Gutters and Insurance

The roof, gutters, siding, and windows are designed to protect any home from the elements. But what happens when your home’s exterior gets thumped by a winter storm? Are broken gutters or dented siding covered by an insurance policy?

Insurance Policies

Exterior finishing elements such as gutters, siding, and the roof are covered by most types of home insurance. Although they might share similarities, insurance policies do vary from one insurance company to another. Insurance companies generally offer different levels of coverage including:

  • standard – provides named perils (a list naming what is allowed) coverage for both the dwelling and its contents
  • broad – provides all risks (everything that can cause loss or damage, excluding exemptions) coverage for the dwelling only
  • comprehensive – provides all risks coverage for both the dwelling and contents (excluding exemptions)

Product Warranties

When the gutters have been damaged and you need to make a claim to have them replaced, check first to see if there are any valid product warranties that will cover the costs of repair or replacement. You should also ensure that the warranty for the gutter system includes materials and labour – if it doesn’t cover both, it’s probably better to go through your insurance company, even though you’ll have to pay the deductible.

Claims Involving Gutters

Because policies differ from one company’s home insurance policy to another’s, especially where gutters are concerned, ask whether water damage is included and if there are types of water damage that are not. For example, an insurance company might pay for the damage caused by the overflow from a burst pipe but refuse to pay out a claim when the damage resulted from a backed-up sewer.

Pay particular attention to the wording of your homeowners’ insurance policy. Many home insurance policies specify water damage from continuous seepage, splashing, dripping, or overflowing is not covered, which is how damage occurs when gutters are blocked. Insurance policies might also include a “regularly maintained” clause, meaning an insurance company could refuse to pay on the grounds that the gutter system wasn’t regularly cleaned.