How roofs affect home insurance

As a homeowner you may not give much thought to the roof on your property, unless it needs repair or maintenance: it was there when you moved into your home and will still be there when you leave it. But did you know that the type of roof you have may have an impact on your home insurance?

It’s worth understanding why a different type of roof could affect your home insurance. If your home has a standard roof, it’s likely to be cheaper to repair than a non-standard one, which might require more specialist materials.

The different types of roofs

There are many different types of roof, but if you live in a conventional house the chances are that your roof type is standard; the roof material is likely to be slate or tile. Have a look around at neighbouring properties and you’ll probably be easily able to tell whether yours is standard or not. If it looks unusual, yours may have a different type of roof. If you’re about to buy a property the survey should confirm the roof type.

Non-standard roof materials include glass and metal. If you’re considering a home renovation project, it’s worth being aware of this. Glass roofs might be an architectural trend in many contemporary new build projects, but they could increase the price of your buildings insurance.

If your property has a thatched roof – many older cottages and houses in the UK will – then some insurers may also consider this to be a non-standard roof material.

Flat roofs

If your property has a flat roof, you should declare this to your home insurance provider. Obviously, it’s easy to identify whether your house has a flat roof, though if a roof has a slight slope of ten degrees or less it’s still defined as flat.

Are flat roofs covered by insurance? Yes, but some insurance providers may not, you can check with your provider. You need to tell your insurer about it when you get your quote, as it might possibly require specialist cover. Why? The reason is that a roof that is flat has a higher risk of leaks as water can pool in areas, unlike a sloped roof, which enables water to run down and away via guttering. An accumulation of water can cause sagging and damp; flat roofs therefore may require repairs or regular maintenance.

Flat roofs are also sometimes seen as more accessible for burglars; easier to walk on and perhaps then gain entry to the property. If this increases the risk of theft it can affect home insurance.

Thatched roofs

You won’t see many new homes in the UK with thatched roofs but there are plenty of older properties that have them. While thatched roofs look lovely, especially atop a classic English country cottage, they can be expensive or tricky to insure.

Thatched roofs are considered non-standard. They pose a greater risk of fire because of the type of material used. Thatched roofs need regular maintenance too – the ridge at the top of the roof generally needs replacing approximately every ten to 15 years.

Some insurers won’t insure a property with a thatched roof, so you may need specialist cover and to be prepared for less choice of provider and a higher premium.

Talk to your insurance provider

If you do have a non-standard roof, the most important thing you should do is discuss it with your insurance provider before you pay for your insurance: make sure you disclose as much relevant information as possible, as you don’t want to be in a situation where your insurer won’t pay out because you gave them incomplete information. Your insurance provider will be able to advise of any special requirements and how your policy might be affected.


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