Are Gutters Covered by Home Insurance? What You Need to Know

Gutters are an essential part of your home’s drainage system, but they can also be vulnerable to damage from various sources.

If your gutters are damaged, you may wonder if your home insurance policy will cover the cost of repairing or replacing them.

Are Gutters Covered by Home Insurance?
Are Gutters Covered by Home Insurance?

The answer depends on the cause and extent of the damage, as well as the terms and conditions of your policy.

In this article, we will explain when home insurance covers gutters and when it does not, and how you can protect your gutters from common problems.

When Does Home Insurance Cover Gutters?

Home insurance generally covers gutter damage caused by sudden and accidental perils that are listed in your policy. These may include:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief
  • Theft or damage by vehicle
  • Falling objects or damage by aircraft
  • Weight of ice, snow or sleet
  • Explosion or volcanic eruption
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Smoke or power surges
  • Freezing or bursting of pipes
  • Water or steam discharge from appliances

For example, if a hailstorm dents your gutters, or a tree branch falls on them during a windstorm, your home insurance policy should pay for their repair or replacement, up to your coverage limits and minus your deductible.

Your policy may also cover the damage to your roof, siding, windows or other parts of your home that are affected by the same peril.

When Does Home Insurance Not Cover Gutters?

Home insurance does not cover gutter damage that results from gradual wear and tear, negligence, poor maintenance or other preventable causes. These may include:

  • Rust, corrosion or deterioration
  • Mold, mildew or rot
  • Insects, rodents or birds
  • Clogging or overflowing
  • Warping or cracking due to heat or sun exposure
  • Improper installation or attachment

For example, if your gutters are leaking or sagging because you did not clean them regularly, or if they are infested by termites or birds, your home insurance policy will not cover the cost of fixing them.

You will have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket, or replace them entirely if they are beyond repair. Your policy may also deny coverage for any water damage to your home that is caused by your faulty gutters, such as mold, rot or foundation issues.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Gutters Replaced?

The cost of replacing your gutters depends on several factors, such as the size, shape, material, style and condition of your gutters, as well as the labor and installation fees.

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of installing new gutters in the US is about $1,900, ranging from $600 to $3,500.

However, this may vary depending on your location, contractor and preferences. Some of the most common types of gutters and their approximate costs per linear foot are:

  • Vinyl: $3 to $5
  • Aluminum: $6 to $12
  • Steel: $8 to $10
  • Copper: $15 to $25
  • Wood: $16 to $20

You may also need to pay extra for accessories such as downspouts, guards, screens, hangers, brackets, elbows, joints, end caps, splash blocks and sealants.

These can add up to several hundred dollars to your total bill.

How Does an Insurance Claim Work for Damaged Gutters?

If your gutters are damaged by a covered peril, you should file a claim with your home insurance company as soon as possible. Here are the steps you should follow to make a successful claim:

  • Document the damage

Take photos or videos of your damaged gutters and any other affected parts of your home.

Make a list of the items that need to be repaired or replaced, and estimate their value. Keep any receipts or invoices that prove your ownership and cost of the items.

  • Contact your insurer

Call your home insurance company and report the damage. Provide them with the details of the incident, such as the date, time, location and cause of the damage.

Give them your policy number and contact information.

Ask them about the claim process, the coverage limits, the deductible amount and the time frame for the settlement.

  • Cooperate with the adjuster

Your insurer will send an adjuster to inspect the damage and verify your claim.

The adjuster will assess the extent and cost of the damage, and determine whether your policy covers it or not.

The adjuster may also ask you for additional documents or evidence to support your claim. Cooperate with the adjuster and answer their questions honestly and accurately.

  • Review the settlement

After the adjuster completes their investigation, your insurer will offer you a settlement based on their estimate of the damage.

Review the settlement carefully and make sure it covers all the items and costs that you claimed.

If you agree with the settlement, sign the release form and accept the payment.

If you disagree with the settlement, you can negotiate with your insurer or hire a public adjuster or a lawyer to represent you.

Tips for Keeping Your Gutters Clean

One of the best ways to prevent gutter damage and avoid costly repairs or replacements is to keep your gutters clean and well-maintained. Here are some tips for keeping your gutters in good shape:

  • Clean your gutters at least twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall, or more often if you have a lot of trees or debris around your home.

You can use a ladder, a hose, a scoop, a brush and a bucket to remove the leaves, dirt, twigs, pine needles and other debris from your gutters and downspouts.

You can also hire a professional gutter cleaning service to do the job for you.

  • Install gutter guards, screens, filters or covers to prevent debris from entering your gutters and clogging them.

These devices can reduce the frequency and difficulty of cleaning your gutters, but they are not foolproof.

You still need to check and clean your gutters occasionally to make sure they are functioning properly.

  • Inspect your gutters regularly for any signs of damage, such as cracks, holes, leaks, rust, sagging, separation, loose nails or screws, or missing parts.

If you notice any problems, fix them as soon as possible or hire a qualified contractor to do it for you. Minor repairs can save you from major expenses later on.

  • Replace your gutters when they are worn out, damaged beyond repair, or incompatible with your roof or siding.

You may also want to upgrade your gutters to a more durable, efficient or attractive material or style.

Consult a reputable gutter installation company to help you choose and install the best gutters for your home.

Conclusion

Gutters are an important part of your home’s protection against water damage, but they can also be susceptible to damage from various sources.

Home insurance may cover gutter damage caused by sudden and accidental perils, but not by gradual and preventable causes.

Therefore, you should keep your gutters clean and well-maintained, and repair or replace them when necessary.

By doing so, you can extend the life of your gutters, protect your home from water damage, and save money on insurance claims and repairs.

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