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What you Need to Know about Leaking Skylight Insurance?
Skylights are amazing natural light fixtures that you can use to ventilate and improve lighting in your home.
You can use a skylight to enhance your living space by letting in beautiful views of the sky and lighting up dark areas of your home.
Getting a reputable skylights supplier in Sydney is also an excellent way to reduce electricity costs.
Therefore, due to these and other benefits of a skylight, many homeowners have installed them in their homes.
However, while they are beneficial, skylights are prone to damage or disrepair. And one of the worries homeowners have is skylight leaks.
Even though skylights are supposed to last for a minimum of 10 years, they can leak.
Water dripping from a skylight can cause structural damage such as wood rot. It may also lead to mold growth on furniture, upholstery, art, and wall finishings.
Causes of a leaking skylight
Although skylights are installed to last for a long time, they sometimes get damaged.
Your skylight could get a hairline crack during rough weather such as hailstorms. Or high winds in your area could throw debris against it, causing cracks.
If it is located next to obstacles such as trees, debris such as dead branches could cause it to break.
Improper maintenance may also lead to leaks in your skylight. For instance, if you allow dirt and debris to surround your skylight for longer than necessary, it could block the weep holes causing water to leak through it.
That’s why you are advised to regularly clean your skylight and perform bi-annual inspections to prevent such issues.
If your skylight is wrongly installed, it may also cause leakage. Maybe the flashing was improperly done, or the glazing was not adequately sealed. These mistakes will leave spaces for water to leak through.
All these scenarios show you how easy it is for a skylight to get damaged. With these scenarios in mind, it’s best to protect yourself against the cost of repairing your skylight in case such accidents happen.
That way, regardless of whether it leaks due to disrepair or roof damage, you will be covered.
How to identify skylight leaks
Skylight leaks range from mild to significant, depending on how early you notice the problem. It is always best to catch the damage early before it gets serious.
The most obvious sign of a skylight leak is water dripping from it or water damage around it.
But sometimes, water damage around and on your skylight may not occur because of leakage from your skylight. It may be caused by other problems camouflaging as leaks.
For instance, condensation may cause water to drip off your skylight, which you may mistake for a leak.
Condensation commonly occurs on single glazed skylights and in damp areas of the home, such as bathrooms. However, it does not mean your skylight is leaking.
Such an issue is easily solved by venting your skylight, using fans, or dehumidifying the room.
Another common problem that we mistake for skylight leaks is damage to the roof.
If the shingles around your skylight are broken or worn out, they could leave space for water to run under your skylight flashing leading to leaks.
You can tell if your skylight is leaking by performing a water test.
Wait for a pleasant day when there is little humidity or likelihood of rain. Ensure your skylight and its surroundings are completely dry. Then pour water over the skylight using a hose starting from the bottom and working your way upwards.
Ask someone in the house to check for leaks on the ceiling as you pour water. If your skylight is leaking, you will notice water drops on the inside.
If you cannot perform a water test, there are other ways to identify a possible skylight leak.
For instance, structural damage around your skylight could point to possible leaks in your skylight.
Therefore, if you notice mold growth in or around your skylight, that may point to water damage which could mean your skylight is leaking.
Does insurance cover skylight leaks?
So, how can you protect yourself in case your skylight leaks? There must be a way to pay for repairs to your skylight without reaching into your pocket. Homeowners insurance is a possible solution.
However, whether you can get compensation for a leaking skylight will depend on the cause of the leak and the insurance company in question.
Insurance companies only cover unavoidable leaks caused by extreme weather conditions such as hail, snow, and falling objects.
Leaks caused by lack of maintenance or negligence are not covered by homeowners insurance. These are preventable issues that your insurance provider will not compensate you for.
Some home insurance providers also cover structural damage resulting from a skylight leak, such as mold growth on the drywall.
What about roof damage?
Roof damage can also cause your skylight to leak. If that is the case, you may need to repair your roof to stop the skylight from leaking. But will insurance cover that?
The original cause of your roof damage determines whether it is covered by your insurance policy. Usually, damages caused by sudden accidents or acts of nature are covered.
Damages resulting from bad weather conditions such a hail storms, lightning, windstorm, and snowstorms are also covered.
Other causes of skylight or roof damage covered by home insurance policies are cracks caused by faulty home appliances such as the HVAC and electrical surges.
However, negligence on your part or damages resulting from systematic wear and tear will not attract compensation. And if your roof has exceeded its lifespan, it is difficult to get compensation too.
Therefore, the insurance provider is unlikely to honor your claim if your leaking skylight is caused by broken shingles due to wear and tear.
The same case applies if you do not maintain your roof in excellent condition, leading to rusts, cracks, or corrosion that cause leakage.
Can you repair damages to your skylight?
Although you can repair skylight leaks using roofing cement or silicone caulking, it is only a temporary solution.
Soon enough, your skylight will leak again. It’s best to hire a roofing or skylight expert to repair it properly and find ways of preventing such a problem from occurring in the future.
Skylight experts are experienced and qualified enough to identify the cause of your leak and give you an idea of the best way to apply for compensation. They will also give you an estimate for repairs.
Usually, it costs between $300 and $500 to fix the seals or flashing in a skylight. And in case of extreme damage, repairing a skylight may cost you between $1000 and $2000.
Pursuing compensation on your own will be an unnecessarily tedious process, especially if you lack the know-how on what is causing the leak and whether you will get compensation for it.
It is also important to find out whether filing a claim makes any financial sense in the first place.
Otherwise, you may get compensation only to find out your policy deductibles make it a worthless venture.
Choosing insurance for your skylight
The type of insurance you use to cover your skylight for leaks will depend on the circumstances of the leak.
Homeowners insurance is a common solution. It usually covers your house and any damage to its contents.
However, whether you can use your home insurance to cover skylight leaks or roof damage will depend on your insurance company. You may find out if it does by checking your policy agreement.
The likely place to check if skylight leaks and roof damages are covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy is the all-perils section. If they are excluded from coverage, you will find them under the list of exclusions.
Usually, homeowners insurance policies cover unavoidable skylight leaks caused by falling branches, trees, and other objects. They also cover damages caused by weather conditions such as hail, windstorms, ice, and snow.
However, home insurance policies do not cover skylight leaks caused by lack of maintenance or negligence.
Therefore, if you do not look after the different parts of your skylight correctly and it leads to disrepair, don’t expect your home insurance provider to compensate you for these damages.
Other exclusions from homeowners insurance policies where skylight damages are concerned include roof deterioration, mold, and wood rot.
If the material in your skylight bulges, expands, or shrinks, causing it to leak, you should not expect compensation either.
Insurance providers consider such leaks preventable and will reject any claims submitted for them.
How do you ensure you get compensation for your skylight?
While getting compensation for a skylight leak may be a lengthy process, there are ways to make things easier for yourself in case it happens to you.
Start by keeping up-to-date records of any repairs you perform on your skylight from the day of installation. It also helps to take pictures of the skylight as you go along as evidence.
You should also keep reports from every inspection performed on your skylight. And in case of any damage, report it to your insurance company promptly.
If your deductibles are too high because you live in a high-risk area susceptible to things like hailstorms, consider purchasing extra coverage in addition to your homeowner’s insurance.
That way, you are assured of compensation in case of damages to your skylight.
But before you purchase skylight insurance, find out all the options available. That way, you will pick the right insurance policy for your skylight.
A skylight installation expert will help you to pick the best policy.