A roof leak occurs when an insured’s roof fails and in some way causes damage to the interior of the home. The coverage provided for this type of damage under most insurance policies is for any ensuing damage , but does not cover any costs to repair or replace the roof.
When the leak suddenly appears, the insurance carrier is responsible for all the damage that results from the leak.
This may include ceiling repair, painting, replacing floors, and/or cabinets. If there is any damage to contents, like furniture or pictures, these items should be covered by the policy as well.
Hazards of a Leaking Roof
Too many people underestimate the damage that one small leak can cause. Sure, it seems harmless now and a bucket is so easy to place underneath it – that solves the problem, right? Thinking like this can end you up in a lot of trouble down the road since many simple leaks develop into much larger problems. Leaks can not only harm the outside of your house (which is supposed to protect you from weather) but it can also damage the interior of your home as well.
1. Water Can Be a Fire Hazard
As ironic as it may sound, water can be a pretty big fire hazard in homes. This is because of all the electrical wiring present in a home. Once water starts to leak into the framework of a house, it can easily touch wires located in an attic or ceilings. To be safe, you should always turn off any electricity in the area affected by the leak. This will prevent most fires from occurring and will help to avoid power shortages as well. Always have an electrician examine the area where the leak is first to make sure that there is no imminent danger that a roofing contractor may not be able to identify. Leaks are a health problem for both your home and yourself. This is because water damage can easily slip into the woodwork, creating the perfect haven for mildew and mold.
2. Leaks Aren’t Healthy
Leaks are a health problem for both your home and yourself. This is because water damage can easily slip into the woodwork, creating the perfect haven for mildew and mold. Breathing in mold is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. If you see dark spots or some sort of darkened stain anywhere on a ceiling, there is a high chance that the area is affected by water damage and has begun to rot. Framework can become moldy as well, weakening it and making it unsafe.
3. Slipping and Falling
Too many times this safety issue has been called overrated. Many people slip and fall from water damage due to underestimating it or simply not knowing about it. Senior citizens and children are especially susceptible to slipping on water which can cause many problems depending on the severity of the fall. Although it may be time-consuming, you should constantly mop up the area that is leaking (if it reaches the floor) to avoid any dangerous falls in your household.
4. Housing Issues
Like mentioned previously, mold is just one issue that can weaken the framework of a household. Leaks that are left alone and untended to for long periods of time can easily work to destroy many different parts of the house such as the ceiling or other structural parts. Although severe and not as likely, a collapse ceiling is possible and if the leak goes unfixed for a long period of time and you begin to see real damage – you should get it fixed as fast as possible. Ceilings will not give much warning signs of collapse besides perhaps the dark spots we mentioned. You probably won’t see much actual deformity and although it may be a slow process, once the damage has been done it won’t be a matter of time until it completely gives out.
5. Mold and Mildew
One of the more serious consequences of a leaking roof is mold and mildew growth. Mold can spread throughout the home’s structure, to HVAC system and then to the rest of the house through the vents, where it can invade carpets, furniture, and even clothing. Black mold is the most common type resulting from chronic water intrusion. Toxic black mold growth is rare, but even non-toxic black mold attacks wood framing, ceiling tiles, and wall and floor coverings. Mold is difficult to get rid of, and it can cost a lot of money. Always take the proper precautions when dealing with roofing leaks seeing as they can cause everything from actual health issues to the possibility of a collapsed roof. Never underestimate a leak and don’t procrastinate in getting it fixed.
How to Check for Roof Leaks
Checking for roof leaks can be a little tricky. They are typically not found directly above the damaged ceiling area. Roof leaks tend to start higher on a roof and show their symptoms further down the roofline. So for example, when you see a roof leak on your ceiling near the interior edge of your exterior walls, the actual roof leak is likely higher up the roofline.
In the case in which the roof leak signs are exhibited near the interior edge of your exterior walls, chances are the leak is associated with cold weather conditions, more specifically, ice dams. Ice dams back up water behind shingles, where the water finds a path through the roof sheathing and then gets to the drywall ceiling. To find the path, the water works its way down the roof sheathing until it finds a loose nail or a seam.
Roof Leak Prevention
To prevent ice dams, plan on either shoveling off the snow along the edges of the roof after every major snowstorm or adding heating coils along the edge of the roof. You may want to consider having the roof re-shingled so you can install an ice and water shield near the roof eves. Also, make sure your attic is properly ventilated and insulated.
If signs of a roof leak are exhibited more toward the center of the room, then there is the possibility that it is associated with a damaged ridge vent. In many cases, wind can work ridge venting loose and pop roofing nails loose. Check the ridge vent to make sure that it is fastened down properly and that the roofing nails are covered with a roofing sealer.
Also, note that water that penetrates into the attic and onto the ceiling can meander its way along strapping. Strapping is commonly used to fasten drywall perpendicular to ceiling joists. If you see a long wet line on your drywall ceiling, it is probably because water has run along a length of strapping.
Another possibility if signs of a roof leak are exhibited more toward the center of the room is you have damaged shingles. Inspect the roof for shingles that are curling, cupping and/or cracked. Shingles that exhibit those types of appearances could very well be the source of your roof leak and should be replaced immediately
If your roof has valleys, make sure the shingles are not damaged in these areas. If copper or tin is used for forming the roof valleys, make sure that it is not damaged in any way and that there are no loose or exposed nails. The wrong types of nails used for installing copper flashing can also cause corrosion, which can lead to roof leaks.
Check roof flashing around and near vent stacks, chimneys and roof/wall lines. Make sure the flashing is not damaged or blocked in any way with leaf debris or snow and ice, which can cause water to back up and work its way underneath the flashing. If the flashing looks damaged, have it replaced immediately.
Free Consultation with an Experienced Certified Public Claims Adjuster
If your home or business has been damaged due to a roof leak, then an experienced Certified Public Claims Adjuster can help you get the compensation you deserve from your insurance company. Don’t just trust the insurance companies to give you a fair estimate- let an unbiased 3rd party who specializes in claim adjustments do a thorough evaluation. Reliable Claims Adjusting offers all new clients a Free Consultation. Call us now at (800) 580-5650 to speak with one of our experienced Certified Claims Adjusters!