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Last updated: 3 November 2020
If your house has a flat roof it can be harder to find an affordable home insurance policy.
Regular home insurance may not cover your property if it has a flat roof. That’s because there’s a higher risk of weather damage, leaks and theft.
So, when it comes to home insurance, flat roof properties can be tricky. A specialist flat roof insurance policy could be what you need.
Most insurers consider a home to have a flat roof if the roof slopes less than 10 degrees. So, if that’s the case for your property, you may need specialist flat roof home insurance.
When you get a quote for your flat roof home insurance, you’ll need to know how much of your home's roof is flat. Many insurers will ask you to choose between:
None of it
Up to 25% of it
25% to 50% of it
More than 50% of it.
Some regular insurers won’t offer you cover if more than 25% of the roof is flat. You might need a specialist flat roof insurance policy.
The lower the percentage of your roof that’s flat, the cheaper your policy will be. But be careful, because your policy may not pay out if you give the wrong information to the insurer. Work it out as accurately as you can.
When you get home insurance, flat roof percentages can be tricky to work out. There are a few ways to go about it, to help you make sure you get the right amount of flat roof insurance for your home.
Here are some of the ways you can work out how much of your roof is flat.
Check your homebuyer's survey: This should give the measurements of your roof so you can work out how much is flat.
Look at Google Earth: This could show you an aerial view of your property so you can see how much of your roof is flat. Although this won’t give you an accurate percentage, you should be able to work out which of the percentage categories it falls into.
Ask a builder, roofer or surveyor: You might have to pay, but they should be able to give you an accurate measurement of how much of your roof is flat. Paying a small price for an accurate measurement might be better than getting it wrong and your insurer refusing to pay out
A flat roof can be particularly problematic in the UK, as our climate means there’s lots of rain, ice and snow for your roof to contend with.
If water can’t run straight off a roof, which it does off a sloped one, it can pool on the flat surface. This makes it more prone to leaks and damp.
Flat roofs need more maintenance than sloped roofs. If you don’t stay on top of this, it can lead to more problems, so this is a concern for insurers. They also have a shorter lifespan generally.
The other thing that insurers bear in mind that flat roofs tend to be attractive to burglars. That’s because thieves can climb onto them and use them to get to upstairs windows in your home.
So when it comes to house insurance, flat roof properties are more risky to insure.
Once you’ve found policies that include flat roof insurance, there are a couple more things to think about.
Consider how much buildings insurance you need to cover the structure of your property. This includes walls, fixtures, fittings and outbuildings.
You should also think about how much contents cover you need to protect the personal items in your home. This includes electronics, furniture and valuables.
You’ll need to find a policy that offers enough protection to replace all your contents and covers the rebuild value of your home. Find out how to work out how much cover you need here.
When you take out flat roof insurance, a specialist insurer will want to know about:
What percentage of your roof is flat
Any recent repairs
The date of its last inspection
What materials your roof is made from (modern materials are more hardwearing)
The approximate year your home was built
Any relevant history about your property (claims, flooding, subsidence, structural movement or underpinning)
How much your property would cost to rebuild
The value of your home’s contents
What security you have in place in your home
They may also want to inspect your roof regularly.
Generally, the kind of things that will keep the price of your flat roof home insurance down are:
Whether it’s fully waterproofed with drainpipes and guttering (to make sure water drainage is efficient)
Whether your roof has a thermal layer of insulating material above the decking (like fibreglass or polystyrene)
Whether it’s constructed to resist sun damage and high winds.
If you’ve got a flat roof, it’s incredibly important to maintain it.
You can carry out your own checks to look out for any repairs that might need doing. It’s particularly important to do this after a period of wet weather. If you plan to go onto the roof to check, then you’ll need to ensure you have all the right safety equipment and measures in place. Otherwise you can do whatever you can from ground level.
You can look for:
Leaks in the attic (check for water rings)
Sagging in the attic
Dark patches in the attic (which could indicate rot)
Sunlight shining through the attic
Blockages in the air vents (such as leaves)
Damaged, loose or missing roof tiles
Damaged flashing (the flashing is what holds objects in place, such as your satellite, skylights or chimney)
If you think any repairs need carrying out due to wear and tear, it’s best to speak to a roofer about these.
It’s a good idea to have a flat roof expert come and carry out an inspection every few years, too. You can ask for documentation so you can prove to your insurer that you’ve done this.
There is a higher risk of damage, for example the lack of drainage can lead to leaks. They can also offer burglars easy access to your home.
Yes, because there is more chance of your property suffering damage or theft, so insurers charge more to cover the cost of these claims.
Yes, most insurers insist your roof is inspected by a certified roofer every few years. You may also need to relay your roof every 10 years.
You can pay for a chartered surveyor for an accurate value, or use the free Association of British Insurers (ABI) rebuild calculator for an estimate.