Home Insurance Cover And Roof Repairs: A Storm In A Teacup?

It is estimated that around five million properties in the UK currently have faulty or degrading roofs. For many householders, these issues go undiscovered for many years – until a small problem suddenly becomes a major emergency. The truth is, the majority of home insurance policies in the UK do not cover the cost of maintenance and repair that is needed because of natural wear and tear.

As a result, millions of people in the UK are sitting underneath a ticking time bomb – their roof!  If you live in the Pennine region or in and around South Yorkshire you’ll know they get a their fair share of heavy rain and down pours.  It took three Roofers in Sheffield to carry out emergency repairs on a family home following wind storm damage from a mighty and vicious weather pattern back in the 1990′s.

Insured Perils

A roof is an integral part of a building’s structure; it is therefore covered by buildings insurance if a defect is the result of an insured peril. This is a commonly-used term in the terms and conditions of many home insurance policies, and it refers to a number of events that are beyond the direct control of the homeowner. Such events include arson, malicious damage, fire and extreme weather events.

However, householders should carefully inspect their insurance documentation, as coverage can differ between providers. All-risk policies will also cover all eventualities that could not be prevented by regular maintenance, such as accidental damage or heavy snowfall.

The Consequences of Not Having Sufficient Cover: cover your ass and the roof over your head!

Thousands of UK householders have fallen foul of the small print that is relatively common in standard home insurance policies, and the Financial Ombudsman receives thousands of complaints every year regarding buildings insurance. Most people with buildings insurance would probably assume that their roof is covered for storm damage, and while this is usually the case, some insurance companies have very different definitions of what constitutes a storm.

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It is generally assumed that a storm is a combination of high winds and a form of precipitation. However, some insurance companies will not consider periods of extreme hot or cold weather as an insured peril. Extremes in temperature can be as destructive as high winds over time, so consumers should seek clarification from their insurer for peace of mind.

However, the biggest bone of contention lies with the use of the Beaufort Scale, whereby storms are rated between 0 and 12. Insurance companies may differ on their view of which Beaufort rating is actually capable of damaging a roof. Again, this matter should be clarified by the insurer. After the infamous 1987 hurricane in southern England, many homeowners were horrified to discover that their claims were rejected because hurricanes were deemed not to be a weather event associated with the British Isles.

Of course, most claims were finally settled, but the episode served as striking evidence of how insurance companies can apply a level of subjective reasoning to the coverage of roofs.

How You Can Be Certain Your Roof is Covered For All Eventualities

All-risk insurance policies for roofs can be slightly misleading. Whilst they cover all eventualities beyond the control of householders, they will not cover roofs that have been deemed as being in generally poor states of repair. That means homeowners must constantly monitor and maintain their own roof, as a claim will be refused if maintenance could have prevented the problem. However, a specialist roof contractor will often be able to provide a complete service of preventative maintenance and repair for a fixed monthly fee.

The average roof of a property has a lifespan of around 60 years, so householders should be prepared for the worst-case scenario. The ambiguity of some insurance policies confuses many homeowners, so making sure a roof is covered for every conceivable outcome will prevent any problems in the future becoming too expensive to deal with.

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