DOES HOME WARRANTY COVER ROOF LEAKS?
If you’re ever in the unfortunate situation of having your roof leak, home warranty insurance can be your saving grace. Home warranty insurance can be a complicated process of forms and clauses.
To take advantage of this lifeline, you need to know how these packages work so you can take full advantage of their benefits. Knowing about these products can literally save you stress, time, and money in the future.
Let’s break down what home warranty insurance is, whether or not it applies to roof leaks, and everything else you need to know to save you from spending outrageous, accident and repair costs out of your pocket.
What is the Purpose of Home Warranty Insurance?
Home Warranty Insurance, or Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF) as it is now referred to in NSW, is a compulsory certification undertaken for residential and domestic projects in Sydney. Homeowners nationwide are protected by mandatory Home Warranty Insurance for domestic and residential constructions.
However, the conditions surrounding Home Warranty Insurance in various states will vary. Licensed building contractors and tradesmen are required to purchase builders home warranty insurance prior to commencement of their work.
As a homeowner, you are covered for both non-completion of work and failure to correct faults made within the nominated warranty period. All of this means that depending on the damage to your home, your insurance company will intervene to pay for all or some of the repair or replacement bills.
That is the worrying question though, “Does home warranty cover my problem?”.
Specifically, “Does home warranty cover roof leaks?”.
We need to talk about how homeowners warranty insurance works before we can worry about applying it.
How Does Home Warranty Insurance Work?
Licensed builders or tradespersons in NSW need to get home building compensation (HBC) cover for each home building project over $20,000. The cover will work to protect homeowners as a last resort if the tradesmen cannot complete building work or fix defects.
Builders are required to give proof of the warranty before they are able to start working, take deposits, or be paid for the construction work. For builders, failing to take out HBC cover for such work is an offence under NSW law.
In the event that the warranty applies, the HBC will be responsible for paying some or all of the repair or replacement costs for your home.
We now know what and how homeowners warranty insurance works, let’s talk about the most important part: When do you pay out of pocket vs. When your insurance policy foots the bill.
What is Covered Under Home Warranty?
Home warranty insurance covers the homeowner (and subsequent owners) where the contracted building work is incomplete or defective. This includes when the builder has either passed away, disappeared, become insolvent, bankrupt during construction or has failed to respond to a rectification order within 30 days of issue.
The keywords here are ‘incomplete’ or ‘defective’.
In addition, home warranty insurance generally covers damage by way of accidents–natural or criminal events. Whether your homeowner’s warranty insurance covers roof leaks depends on the circumstances of the leak.
Roofing & Guttering Work?
Roof Contractor Damage, Neglect, Incomplete Work
In the case of roof contractor work, roof leaks are covered by your home warranty policy if the tradesman or builder is solely responsible for the leak.
In essence, roof leaks will need to be fixed if they are the result of a major defect, an incomplete job, or a specific non-structural defect covered by the insurance policy. If the roof leak is not fixed or addressed within a certain period of time, the homeowner will be covered by the home warranty policy.
The period of home warranty cover for major defects is six years after the completion of works, and two years cover for non-major defects.
If your roof leak is purely the result of storm damage or after trade damage (damage from a tradesman hired after the completion of the original build), then the roof leak will not be covered by the initial home warranty contract.
For roof leaks to be covered by home warranty Insurance, the leak will need to be a direct result of the tradesman or builder’s work or lack of work stated by the contract.
Natural Accidents and Criminal Events
Home warranty insurance will cover roof leaks if they are caused by falling trees or branches, other falling objects, windstorms, hail, extreme weather conditions, vandalism or accidents.
If a roof leak is directly caused by one of these perils, home insurance will usually cover the costs of repairing the damage. Basically, your insurance will cover roof leaks if the cause was unavoidable.
Most home insurance policies will not cover roof leaks if the leak is directly caused by lack of maintenance, roof neglect, mould algae or wood rotting, roof deterioration, or from birds, rodents and insect infestations. These are generally considered avoidable causes and are reasons to be exempted from the insurance policy
ROOF LEAK REPAIRS
If your home is suffering from roof leaks, it’s important to address the source of the leak as soon as possible to avoid causing even more damage; damage that your home warranty insurance might not be responsible for.
Remember: Home Warranty Insurance, or Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF), does not cover damage assumed by negligence.
When in doubt, ask a professional. If you want an estimated cost of the total insurance premium payable for your residential building project you can check out icares HBCF calculator here.
We are the best providers of roofing and gutter cleaning services throughout New South Wales so please don’t hesitate to call our trusted team of roof and gutter experts. We’re here to help.