Flat roof home insurance

Homes with flat or low-pitch roofs normally cost more to insure. Find out why they’re considered more of a risk and how you can save on your flat roof home insurance cover.

Homes with flat or low-pitch roofs normally cost more to insure. Find out why they’re considered more of a risk and how you can save on your flat roof home insurance cover.

Chris King
Home insurance expert
8
minute read
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Posted 6 MAY 2022

What is flat roof home insurance? 

Homes with flat roofs are often classed as non-standard constructions when it comes to home insurance. That means if your home has a flat or low-pitch roof, you may need to get specialist cover – known as flat roof home insurance. It covers many of the same costs as standard home insurance, but it’s tailored to the specific risks associated with flat roofs.  

In insurance terms, flat roofs are level or have a low pitch – the pitch being the steepness of your roof. Insurance providers might define a flat roof as having less than a 10-degree slope. They’re usually constructed from a timber frame and covered in a material like concrete, bitumen or felt, fibreglass, rubber or even grass, though some providers may only cover roofs made from the more weather-resistant materials.

What risks are associated with flat roof homes in the UK 

Flat roofs are appealing to some buyers because they have a modern look, but although they’re more common in warmer climes, in the UK you’ll see them more commonly used to roof house extensions. That’s because they’re not as well adapted to our often-inclement British weather, and they tend to have a shorter life span.

Home insurance providers consider flat roofs riskier to insure because they’re less suited to cope with the heavy rainfall, snowfall and adverse stormy weather so often seen in the UK. That’s because water, ice, snow and debris are more likely to remain on a flat roof, rather than slide off like they would with a pitched roof. This means the condition of the roof is likely to deteriorate more quickly and there’s a greater chance of leaks.

Flat roofs may also make your house an easier target for thieves because burglars might be able to use them to gain access to an upstairs window, which means you may have to pay extra for your contents insurance.

How does your roof impact your home insurance? 

Insurance providers have their own guidelines for when you’ll need specialist flat roof insurance, but normally, if 25%-30% or less of your roof is flat, or has a pitch less than 10 degrees, you’ll be able to get standard home insurance cover. So, if you’ve just got a small extension with a flat roof, you might well be fine.

Once you go above that 25% or in some cases 30% threshold, you’ll normally have to look for specialist flat roof cover. In general, the greater the percentage of your roof that’s considered flat, the more you’ll pay for your home insurance – even with specialist cover.

There are a few ways to check what percentage of your roof is flat: 

  • Look at the homebuyer surveys you had done when you bought your home. They should tell you the measurement you need to work out what percentage of the roof is classed as flat.
  •  Ask a builder or surveyor to come round and check it for you. Although you’ll have to pay for this, you’ll know you have an accurate reading.
  • Estimate by looking at your roof on Google Earth. Bear in mind that this method is imprecise, and you’ll need to give your insurance provider an accurate figure or risk invalidating your insurance policy. 

When arranging flat roof cover for your home, insurance providers will also look at what material your roof is made from, how weather-resistant it is and whether your roof has been repaired in the past. This information will help them calculate your insurance premium.

How much is flat roof home insurance? 

The cost of your flat roof home insurance will depend on factors such as: 

  • When the roof was made.
  • The material your roof is made from and how weather-resistant it is.
  • When your roof was last inspected. 

Specialist flat roof insurance providers will also look at many of the same factors that influence the cost of standard home insurance, including: 

What does flat roof home insurance cover? 

As with standard buildings insurance, flat roof home insurance will cover damage to the structure of your home or leaks that are caused by events like storms, but it won’t cover you for any damage that’s caused by general wear and tear or lack of maintenance.

You’ll normally have to prove that your roof was in good condition before being damaged to make a claim. For this reason, flat roof home insurance providers will often require you to get your roof checked by a professional every few years to make sure it’s in good nick.

What are the advantages of flat roof home insurance? 

Flat roof insurance is designed specifically to cover you for the increased risk of having a flat roof. It’s important to make sure you have the right insurance in place in case you need to make a claim. If you mislead your insurance provider about how much of your roof is flat and you need to make a claim, you won’t be covered.

What are the disadvantages of flat roof home insurance? 

The main disadvantage of flat roof home insurance is that it’s more expensive. This type of specialist home insurance is priced higher because of the greater risk of damage and theft, but it’s important to be honest with your insurance provider about your property or your policy may be invalidated.

How can you save on flat roof home insurance? 

There are a few measures you can take to get a cheaper quote on your flat roof home insurance, making it less likely that you’ll need to make a claim and bump up your premiums in the future: 

  • Install a good drainage system of gutters and drainpipes to make sure water drains off the roof quickly.
  • Install leaf guards on your gutter to prevent clogs.
  • Add a layer of insulating material (such as fibreglass or polystyrene) above the decking.
  • Keep up the maintenance on your roof – check for damage after a storm and have a professional come to check the condition of your roof every year or so, even if it’s not required by your insurance.
  • Install a burglar alarm to make your property less of a target for thieves.
  • Install high-security locks on any upstairs windows that potential thieves could access by climbing on the roof. 

Another easy way to save on your home insurance is to see what’s out there and compare quotes. Compare non-standard home insurance.

What other insurance options do I need to consider? 

With non-standard home insurance, such as flat roof home insurance, you may still be able to save money by combing your contents and buildings cover into one policy.

Depending on your home and situation, you could also consider adding extra cover for: 

Where can I compare flat roof home insurance? 

We compare quotes for 64 home insurance provider products** to help you find our best price for your home insurance, whether your house is standard or not-so standard. 51% of customers could save £153 on their home insurance^^ when they compare quotes with us.

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**Correct as of March, 2022.
^^Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during March, 2022. 51% of customers could achieve this saving on their Buildings and Contents insurance through Compare the Market.

Frequently asked questions

How can I maintain my flat roof?

Check your roof regularly and monitor it for any signs of damage or deterioration. If you can do so safely, get up and examine the top of the roof after stormy weather to check that there’s no standing water or debris. 

Look for issues like: 

  • The roof sagging.
  • Water leaking or damp patches.
  • Dark patches that could indicate rot.
  • Blocked drains or gutters.
  • Moss or mould growing on the roof.
  • Damage or holes in the roofing material.

Don’t go up on the roof if it’s not safe to do so or you don’t have the right equipment in place. You can still check for some signs of damage from below.

Get your flat roof checked by a professional every couple of years, even if it’s not required by your insurance provider, to nip any potential problems in the bud. This way, you’ll also have proof that the roof was maintained well to give to your insurance provider if you have to make a claim at a later date.

Do I have to get my flat roof checked by a professional?

Some flat roof home insurance providers will require you to get your roof checked by a professional, either annually or every two to three years. It does depend on your policy though, so make sure you read the terms carefully.

My roof is sloped but not flat. What kind of home insurance do I need?

It depends how sloped your roof is. Most insurance providers consider a roof with a pitch of less than 10 degrees as a flat roof when it comes to insurance. If it’s more sloped than that you should be fine with standard home insurance.

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