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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Ceiling Collapse?

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Homes are susceptible to many different perils. These perils can be frustrating and devastating. Sometimes, these unthinkable situations are minor, like an appliance backup. Other times they can be severe such as a ceiling collapse. When these horrors hit, you may wonder, does your insurance cover ceiling collapse?

Ceiling collapse that is caused by a covered peril, such as water damage, ice dams, heavy snow, or fire damage, is covered by standard home insurance policies. Maintenance to a ceiling is not covered by a homeowners policy as it is considered normal wear and tear.

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Homeowners insurance is a great asset in the case of a ceiling collapse. It will help replace the ceiling and any other damage the collapse may cause after the deductible is met. But which instances are covered and which aren’t? Below we break it down to help you understand the ins and outs.

Key facts
  • Ceiling collapse caused by poor construction or structural issues is covered by homeowners insurance.
  • Water damage that causes ceiling collapse is covered by home insurance.
  • Maintenance to prevent ceiling collapse is not covered by homeowners insurance.

Covered ceiling collapse instances

When purchasing a home, you will want to consider all the potential risks the insurance policy will cover. Ceiling collapse is one of these risks. This is especially true if you own an older home or are in an area that deals with a lot of water incidents. Below are examples of typical causes of a collapsed ceiling that will be covered in most cases:

  • Water damage. If a ceiling collapses due to water damage, your insurance policy will likely cover the repair. As the water gets into the supports, it can rot the wood. This causes a structural issue, which is covered by a standard homeowners policy.
  • Homes built 1960-1980. If you purchase a home that was built during this time period, you will be more likely to face a ceiling collapse. This is due to the drywall used to create the ceilings and the smooth nails used to keep them in place. Ceiling collapse caused by structural issues from this build is covered by most standard plans.
  • Ice Dams. If an ice dam is created by winter weather and builds up over time, it can be very heavy. If it is not removed, it can cause a ceiling to collapse. If an ice dam causes such an event, it will be covered by most standard policies.
  • Snow. If you live in a colder climate, then battling snow is a normal circumstance. Sometimes storms roll in and dump heavy, wet snow onto the roof of homes. The weight of the snow can become a hazard and cause ceiling collapse. If this occurs, it is considered a covered peril.

In either of these cases, your homeowner’s insurance will cover the loss and damage after you meet your deductible. Ceiling repairs due to a collapse can cause anywhere between $2,500 – $5,000 to replace, depending on the size, location, and age of the home.

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Ceiling Collapse Instances Not Covered

Understanding what is covered is the first step, but it is also important to understand what is not covered. The main issue people run into with their homeowner’s insurance is trying to prevent a ceiling from collapsing and filing a claim for its maintenance.

Regular maintenance on a ceiling to prevent such collapse is not covered by most homeowners insurance policies. This type of maintenance is considered normal wear and tear and falls on the homeowner to work through. 

Do not ignore the problem, though. Intentional negligence that leads to a ceiling collapse will also result in unfavorable actions. The insurance company will not cover damage caused by intentional negligence. In this case, the best you can do is try your best to fix the damage to show good faith, so if a ceiling collapse does occur, negligence can be ruled out.

Although home insurance covers the costs to repair collapsed ceilings in most cases, it is best to prevent it from happening.

Preventing Ceiling Collapse

It is best to try to prevent ceiling collapse from occurring, so you do not need to use your insurance to fix this type of major issue. Instead, do some of the following to prevent this from occurring:

  1. Fix leaks immediately. One of the main reasons why a ceiling collapses is water damage. When a pipe leaks or bursts, the water spreads throughout the home and causes damage to the drywall and the wood. Fixing the leak as soon as it occurs prevents widespread damage and decreases risk.
  2. Check your roof. Regularly take stock of your attic and shingles. Ensure that there are no roof leaks and that shingles are securely fastened to your home. This will help prevent rain or snow from entering and causing water damage from above.
  3. Lower the weight. Do not overload your upper floors with heavy equipment in homes with questionable structural integrity. Keep safes and heavy gym equipment in the basement or on the first floor to reduce the load.
  4. Replace the ceiling in older homes. If you bought a home that was built in the 1960s through the 1980s, it might be smart to work on replacing your ceilings one room at a time. These ceilings are notorious for collapse due to their original poor construction and design.
  5. Look out for any sagging in your ceiling. Have a licensed professional inspect your home if you’re concerned. Fixing a sagging ceiling will be easier, less expensive, and less risky to your loved ones than addressing a ceiling after its collapse.
  6. Sharp cracking sounds from the ceiling are a bad sign. In cases of sudden ceiling collapse, where the ceiling breaks all at once, homeowners have reported hearing sharp cracking sounds in the preceding day or two. If that happens, be sure to stay out of the room where it’s occurred and get professional help right away.

All of these tips are great ways to reduce the likelihood that you will need to make a claim due to a ceiling collapse.

Personal belongings damaged by a collapse are covered

While you will still have to pay your deductible for the repair costs to properly secure your ceiling, you will not have to worry about damage to your personal property in your home.

Remember, if you need to make a claim for personal property coverage on your policy, there are limits to what will be financially protected. More expensive items, such as jewelry, electronics, appliances, and others will have specific reimbursement limits detailed in your policy. Be sure to stay up-to-date with what your coverage entails and the condition of your house, so you can get ahead of problems like ceiling collapse and avoid as much risk and hassle as possible.

Homeowners insurance has you covered

Ceiling collapse in your home can have devastating effects, through the damage it can cause to your home and your personal property. Home insurance policies generally cover ceiling collapse. So if you find yourself in this unsavory situation, take a deep breath and call your insurance agent. Together you’ll work to submit your claim and get your ceiling back in order in no time.

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Katelyn is a freelance copy editor and writer based in Massachusetts. She holds Bachelor's Degrees in Business Administration and Political Science, both from Fitchburg State University, as well as a Master's Degree in Public Administration from UMass Amherst. In her free time, Katelyn enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.
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