There’s a reason people refer to your home as “the roof over your head.” The 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 about steps you can take to maintain your roof, common issues that can lead to leaks, and home warranty roof leak coverage that 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 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 the 30-year warranty is going to come into play. It’s far more likely to experience leaks as a result of either improper installation or natural wear and tear.
Most roofing contractors will guarantee installation for one or two years, but it can take five or six years for problems to show up, so that installation warranty isn’t likely to be helpful, either.
The cost of repairing a leaky roof can vary widely. The national average for a small repair is about $650, but a larger repair could be 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.
Some home warranties cover roof leaks. However, the coverage is typically an optional add-on that you must tack onto your base plan.
A home warranty is a service contract that covers specific items, like home appliances and home systems, depending on the plan your purchase. 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 your home warranty company, who 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-$125.
Home warranties allow you to limit the cost of unexpected repairs because you only have to pay the service fee 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.
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 single-family homes, and 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 cover any of the replacement cost.
Some home warranty companies only offer the roof leak add-on in policies that real estate professionals purchase for their buyers and sellers. Oftentimes, 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||Dollar Limit||Other Limitations|
|Choice Home Warranty||Add-on option||Homeowners||None listed||Single-family home only. Available for shake, shingle, and composition roofs. 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 the 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, asphalt, 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 caused by appendages, such as flashing, skylights, and solar equipment; damage from people walking on roof; and lack of preventative maintenance.|
Because your home warranty will only cover normal wear and tear, it’s important to conduct a roof inspection at least once a year. You can do this by standing in your yard, by looking through binoculars, or by looking through an upstairs window. Look for the following problems:
You can remove moss, mold, leaves, pine needles, snow, and ice yourself with your hands or a soft-bristled brush. However, we would recommend hiring a professional if you come across larger issues, like damaged flashing or shingles and dips.
Your homeowners 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 homeowners insurance. Similar to home warranties, home insurance policies won’t cover roof damage resulting from lack of proper maintenance.
Home warranty roof coverage lasts as long as your policy does. This is usually one year, but if you purchased a multi-year policy, your roof coverage will continue until the rest of the policy expires.
In the United States, 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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