
|Provider||Roof Leak Coverage||Who Can Buy||$ Limit||Other Limits|
|Choice Home Warranty||Add-on option||Homeowners||None listed||Single-family home only. Available for shake, shingle, and composition roof. Only covers occupied parts of house (no porches or patios). Exclusions include skylights, solar equipment, and total or partial roof replacement.|
|Select Home Warranty||Included||Homeowners||None listed||Roof leak repairs over occupied living areas of single-family homes only (patios excluded). Metal roofs and some other materials excluded. Does not include repairs requiring partial or complete replacement of the roof.|
|American Home Shield||Not offered||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|First American Home Warranty||Add-on option||Real estate professionals||$1,000||Covers leaks caused by rain to a roof with normal wear and tear. If roof needs to be replaced, will only cover estimated cost to repair the leaking area. Exclusions include skylights, leaks caused by roof-mounted installations, and improper construction.|
|HSA Home Warranty||Add-on option||Real estate professionals||$750||Covers cedar or asphalt shingles, built-up roofing, slate or tile. Will not cover improper installation or damage due to ice, mud, snow, or wind. Excludes skylights, chimneys, and downspouts.|
|Fidelity National Home Warranty||Add-on option||Homeowners||$1,000||Covers leaks caused by rain on roof over occupied living spaces of house. Exclusions include cracking or missing material, leaks cause by appendages such as flashing, skylights, and solar equipment; damage from people walking on roof, and lack of preventative maintenance.|
Choice Home Warranty makes finding the right warranty easy by offering two plans, a Basic Plan and a more extensive Total Plan. A sample user agreement is on the company’s website, so you can see exactly what they cover before you sign up for a plan.
Limited roof leak coverage is an optional add-on that you can choose when you sign up for a plan. Choice Home Warranty also offers optional coverage for several different appliances and systems that buyers can add onto their policy.
Choice Home Warranty’s plans include both appliances and systems, with limited roof coverage as an add-on. Home warranty coverage with Choice Home Warranty starts at about $1 a day. If you sign up for a single payment plan, where you pay for the annual plan upfront, you get a free first month. Choice charges a $75 service fee, which is on the lower end of the industry average.
Another advantage to using Choice Home Warranty is that the company maintains a list of pre-screened local technicians to make service calls, so you don’t have to worry about finding someone who is qualified to take care of your problem.
Select Home Warranty’s plans divide the two coverages, but you don’t have to pay extra for roof coverage. When choosing between the two, think about what systems and appliances you have in the home, their age or what is likely to need repair or replacement soon, and whether you can afford those costs. Select Home Warranty’s plans are listed below.
If you have homeowner’s insurance, you might wonder if you need a home warranty on your roof. Home warranty roof coverage includes leaks that result from normal wear on your roof, which is not covered by home insurance.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy will only pay for roof repairs in the case of a sudden roof leak, not for leaks caused by wear and tear. For example, if a tree falls through your roof during a storm, the damage should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.
Your home insurance coverage lists specific types of disasters—typically referred to as “perils” in the insurance industry—in which your home is covered. Standard insurance policies typically include a couple of perils that could cause your roof to leak. According to the Insurance Information Institute, basic policies usually include fire, lightning, windstorm, and hail.
Policies with broader coverage might also include the weight of ice, snow, or sleet. Damage from earthquakes is usually excluded unless you purchase an earthquake policy. Similar to home warranties, home insurance policies also don’t cover damage resulting from lack of proper maintenance.
Because your home warranty will only cover normal wear and tear to a roof, it’s important for you to perform some annual maintenance tasks for your roof, or hire someone to do them for you.
Bad weather—such as heavy snow, large hail, or strong winds—can compromise the shingles on your roof, according to Reed Hitchcock, executive vice president of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association. “Regular maintenance and upkeep assure property owners peace of mind and extends the life and performance of the roofing system,” he said.
Of course, if you need to use a ladder to perform any of these tasks, observe safety precautions. If you are uncomfortable with ladders, hire someone to check your roof regularly.
Yes, some home warranties do cover roof leaks. Roof leak coverage is typically an optional, add-on coverage in a home warranty policy. Be sure to read the contract closely so you understand what roof leaks are covered and what is excluded. Home warranties cover wear and tear to home systems and appliances, so not all leaks are covered by your warranty. If lightning strikes your roof and it begins to leak, you need to contact your home insurance company.
Choice Home Warranty doesn’t require a home be inspected prior to issuing a warranty policy, but other providers do.
There are usually two different warranties on a new roof. The roofing material, such as asphalt shingles, will come with a lengthy warranty that covers defective products. Asphalt shingles often have 20-year or even 30-year warranties, but these warranties might be voided if the roof was not correctly installed. The roofing company that installs the roof will also provide a warranty on workmanship, which is usually for one or two years.
In the US, more than three-quarters of residences have asphalt shingle roofs.
*Terms and conditions apply. Review complete limits of liability and any exclusions. CHW offers service contracts which are not warranties.
**See policy for specifics on response times.
***CHW reserves the right to offer cash back in lieu of repair or replacement in the amount of CHW’s actual cost (which at times may be less than retail) to repair or replace any covered system, component or appliance.
****In the event a claim is denied, and a customer seeks to have Us review that denial, We have the right to request routine maintenance records in reviewing its decision.
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