Will Insurance Cover Roof Leaks in Your South Florida Home?
Your Roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. But no roof lasts forever, and over the years it will start to fail. In time, even the tiniest leak can let in enough water to cause thousands of dollars in damage to your South Florida home. Will your insurance pay for the repairs, or will the expenses come out of your own pocket? The answer might surprise you.
My Roof Is Leaking. Is It Covered by Insurance?
Does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks? That depends where the leak came from. Just because a storm damages your roof doesn’t necessarily mean that insurance will cover the damage.
Homeowners insurance generally only covers damage from unexpected sources. For example, if a tree is knocked over by a powerful storm and it strikes your roof, the damage would likely be covered by homeowners insurance.
On the other hand, any damage that can be traced back to a maintenance issue generally won’t be covered. If your roof springs a leak during the storm because of advanced age, homeowners insurance probably wouldn’t cover the damage from the leak.
Find out ahead of time whether your insurance will cover the cost of repairing a roof leak. Before anything goes wrong, consult your homeowners’ insurance policy and find out what’s covered (and what’s not).
Warning: You Might Not Be Allowed to Repair Your South Florida Home’s Roof
If a roof leak has caused substantial damage to your South Florida home, you may not be able to get a permit to perform repairs unless you agree to elevate your house.
In some communities, new rules require homeowners to raise their homes by several feet when conducting extensive renovations. The rules are intended to protect property against rising sea levels.
Homes in places such as Miami Beach and the Florida Keys are required to be elevated as much as eight feet, according to the Builders Association of South Florida. More than 700,000 homes in South Florida are now located in flood zones.
The rules are complex and triggered when total renovation costs exceed a certain portion of the house’s value. But elevating a home is costly, and that can make even a simple roof replacement prohibitively expensive.
3 Things You Can Do About Roof Damage:
- As soon as you notice a roof leak, contact your insurance company to see whether you can file a claim. Many insurers now allow you to file a claim by phone, online, or through a smartphone app.
- Before you make any repairs, document the damage. Take photos and video of all affected areas, and include measurements where possible. Save all of your receipts.
- If you decide to hire help, be aware of contractor scams. Check the reputation of any South Florida roofing business before signing a contract. Don’t make any payments until after the job is complete.
Better to Repair the Roof or Sell the House?
The bad news is that one little roof leak could drain your wallet. Even after the roof is replaced, the costs can continue to pile up. That’s because roof leaks often lead to mold growth and even structural damage. The average homeowner spends about $7,500 for professional mold remediation, and structural repairs can add thousands of dollars on top of that.
If your insurance won’t cover the damage from a roof leak, you may be better off selling your house as-is. Forget about the leaky roof and find out how you can get a cash offer from HomeVestors to buy your South Florida home.