Hurricane season 2021/2022 has just begun, and NOAA predicts 2021 will be an “above-normal” Atlantic hurricane season. These pre- and in-between storm weeks are an ideal time to get an older roof inspected so you can make informed decisions regarding roof updates and protect your insurance policy.
Did you know your homeowner’s insurance carrier has the right to cancel your policy if the roof is 15 years old or older? Similarly, homeowners who aren’t paying attention to their policy’s terms may wind up footing the entire roof repair or replacement costs if the roof is outdated, lacks proper wind mitigation, or is not maintained per the policy and manufacturer’s recommendations.
Protect Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy with a Roof Inspection
The safety and security of your family, and your home, are the primary reason to verify the roof can withstand the rigors of high-winds and hurricane season. However, homeowners with an eye on their finances should be triply motivated to make any changes necessary to reinforce or replace an aging roof.
Scheduling an inspection and making any necessary roof or home repairs is the best way to protect an older roof, ensuring you are covered (literally and figuratively) if the roof is damaged in a storm.
Here are three reasons why scheduling an inspection can protect your coverage.
1. Insurance carriers are canceling (and refusing) coverage for old roofs
A recent SunSentinel article warns that multiple insurance companies are canceling policies for tens of thousands of Florida homeowners as a result of their older roofs. This is an example of the continuing changes insurance carriers are making to provide reasonably-priced policies without threatening their companys’ bottom lines.
Currently, insurance carriers rely on the age of a roof, combined with professional inspection reports or proof of maintenance/repairs, to determine a customer’s level of coverage, policy benefits, and premium costs. Carriers have the right to minimize the amount of coverage, refuse reimbursement, or cancel a policy altogether if:
- Home- or business owners fail to provide a passing inspection report
- There is no evidence of routine roof maintenance or receipts for repair/replacement by a licensed roofing contractor
- A home inspection report states the roof has five (5) or fewer useful years left
- The roof/home lacks adequate wind mitigation
- A roof is 15 years old or older (insurance companies won’t insure roofs at all once they hit the 20-year mark)
When home inspectors assess a home and its roof, they provide a detailed and itemized report of their findings. If everything is in good shape, the report is forwarded to the insurance company to reinforce your policy terms. If your roof needs repair or replacement, the report is specific about what needs to be done and we are always happy to refer you to vetted, licensed roofing contractors in your area.
2. Shingles Don’t Last 30-Years in Florida
Homeowners often believe the “30 year lifetime” sales pitch their original roofer sold to them. In the right conditions, it’s true that a well-built and properly maintained roof can last 30 years. However, an insurance company isn’t going to back that roof once it is past its prime. The older your roof is, the less money insurance carriers have to pay. If an aging or compromised roof risks the integrity of other structural components, insurance carriers will cancel your policy altogether.
Insurance policy guidelines rely on cumulative statistics from home inspections. Inspectors continuously collect and input data regarding buildings’ structural and roofing components on a daily basis. After analyzing statistics over the past several decades, industry experts know the structural integrity of a shingle roof declines drastically after the 12- to 15-year mark.
For example, the following are statistics regarding the average life expectancy of roofing components in Florida, as per the International Association of Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).
- Roofing adhesives/cement: 8+ years
- Asphalt shingles: 10 to 12 years
- BUR (built-up roofing): 5 to 15 years
Roofing material lifetimes are moving targets depending on the regional climate and the roof’s exposure to the elements. Here in Florida, roofs experience exponentially more impact from UV sun rays, water, and high winds. Salty coastal air and water further impact the wear-and-tear on structural components and finishes.
The bottom line is, while your roof may last 30 years, you are not going to be able to get full insurance coverage for more than 10 years without paying an exorbitant premium. Any insurance policy that covers a roof past that span costs more than it’s worth to insure and the policy may contain “fine print,” which drastically reduces the amount of reimbursement a carrier will payout.
3. Florida Insurance Laws Support Insurance Carriers
Florida state legislature supports the insurance companies, and with good reason. In the past several years, too many home and business owners, as well as unscrupulous roofing contractors, have exploited insurance companies with fraudulent or overinflated claims. As a result, Florida recently passed Senate Bill (SB) 76.
Under SB 76:
- Insurance carriers are legally allowed to only cover the depreciated value of roofs more than 10-years-old
- There are more stringent guidelines governing whether a roof repair or replacement qualifies for insurance reimbursement
- Building owners must file a claim within two years after sustaining building damage (rather than previous three-year grace periods)
- It is more difficult for policyholders to sue home insurance carriers
- It is illegal for roofing companies or contractors to solicit or encourage business, or to offer incentives, for roof repair/replacement projects that would use insurance funds
Pay close attention to that first bullet point. Once your roof hits the 10-year mark, your insurance company is only responsible for paying the depreciated value of the roof, rather than paying for the entire repair or replacement costs. For that reason, Florida homeowners are better off significantly renovating or replacing roofs that are 15 years old or older.
Home Inspection + Roofer Referral = Happy Insurance Carriers
Don’t risk the cancelation of your insurance policy due to an aging roof. Schedule a home inspection with Super Inspection Pros (SIP) and you’ll have a professional inspection report in 24 hours or less. The final inspection report and the feedback from the inspector guide the next steps.
If everything is in great shape, forward a copy of the report to your insurance carrier and enjoy peace of mind. You may even save money on future premium costs. If the roof needs repair, renovation, or replacement, we’ll refer you to reputable, trustworthy, and fully- licensed roofing contractors in your area. We may also recommend that you update your roof with extra wind mitigation features, which can further reduce future premium prices.
Are your home and roof ready for the upcoming storm season? Is your older roof compromised or threatening your insurance coverage? Schedule an inspection with Super Inspection Pros and we’ll help you determine which inspection makes sense for your needs. (386) 279-0802.