Age Of Roof And Insurance
Insurers consider a roofs age and condition when providing coverage.
Some insurers refuse to renew existing homeowner insurance policies on houses with roofs older than 20 years unless they pass an inspection. Insurers wont renew a policy that fails inspection without a roof replacement.
Other insurers dont write new policies for homes with roofs over 20 years old. Or theyll only pay actual cash value for roof replacement for older roofs when theyre damaged. This means they dont cover the cost of an entirely replaced roof, but only reimburse for what an old roof is worth after 20-plus years.
“If you have a roof that has lasted 20 years, then you’ve probably exceeded the roofing membrane life expectancy, says Gerald Delaune, senior building envelope consultant at Childress Engineering Services Inc. in Richardson, TX. Chances are that at that point, there are issues within the roofing system that cannot be seen , which could potentially deteriorate the deck and that it would be worth your money to replace the roof.
Replacing a roof can cost $10,000 or more, but you might need to make that investment to keep coverage.
Chip Merlin, president of Tampa-based Merlin Law Group, said home insurers have tightened underwriting requirements for older homes, especially when it comes to roofs, plumbing and electrical systems.
What Is A Roof Inspection
A roof inspection is a report that evaluates the current condition of your roof. The inspector will tell if there are any missing or damaged shingles, leaks, clogged rain gutters, cracks, or other warning signs. Its different from a home inspection because home inspectors do not typically climb on the roof to review it thoroughly. A roof inspection will not inform you of the lifespan of your roof, only the repairs needed.
If you own an older home, a roof inspection is often required by the insurance company before they issue your insurance. Roof inspections are also commonly requested when youre selling your home, as buyers want to make sure that the house is safe. Some buyers, on the other hand, may want to pay for their own inspector to evaluate your roof.
What a roof inspector will look for:
- Curled, damaged, or missing shingles or tiles
- Vegetation on the roof
- Water stains on the ceiling or under the roof
- Damaged or clogged gutters, drains, skylights, chimneys, and roof valleys
Fire Prevention And Detection: Sprinklers Alarms Smoke Detectors Extinguishers
Fire sprinklers, fire alarms, fire extinguishers located on every floor of the house and smoke detectors will all typically earn you a home insurance discount. Sprinklers and fire alarm systems with central monitoring, meaning that the alarm company staff contacts you and the fire department when a fire is detected, earn the biggest discounts.
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Inform Your Home Insurance Company Of Any Improvements
If you recently made improvements to your house or made it safer in any way, be sure to contact your home insurance company to see if youâre eligible for any rate reductions. Itâs important to note that you donât have to wait until policy renewal to do this. Your insurer is able to adjust your rates in the middle of your policy term. If youâve taken steps to improve your home, make sure youâre getting credit for it with lower home insurance premiums.
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These 4 Upgrades Can Lower The Cost Of Your Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners insurance costs an average of $1,083 annually across the US but that number varies widely from state to state. For example, annual premiums in Florida average $2,055, while policyholders in Oregon pay just $574.
Its difficult to nail down exact policy pricing because multiple factors go into your specific calculation, says Angela Orbann, vice president of personal insurance products at Travelers Insurance. Which state you live in is a big one coastal homes come with different risks than those located in the Midwest, for example but your insurer will also consider the size, age and characteristics of your house, prior losses and features that qualify you for discounts or credits.
Insurance companies offer policy discounts in the form of credits or reduced premiums for home upgrades that could minimize the need to file a claim as well as the dollar amount paid out for claims that do come through. Basically, it costs insurers less to reduce premium prices than it does to pay for damages and losses.
Some of these home improvement projects are expensive upfront, which means it could take years for insurance discounts to match what you spend on the upgrade. However, reducing the cost of your insurance is just one of the advantages of making the investment. A new roof or storm-resistant windows, for example, could save you thousands of dollars in damages in the event of a hurricane or hailstorm, while home security can stop a burglar in his tracks.
How Roof Failure Happens
Assuming that all exterior openings remain shut during a wind storm, then the air pressure inside the house will help to maintain the houses strength. If any opening allows air inside the house during a wind storm, it allows the storm even greater leverage from both inside and outside of the house which usually results in the roof being peeled up and away from the walls.
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Special Considerations For Roof Coverage
If a dramatic event causes dramatic damagethe roof comes crashing down, has a major hole, or is torn off entirelycoverage is likely. More problematic are instances when the damage is less dramatic, even if an act of nature caused it. Let’s say a violent thunderstorm nicks a bunch of your roof’s shingles. The insurance company may classify that as cosmetic damage, and not cover it. Or let’s say that, after the aforementioned storm, you notice your roof has become leaky. Even though the rains triggered it, the insurance company might claim that’s a general wear-and-tear problemreflecting your roof’s gradual deteriorationwhich is never covered.
Ironically, any water damage caused by the leaking roof to your walls, floors, or furniture probably would be covered under the all-perils section of your policy. However, the roof repair itself would not be.
Discounts From Home Features
Some home insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners for good behavior such, as performing regular maintenance on the structure. There may also be discounts for safety features within the home. For example, most providers offer discounts for centrally monitored smoke and fire detectors. A centrally monitored detector are those monitoring systems that notify emergency services outside of the home. Companies will vary on the items and the amount of discount they will give for other items like deadbolt locks and security camera systems.
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Are There Insurance Coverage Limitations On My Roof
Home insurance policies can include coverage limitations for roofs.
Scott deLuise, president of Matrix Business Consulting in Broomfield, CO, suggests that homeowners read the existing or proposed policy carefully to look for that information.
Coverage scope and exclusions are a big deal. Ask another insurance company for a policy bid at renewal if it contains a wood shake endorsement or an exclusion for roofs over 20 years old, says deLuise.
He also suggests getting a qualify roofer to inspect the roof and provide a written report, so you know the condition before theres damage.
That way, if wind or hail strike your house, you can show the insurance company that there was no pre-existing damage. You can also request a cost estimate for replacing the roof so that you can decide if the cost of a new roof outweighs the risk of being denied home insurance coverage, deLuise says.
deLuise says many insurers on the West Coast are adding new endorsements at renewal for the areas popular wooden shingle roofs. A wood shake or shingle endorsement is a written document attached to an insurance policy that excludes or restricts coverage of wooden shingle or shake roofs.
deLuise has also seen many companies limit appraisal for wind and hail roof damage during the claims process.
If the policyholder demands an appraisal, some insurance companies try to limit the appraisals scope to damages that theyve agreed to instead of all of the damage that the insured might find.
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Pro Tips For Roof Maintenance
The condition of your roof affects the value of your home, so maintenance is imperative, especially as your roof ages.
Get a roof inspection every few years: Preventative maintenance could save you from a large future expense .
Remove objects that land on the roof: Debris may cause your roof to deteriorate.
Replace worn shingles: Damaged shingles are more susceptible to water damage and leaking.
Document the health of your roof: Before and after photos will accurately depict the severity of roof damage for a potential insurance claim.
Contact your agent or insurer whenever you make an improvement: Upgrades to your roof could earn you a discounted home insurance rate.
Toys And Other Safety Hazards
The CPSC estimates that in 2014 there were 104,691 emergency room visits associated with trampolines. Trampolines, tree houses, pools, and other items can increase your homeowners premiums. Worse yet, you may find that your policy doesn’t cover these items at all. Check your policy. If your insurance company is charging you extra because you have a trampoline or pool, you may save some money by getting rid of it. They are a huge liability! If you have a pool and dont want to get rid of it, make sure there is a fence around the pool to reduce the chance of someone accidentally falling in.
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How Much Can You Save On Homeowners Insurance With A Security System
Several professional home security companies advertise that their product can trim up to 20% off of your insurance premiums. Based on our findings, the maximum youâll likely save is no more than about 10%.
Every bit helps, and the discounts can really add up if you have multiple other policy credits or discounts. But you probably shouldnât get a home security system if the end goal is to make your homeowners insurance cheaper, because it simply doesnât have a very meaningful impact on your rates. However, you should get a home security system if your goal is to make your home a safer place and prevent future theft claims down the road.
Upgrading Your Exterior May Reduce Potential Damage But Pricier Materials Raise Replacement Costs
Aside from boosting curb appeal, upgrading the material of your home’s exterior can reduce your risk of damage from leaks and storm debris. However, the higher cost of stronger materials means that you may need a higher and more expensive dwelling coverage limit in your insurance policy.
|Cost per 100 sq ft||Annual premium|
Insurance cost based on quotes for a $350,000 home built in 2004
The most popular exterior construction for single-family homes in the United States is vinyl siding, which consists of vinyl strips with interlocking edges.
The insurance implications of exterior improvements turned out to be twofold. Choosing a more durable, low-maintenance material means that insurers could see your home as having lower risk of a claim for dwelling damage. For example, replacing vinyl siding with more durable cement fiber siding slightly reduced our premium.
However, insurers may also require you to get a higher coverage limit to account for the higher cost of replacing that material if it’s damaged. The cost of coverage went up when we substituted wood or brick as the exterior material both materials cost more than vinyl and raised the dwelling coverage required.
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Look For Private Insurance If You Are In A Government Plan
If you live in a high-risk area — say, one that is especially vulnerable to coastal storms, fires, or crime — and have been buying your homeowners insurance through a government plan, you should check with an insurance agent or company representative or contact your state department of insurance for the names of companies that might be interested in your business. You may find that there are steps you can take that would allow you to buy insurance at a lower price in the private market.
Ways To Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Premiums
The information on this website is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. This website does not make any representations that coverage does or does not exist for any claim or loss under any policy. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any applicable insurance policy. Consult the actual policy or your agent for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions, products, services and programs that may be available to you. Your eligibility for particular products and services is subject to individual eligibility and the final determination of underwriting qualifications and acceptance by the insurance underwriting company providing such products or services. Not all policies, coverages and features are available in all states.
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Adding Home Security Systems Doesnt Significantly Lower Home Insurance Rates
Some home insurers advertise discounts to homeowners who report having monitoring systems for fires, leaks and burglary. However, our data suggest that the actual savings on your insurance bill may be close to zero, especially when compared to the amount you pay for the devices.
Home security discounts by provider
Based on annual estimates from insurers web-based quote forms
When we obtained quotes from five major insurers, we found that two of them Allstate and Farmers did not inquire about home security at all within the online quote form. Among the rest, centrally monitored fire alarms led to discounts of 1% to 5% while adding a local burglar alarm reduced rates by no more than 2%.
Applied to the typical amount that homeowners spend on insurance, the variations we found come out to $14 to $72 saved per year. In comparison, the cost of installing such alarm systems and subscribing to the services that power them can cost thousands on an annual basis.
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Upgrading Your Kitchen Or Bath
According to the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine, a kitchen or bathroom remodel can provide upwards of 50% in recouped value. Suppose you make quality upgrades, like changing out laminate for granite countertops or having custom cabinets built. In that case, you may need to increase your dwelling coverage on your home insurance, which usually comes at an additional cost. If your home coverage is not enough to rebuild your new kitchen or bath, consider increasing the coverage to be in line with your upgrades.
A claimable occurrence could happen at any time during or after your kitchen or bathroom upgrade. If your existing coverage is not sufficient, you may not be able to rebuild or repair your upgraded features. Your insurance agent can use the companys valuation tool to determine if coverage changes are needed to keep your home properly insured.
If your contractor upgrades the homes electrical or plumbing systems during a kitchen or bath renovation, you may qualify for a discount, which could offset any increase in your insurance rate. Your home renovation insurance needs can adjust your premium either way. Not all improvements mean paying more for your coverage. In fact, some changes like those plumbing or electrical updates could mean paying less.
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