Flat Roof Home Insurance
Of all the features of a building that insurers deem to be of non-standard construction, by far the most ubiquitous is the flat roof, commonly seen on home building extensions the length and breadth of the country. Flat roofs form typically up to 25% of a roof area although some can be a lot higher, they are normally horizontal with a low pitch to help with drainage, a roof that is entirely flat may have a problem with water pooling which can lead to damage.
Flat Roofs have been in existence for hundreds of years all over the world including our own but it wasn’t until the 1950s with the introduction of the mineral felt covering that their usage became more prevalent.
Types of Flat Roof
Flats roofs are traditionally covered with either: Felt, Asphalt, Concrete, Fibreglass or Metal. In recent years, mainly in an attempt to improve their lifespan, materials which employ the use of plastics and rubber have been introduced. It is now also possible to buy various chemical treatments to help ensure water tightness.
Why is flat roof home insurance harder to obtain?
In simple terms, they have a tendency to leak, especially ones that have not being either correctly laid or maintained.
The majority of flat roofs in the United Kingdom are made of felt laid down on timber battens. This is a simple method of roofing, initially decking is laid down on the battens with the addition of a top layer of felt. If your roofing contractor knows his stuff, then three layers of felt should be added. The felt employed is pre-made and laid in strips, this type of covering is often confused with asphalt, which is laid on hot “hot roofing” and then covered with stones or chippings as an extra layer of protection. Flat felt roof covering will have a maximum life of between 10-15 years, possibly longer if it is coated with modern sealants.
A good deal of flat roofs are older than this and also unmaintained, building insurance companies know that these often have a propensity to leak causing damage to both buildings and contents. As well as problems with water ingress, a good deal of damage is caused by wind, getting in under the felt and causing it to lift. Cracking can be caused by exposure to the sun especially on roofs that face south although this damage can be minimised by a good covering of shingle.
For these reasons when buying building insurance, you will probably encounter a question asking;
- How much percentage of your roof is flat
- How old is the roof?
- When was the last time it was maintained?
At Highhouse insurance we are happy to offer insurance for buildings with flat roofs of varying sizes and we simply apply the following to our policy;
Flat and Felt Roof Clause
In respect of Section 1 – Buildings, (insured event 3) ‘Storm, flood or weight of snow’ – under ‘what is not covered’:
• the first £250 of every claim for loss or damage to flat & felt roofed areas of the buildings.
• flat and felt roofs which have not been recovered within the last 12 years.
• loss or damage arising as a result of water leaking through your flat & felt roof, unless the loss or damage is caused by an insured event
This is our normal clause, but clauses dealing with flat roofs can vary from insurer to insurer, some will require you to carry out regular maintenance checks and to have such checks recorded and any required remedial work carried out. Wherever you obtain your building insurance, always make sure you fully understand any terms or conditions, especially those relating to maintenance and upkeep. Regardless of insurance requirements, we recommend that you should have any flat roof area of your property checked by a builder or roofer at least every two years to ensure that they remain watertight. Any damage should be repaired and a builder will also make sure that the roof is still draining properly. Depending on your own ability, there are certain maintenance tasks you can carry out yourself. If the roof is quite low in height, say over a ground floor extension, once a year you can check that all guttering is free of leaves and detritus.
When proposing for building insurance, it’s important to have an accurate knowledge of the size of your flat roof, don’t guess at it, you will probably find a description within any survey documents that have been prepared for your property. Insurers treat flat roofs differently depending on their size and sometimes an alteration of a few percent can make the difference between a risk being acceptable or not. At Highhouse insurance we have extensive experience of dealing with insurance for flat roofs of all descriptions, we issue our own insurance polices “in house” noting lenders interests if required and we can have you on cover, with the documents over to you, lender or solicitor, in most cases on the same day.
If you require home insurance or advice for properties with flat roofs then give Highouse Insurance Services a call or simply fill in our quick contact form and we will call back- We look forward to receiving your enquiry.