Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

Aaron holding a ladder with his Global Exterior Experts gear on.
Aaron Venegaz
min read
Women holding a bucket and looking up at her leaking roof.

Picture this: You glance up and see a discolored spot on your ceiling. Your heart sinks – a roof leak! You then ask yourself the million dollar question: "will my insurance cover this, or am I facing a costly nightmare?" 

As a roofing company, we've seen the relief when insurance covers storm damage and the frustration of a denied claim. So, knowing what your policy does and doesn't cover is crucial.

With that being said, let's break down what homeowners insurance protects and doesn't protect against when it comes to roof leaks and the benefits of working with a roofer when filing a roofing claim.

When Insurance Is Likely to Cover a Roof Leak

Homeowners insurance policies can be tricky to dissect, but they typically cover roof leaks caused by unexpected events, as described below.

Storm-related Roof Leaks:

  • Hail Damage: Dents and punctures are apparent signs of hail damage, but the size and quantity of the hail damage matter regarding insurance claims.
  • Wind Damage: Loose shingles are usually the most common form of wind damage when it comes to your roof, but strong winds can cause other types of roof damage such as structural damage, lifted flashing, and leaks around vents.
  • Fallen Trees/Debris Damage: If a healthy tree falls on your house there a good change your insurance will cover it.
Key Takeaway: Homeowners insurance is your safety net for roof damage you CAN'T predict (hailstorms, high winds, and fallen trees).
Discolored ceiling with crack indicating a roof leak with ban sign

Why Your Roof Leak May Not Get Covered

Surprisingly, not a lot of homeowners know this, but neglect, age-related wear and tear, inaccurate documentation, and specific policy exclusions are common reasons why roofing claims are denied.

Age & Poor Maintenance:

  • Age of Roof: Like humans, roofs have a lifespan too. So if your roof is over 20 years old there's a good chance your insurance won't pay for a replacement (not due to a specific event like a storm).
  • Lack of Maintenance: For example, missing shingles, cracked flashing, and clogged gutters are clear signs that a roof wasn't maintained well. Hence, lack of maintenance can also lead to a roofing claim denial.
  • Ignoring "Small" Issues: So, about that minor leak, did you patch it yourself? Well, if it worsens over time, the insurer could claim that you made the problem worse, which can void your coverage.

Policy Exclusions:

  • Flood damage: Usually requires separate flood insurance.
  • Earth movement: Earthquake-related roof issues might not be covered under your insurance, unfortunately.
  • Construction defects: If the roof leak is due to faulty initial building, there's a chance it could be the builder's liability rather than your insurance company's.
Pro Tip: Proactive roof care protects you from costly out-of-pocket repairs and increases your chances of successful claims when unavoidable damage happens. It's always a good idea to get your roof inspected every year to avoid costly repairs. The average cost of a roof repair according to Angi is $360 to $1,550 in 2024.
Homeowners insurance policy page being reviewed on table

How To Review Your Insurance Policy

We see this time and time again. Don't get caught off-guard by a roof leak! Look over your homeowners insurance policy so you don't get stressed out or lose money.

Here are three essential areas to look for within your homeowners insurance policy:

1. Deductible

A deductible is the amount you're responsible for before your homeowners insurance kicks in. By the way, if your deductible is higher, this typically means lower monthly premiums but typically more out-of-pocket costs if you have a claim.

2. Perils

If you've never heard of the word "Peril" before, it's an event that can cause damage to your roof, such as storms, hail damage and fires.

So, the type of policy you have determines which perils are covered:

  • "Named Perils": This is the most common policy type out there. Named perils offers coverage for a specific list of events clearly named in your policy. It's important to note, if the cause of damage isn't on the list, it's not covered.
  • "Open Perils": This type of policy covers almost any kind of damage unless it's expressly excluded, but open perils policies are usually more expensive but offer a wider range of protection.

Red Flags: Always check your policy for exclusions. Common ones as mentioned previously, include "earth movement" and restrictions based on your roof's age, which can affect coverage for roof leaks.

3. Roof Age Limits

A deductible is the amount you're responsible for before your homeowner's insurance kicks in. So, a higher deductible typically means lower monthly premiums but more out-of-pocket costs if you have a claim.

  • Depreciation: Many policies don't pay total roof replacement costs on older roofs. What they'll do instead is calculate how much life is left and pay a percentage.
  • Find Your Roof's "Birthday": If you don't know when your roof was installed, a roofing contractor can provide an accurate estimate. After you have the age of your roof, compare it to the age limits in your policy.
  • Maintenance Matters: Good maintenance can help you fight insurance claim denials on older roofs. Documenting your roof inspections and repairs strengthens your case and may help you get the total replacement value.
Takeaway: Waiting until you have a claim to understand your policy is a recipe for stress! Taking 30 minutes to an hour to review your insurance policy now can prevent unpleasant surprises later.
Global Exterior Experts professional inspecting a roof for hail damage with chalk

Benefits Of Working With A Roofer

When your roof suffers from a leak or damage, your first instinct might be to call your homeowners insurance. 

However, before you file a roofing claim on your own, consider the benefits of working with a qualified roofer.

What A Roofer Can Help With:

  • Finding Hidden Damage: Insurance adjusters do a good job, but experienced roofers have the specialized training to see what adjusters might miss.
  • Thorough Documentation:  Roofers often times will help file your insurance claim for you, since they understand the importance of proper documentation.
  • Understanding Insurance Terms: Insurance policies are often packed with technical terms and specific requirements, which can become overwhelming. That's where a roofer comes in handy!
  • Honest Upfront Assessments: A reputable roofing company will clearly explain your potential out-of-pocket costs before you file a roofing claim, ensuring you're not left with any surprises.
Suggestion:  Don't DIY your roof insurance claim, as it can lead to insurance claims getting denied. Contact your local roofer; they usually offer free inspections and claims assistance.


Roof leaks can indeed be stressful, but understanding your insurance policy and properly maintaining your roof goes a long way in helping insure you receive the best possible coverage for your roof leak.

Have potential roof issues like leaks, missing shingles, or hail/wind damage stressing you out in the Chicagoland area? Contact Global Exterior Experts today. We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have and provide proper guidance.