Homeowners insurance is a very common type of insurance that most homeowners must get in order to buy homes at all. It can cover a wide number of events, known as covered perils. These perils are typically sudden events that cause damage to the structure of the home, including the roof and ceiling. Ceiling leaks may fall into covered perils or they may not. As a result, homeowners should study their own policies and keep in mind a few basic rules to see if they should make a claim or not.
Homeowners insurance policies make it a point to not cover damage that is a result of negligence. This immediately makes it difficult for many homeowners to claim insurance on ceiling leaks, because these leaks can usually be prevented by careful roof maintenance and attention. This enters a gray area where homeowners may think that the leak is the result of a sudden activity but an insurer believes that it is the result of long-term damage that should have been take care of. In this case, the insurer usually wins.
Storm damages are roof and window problems that resulted from the sudden event of a storm, and are often specifically covered by homeowners insurance. If a storm has directly caused a ceiling leak, then homeowners have a strong case. This means that wind or hail must be strong enough to damage the roof and create leaks that extend all the way down to the ceiling. In some cases, if a tree is blown down by the storm and damages the roof, this can also count as a viable claim.
In some cases, ceiling leaks are caused by pipe leaks from upper story plumbing. This is also a tricky issue. If the pipes are leaking because of maintenance issues that could have been repaired earlier on, then the insurance will not cover it. However, if the pipes burst because of a sudden freeze or other event, then the insurance policy will typically cover associated damage like ceiling leaks.
Policies also have specific variables that can affect ceiling leak coverage. Insurers may have limits on the age of the roof, the materials used in the roof and ceiling, and how the leak is dealt with. Insurers may not cover damage that could have been prevented if the homeowner took steps to minimize the effects of a leak before making the claim.