Insuring Your Investment: What To Consider When Buying A Home With A Flat Roof

Insuring Your Investment: What To Consider When Buying A Home With A Flat Roof

Whether you’re looking for a new home, or you’ve found your dream property, if it has a flat roof, you may want to think carefully about the implications of this unique construction style. That’s because, attractive as they may be, flat roofs are often more susceptible to the elements. As such, they need regular maintenance and may even require specialist insurance. 

To help you relax and enjoy the roof over your head, here are a few things to look out for when buying a home with a flat roof. 

Common Flat Roof Challenges

Despite being relatively simple to construct, flat roofs are inherently prone to damage. Unlike a pitched roof where rain naturally drains off, water can easily accumulate on a flat roof. This increases the risk of leaks, accelerates deterioration, and ultimately causes structural damage over time. 

When faced with choices about whether to repair, reinforce, or replace roof materials, it’s useful to know some of the most common flat roof concerns. 

Pooling Water

In areas with high precipitation such as Ireland, inadequate drainage can lead to water pooling on the roof. Most roofing materials are designed to withstand the elements, but if pooling is allowed to linger, it can deteriorate the exterior surface leading to leaks and structural damage. 

Membrane Damage

Most flat roofs feature a waterproof, asphalt coated membrane. Any damage to that membrane such as tears, punctures, or deterioration caused by weathering, can reduce its efficacy. 

Flashing Issues

Excessive heat can also cause problems, with fluctuating temperatures causing the asphalt membrane to expand and contract. If these changes cause the flashing around roof apertures such as vents, skylights, or chimneys to pull away, this can result in moisture ingress. 

Assessing the Condition of your Flat Roof

Regular inspection and maintenance is the best way to keep your flat roof in tip top condition. This will include frequent visual inspections checking for signs of damage, sagging or buckling. Problems with the insulation or the substrate itself could be cause for concern and you’ll also want to inspect the membrane for corrosion and cracking. 

Checking inside the property is just as important as water stains within the building can indicate the need for repairs. Beyond visual indicators, a specialist surveyor may also use sophisticated moisture sensors or thermal imaging technology to spot hidden leaks or damp areas that require urgent attention. 

Insuring Your Flat Roofed Property

Due to the issues outlined above, as well as the fact that a flat roof can provide easier access for thieves, a building with a flat roof is often considered a higher risk when it comes to insurance.

As a result, your insurer may be concerned about the condition, materials, and age of your flat roof, as well as the percentage of your home that features a flat roof construction. For example, if your home has an area of 20% or less flat roofing, your regular insurance policy may be sufficient. More than 30% flat roofing and you will probably need a non-standard insurance policy. 

In any case, homeowners would be wise to check for any roofing insurance exclusions such as if: 

– the flat roof is excluded from the property insurance plan 

– the roof is covered in the plan but the cause of damage is not covered 

– the roof exclusion is a voluntary endorsement on your plan 

OBF Insurance Group provide home insurance where properties have up to 100% flat roof or where the roof is deemed to be of non-standard construction. Where the roof has not been replaced in the past 15 years the policy will exclude loss of or damage caused by storm or water leaking through your roof. As a homeowner this means you can relax safe in the knowledge that you will have financial protection against loss or damage subject to the terms, exceptions and conditions of your policy.  

Like all property insurance contracts general wear, tear and depreciation or issues caused by a lack of adequate maintenance are not covered so it is important that you get your roof checked by a professional on a regular basis. 

Our Dedicated Insurance Team are here to Listen and Advise

The OBF Insurance team are here to help you make an informed decision about insuring your flat roofed property. If you’re looking for tailored protection and advice on protecting your flat roof for years to come, our team of experts are here to help you ensure the right protection with appropriate insurance 

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