Oh, the joys of homeowners insurance. There are so many rules and regulations for determining what is or isn’t covered, and when it comes to protecting your home, we look towards the roof. Roof coverage is essential to keeping you and your family safe from the elements and saving you a ton of pain and strife should you ever sustain damage. We’re here to talk about how your roof age might affect how much insurance coverage you get.
How Can My Old Roof Impact Insurance Coverage?
There are two different ways that an aging roof or home can affect your insurance coverage.
The first is when you’re looking to insure the roof of your newly purchased home. When you purchase a home that came with an aging roof, you might be able to get a cheaper quote because the replacement costs will not be as high, and it’s more likely that you’ve purchased a policy for better protection on your new home.
On the other hand, if you have an aging roof but just bought homeowners insurance in the year, then chances are they won’t cover any damage caused by aging since their assessment of how much risk there is would show them that no one else had damaged their property before this point in time.
That said, remember that older roofs are not necessarily riskier. For example, a roof that’s aging might still get homeowners insurance coverage, but it will come with a higher price tag since the likelihood of replacement is much higher.
Roof Factors That Affect Your Home Insurance (And Its Lifespan)
There are key factors that play into how fast your roof ages, how well it can protect your home, how long it will last, and how likely insurance is going to cover it.
As your roof ages, so will your annual premium. It’s imperative to keep on top of your aging roof because some homeowners have experienced their home insurance policies not renewed or even canceled due to them not covering an old roof.
The Condition of Your Roof
If your roof is in poor condition, it can affect your premiums just like its age will. However, regular maintenance and being mindful of any damages, and repairing them quickly, will help keep your roof in good condition and keep those insurance premiums down. Plus, a well-maintained roof will keep your home safe from water leaks and other storm damage.
The Location of Your Roof/Home
Unfortunately, this factor is tough to control as you can’t do much about the location of your home after you’ve already moved in. But different climates can bring different risks to your roof and thus driving up premium costs.
Places known for strong winds and hail, and especially those homes in Tornado Alley or hurricane-prone areas, will also face very high premiums depending on what type of roof they have and how likely it is to sustain damage. When you can, installing an impact-resistant shingle in those areas can help alleviate that rise in premiums.
Can the Type of Roof I Have Affect Insurance Premiums?
Yes, it can. Because different roofing materials age at different rates and require different levels of maintenance, they can definitely affect your insurance premiums in a roundabout way.
Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in the country and are also likely to be covered by insurance without any issues. It’s affordable to repair and install, durable for 15-25 years and has high protective capabilities. In addition, insurers love it because it’s quick and easy to replace, so you shouldn’t have any issues with higher premiums or anything of that nature.
If you have cedar wood shakes, you might see a slight rise in your home insurance rates. Wood shakes, though very aesthetically pleasing, are highly flammable and also cost a lot to replace. Because of the fire risk, you may see an increase in your premium should you install these or purchase a home with them. They are also susceptible to mold growth which isn’t often covered by homeowners insurance.
If you have a tile roof, this is a complex one when it comes to insurance. Insurance companies are likely to cover these roofs because they last for 50 or more years, are incredibly low-maintenance, and are built to withstand fire, heat, hail, and wind. However, if you ever need to replace or install a new tile roof, it will cost a lot of money, and it also puts more weight on your home’s structure. As a result, you could expect to see some rise in your insurance rates.
What Kinds of Damage are Covered Under a Home Insurance Policy?
Now that we’ve tackled the roofing materials and what might affect your insurance coverage, it’d be good to know what homeowners insurance actually covers. So what is it that you’re actually paying for? The answer may surprise you.
There are many things that homeowners insurance will not cover. Generally, a standard homeowners insurance policy will not cover damage from termites, insects, birds, or rodents. It will also not cover rust, mold, rot, and general wear and tear that occurs over time naturally.
Any damage caused by environmental factors like smoke or smog from agricultural areas is also not covered. And lastly, if your roof or other parts of your home were poorly installed or have a manufacturer defect, that would not be covered by your homeowner’s policy: you’d have to take that up with any manufacturer or workmanship warranties you have.
Here is what you can expect to be covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy when it comes to roof damage.
- Rain or hail
- Falling debris like tree branches or ice
These are all considered “sudden and accidental” outliers. They are out of your control, and no matter the condition of your roof, these are unavoidable occurrences that can cause minor to severe damage.
This is especially important to note when it comes to roof leaks. Suppose a homeowner failed to maintain their roof to the point where it has a small leak compiling damage over time that would not be covered. However, if a hail storm came through and tore a hole in a shingle that causes an immediate leak, that could be covered. Inspectors can tell when a water leak is new vs. one that has been there a long time. Even if your roof is old, if it is in good condition otherwise, that “sudden and accidental” leak could be covered.
So the moral of the story is to keep up with your roof maintenance and get minor repairs done when they occur to avoid any large costs down the road when you need to replace your roof.
How do I Know if My Aging Roof has Been Deemed Too Risky for an Insurer?
The first thing to look at would be the cost of repair or replacement compared with $150k-$200K in annual earnings per household (the median income for most families is about $60K). If repairs could exceed this amount, insurers may deem a home unworthy due to high risk and refuse any future claims should their theory prove correct.
Some other age-related factors can affect homeowners insurance as well: living in a neighborhood or area with aging roofs, previous claims for roofing damage, and other factors like your credit score. It’s important to know that all of these can affect how much you could pay in insurance premiums. For example, the older a home is (and if they’re living in an older neighborhood), the higher the risk that home has for leaks and fires. This means that more of their homeowners’ policy will be used up by replacement costs rather than things like wind or hail damage.
Older Neighborhood/Area With Aging Roofs = Higher Risk Of Fire And Leak Damage To Homes In the Area
Aging Roof + Homeowners Insurance = Higher Premiums
To wrap things up, here is how you can prevent the surprise of your old aging roof affecting your insurance premiums or coverage.
- Maintain your roof.
- Choose the proper materials that will last you for years with little maintenance.
- Ensure proper installation of your roof.
- Document everything (installation, warranties, damage, repairs, etc.)
- Be mindful of where you buy your house. As we’ve learned, location matters!
- Lastly, don’t just go with the first insurance rate offered. Instead, shop around and find a place that works for you.
Lucky for you, Secured Roofing and Restoration knows how to navigate these complicated insurance claims and how to prevent any issues. Our comprehensive roofing services allow homeowners to rest easy knowing their roof will be installed properly and include a 1-year workmanship warranty. In need of small repairs? Let us help you out, so you don’t have to deal with insurance. Contact us for a FREE estimate.