When you buy home insurance, your home needs to be in an acceptable condition so that it's not too risky for the insurance company. As one of the home’s most important structural components, your roof is a major factor in whether you can get home insurance and what your rates will be.
Here are some of the factors insurance companies look at in Western Massachusetts.
Most roofs last around 20 to 30 years. After that, they can be more susceptible to leaks. Or they can develop structural problems. This could lead to more damage if a tree falls on the roof during a storm.
Once you cross the 15-year mark, the insurance company is more likely to request an inspection before issuing your policy. The results of the inspection could decide if you qualify for coverage or need to pay higher premiums. If your roof fails inspection, you could effectively be barred from changing home insurance providers until you replace your roof.
Your roof may have leaks or minor damage that weren't covered by your insurance, and that you put off fixing for financial reasons. For instance, you may have moss or other growths that are eating away at your roof.
When your roof is in a weakened state, it may fail an inspection — even if it has many years remaining in its original expected lifespan. If you're trying to get new coverage, an insurance company may tell you to fix your roof first. If your existing insurance company finds out about damage, they may give you a deadline to repair it. Otherwise you could have your policy canceled.
The shape of your roof, shingle types, and anchorings all affect its ability to withstand high winds and falling or blown objects. Insurance companies have databases of thousands of claims proving that one type of roof blew off in a storm, but another type of roof sustained only minor damage.
If you have the type of roof that insurers find favorable, you can expect to pay a little less for home insurance. If you have a roof that's more prone to damage, you may pay more for home insurance. So, if you’re uncertain on the status of your roof, you may want to consider making improvements now.