Buyer Beware: Your Roof and Homeowner’s Insurance

Your Roof and Homeowners Insurance

A well-maintained roof, in good condition, is one feature of a home that can really reel a buyer in. After all, the roof is the most important part of your home, and replacing a roof is an expensive proposition. But even if the roof is new and looks great, that’s not a guarantee that it’s a good roof, or even a code-compliant roof. Sometimes flaws are not readily apparent, and unfortunately, a flawed roofing job or a roof that’s just too old can cause you some major issues with your homeowner’s insurance.

Depending on the age of your roof, you might not be able to snag a homeowner’s policy without an inspection, thus heaping the costs of potential repairs or replacement upon your head. Pretty inconvenient, especially after you’ve purchased a home! But that’s not all; different types of roofs have different life spans. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Shingled roofs have a lifespan of about 15 or 20 years, depending on whether they’re 3-tab or architectural, respectively.
  • Metal or tile roofs, on the other hand, have a significantly longer lifespan – 30 to 40 years at the least.

Depending on how old the roof is – and what it’s made out of – you may want to consult with an insurance agent and negotiate with the seller for a price reduction to cover the cost of a new roof, especially since you’re not likely to be granted a homeowner’s policy without it.

Additionally, certain types of damage to the roof may not be covered, depending upon its age. Many insurers will base the price of a policy on the soundness of a roof’s construction, as well as how much it would cost them to replace it.

Take these tips with you when you go house hunting, and avoid some trouble when it comes time to find a homeowner’s insurance policy:

  • First and foremost, ask for the approximate age of the current roof.
  • Ask for a history of repairs on the roof, whether or not it’s been redone, and who did the work. If the sellers can’t or won’t tell you, that’s a sign that the job have been done by an unlicensed contractor – or without a permit.
  • Without that permit mentioned above, it won’t matter how recently a new roof was installed. Without proof of installation, insurance companies won’t accept the risk – they’re going to assume that the house still has its original roof, no matter how old the house may be. If the sellers of the house have installed a new roof recently, don’t choose to buy unless they can prove that the job was done with a permit.
  • Get an inspector to preemptively walk the roof and check it out in-depth. You’ll have to pay for this, but it won’t be anywhere near the cost of a new roof.

If you’re considering replacing the roof after you buy, it goes without saying that you should never hire a roofer who is not a Florida certified contractor. There are not only penalties for the unlicensed contractor, but for the person who hired them if they are acting as their own general contractor. Doing the job the right way, with proper permits and real licensed contractors, will save you a lot of hassle, expense, and trouble with your homeowner’s policy.

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Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Insurance

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