Flat Roof Insurance.2018-12-10T16:12:41+00:00

Flat Roof Insurance for High Value Homes

Flat Roof insurance for high-value homes is a specialist area as most properties are built with a pitched slate or tile roof.  These pitched roof properties are classed as ‘standard construction’ and can be insured with most household insurance companies.  However, some properties are built with a proportionate, or even complete, flat roof.  Flat roof properties are non-standard and in that respect require a more bespoke approach when considering high value home insurance.

London has a high proportion of Flat Roof (or partially Flat Roof properties) and these can be a little tricky to insure.  London’s population currently stands at around 8.5 million and is set to increase to 9.2 million by 2021. (www.london.gov.uk) You can see then that many people could experience difficulty when seeking quality insurance.

Flat Roof Insurance in London

Due to the density of both the population and the housing, renovation and repair costs are considerably higher in the capital than elsewhere in the UK.  Demand for property combined with limited supply, particularly in sort after areas, has lead to house inflation of 485% since 1995 in SW1 postcode alone. (www.home.co.uk.) Similar increases can be found across the board and with house prices at an all-time high, it has never been more important to ensure that your house insurance is adequate in the event of a claim.

At McLeod Insurance, we have a panel of Insurers we work with that specialise in insuring Flat Roof properties.  As these insurers understand the pitfalls of Flat Roofs, they can often help manage risk and mitigate any damage caused by Flat Roofs.  This can help with keeping insurance premiums to a minimum.  It also helps reduce the risk of a claim that will likely cause huge inconvenience and damage.

Why do Insurers not like Flat Roof Properties?

Flat roofs have a tendency to leak when either not laid correctly or have been neglected over a period of time.  With leaks causing ingress of water claims, it is no surprise that Insurers are very careful about insuring them.  The source of the damage caused by water coming in through a flat roof is notoriously difficult to trace and often the entire roof will require replacing to ensure a leak is fixed.

Insurers pay out more money for water damage claims than any other insurable peril.  It is, therefore, no surprise that they are keen to mitigate any potential loss as much as possible.

How can I tell if my Roof is Flat?

You could refer to the original survey carried out at the time of purchase to see if any of your roofs are flat.  In addition, the survey should also advise the approximate percentage, which any prospective Insurer is likely to ask.

How can I look after my Flat Roof?

Many Insurers, that will insure Flat Roof properties, will endorse your policy to ensure the roof is inspected periodically.  This is often between every 5-10 years and will require you to keep a copy of the survey/inspection in case of a related claim arising.  It is prudent to carry out this inspection on a reasonably regular basis as early diagnosis can save you in the long run.  This saving is not only financially but also in time and inconvenience.  Assuming you are correctly insured, your insurance will cover the costs but your wasted time and the inconvenience of builders in your home cannot be replaced!

What can a Flat roof be constructed of?

  • Asphalt.  Asphalt is one of the oldest types of flat roof material and has been used for many years.  Felt is bonded with asphalt and then held down with nails or asphalt cement.
  • Reinforced Bitumen Membranes (RBM).  Again this is likely to be felt that has been bonded together with Bitumen.  When this membrane is laid out it then requires a protective layer on top, usually gravel or shingle.
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EDPM).  This is a relative newcomer to the residential flat roof market. It can be very cost effective, compared to other forms of flat roof material.  One of the benefits of this type of material is that it can often be laid in one whole, covering the entire roof area.  This eliminates the need for seams that, in turn, reduces the risk of water leakage.  If a leak does ever develop then repair of EDPM is quick and cost-effective.  Such is the effectiveness of EDPM that manufacturers/installers are prepared to give up to a 30 years guarantee.  Quite often the lifespan of EDPM is more like 50 years.  A job that many of us will only need to worry about once!

 

Do Flat Roofs leak more?

Historically, flat roofs have been more likely to leak than pitched roofs.  This is due to sloped roofs allowing rain to run off them more naturally.  Drainage is usually more problematic on a Flat Roof as any standing water can lead to the breakdown of roofing material.  Often this breakdown is found along the seams.  Clearly then a sloped roof is less likely to leak as the flow of water avoids the problem of standing water.

Is Insurance more expensive with a flat roof?

Difficult to answer this one as every case is individual and therefore premiums are worked out on a case-by-case basis.  However what can be said with some clarity is that Flat Roof Insurance in London is a specialist area and will require an experienced broker to navigate the pitfalls.

Flat roofs are more susceptible to potential leaks.  A Flat Roof standard policies offered by the larger, non-specialist broker are undoubtedly charged at a higher premium to that of a pitched roof policy.  Sometimes they will decline to insure at all as it is seen as outside of their target market and therefore too high a risk.  The large-scale brokers target the mass market and are looking to use one size fits all policy wording to insure London’s 8.6 million residents.  Here at McLeod Insurance, we are looking to offer a more tailored approach.  We find that with a little extra work we can not only provide excellent cover but often at no extra premium.

Give us a call today if you would like to discuss any of the topics discussed here, we are always happy to assist.

Richard McLeod

Richard McLeod
Director at McLeod Risk Services LLP
Richard McLeod LinkedIn profile

Top tip

Keep photographs of every room of your house away from your property, or on a cloud. In the unfortunate event of a total loss, this could significantly expedite your settlement.