Whether you’re trying to file an insurance claim for your storm-damaged roof or are just looking for a new homeowner’s insurance policy, you’re probably going to need a roof inspection. While a roof inspection doesn’t seem like a huge deal, the difference between a healthy roof and an older roof is often what leads your insurer to either approve or deny your insurance policy.
But why would your insurance company ask for an inspection? What’s included? Can it actually benefit your roof?
In terms of what it means to your insurance company, a roof inspection is a mandatory assessment done to your roof to estimate its remaining value and the expected cost of your insurance policy.
In our 30+ years of experience, we’ve done hundreds of insurance-related roof inspections. If you haven’t been through the process before, you might have some questions about why your insurance company would ask for an inspection. To help answer those questions, we created this list of five things you should know about roof inspections and how they relate to your insurance. Let’s dive in.
1. What is a Roof Inspection?
Before we get into why you’ll need a roof inspection for your insurance claim, let’s go into more detail about what a roof inspection is. A roof inspection is when a roofing contractor checks your entire roof for signs of damage, decay, and overall well-being. They are an integral part of keeping your roof in good condition for years to come.
Here’s a comprehensive list of the elements a contractor will check during a roof inspection:
Contractors will also look for leaks, signs of mold, and rust. All of these issues can work against you when filing an insurance claim for your roof. That’s why it’s important to develop a regular inspection schedule to keep your roof in tip-top shape.
2. What are the benefits of a Roof Inspection?
Depending on the condition of your roof, an inspection can either work for or against you when filing an insurance claim. If you want to avoid having your insurance claim denied, you need to commit to timely roof assessments. Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from a professional inspection:
Your monthly insurance premiums stay low
You catch minor issues before they become major problems
It increases the lifespan of your roof
It makes your roof more energy-efficient
It prevents your warranty from being voided
Roof inspections are cheaper than roof repairs
Professional inspections also ensure that your roof stays in excellent working condition, which adds to your home’s curb appeal, and value. If you ever decide to sell your house, you can use your well-maintained roof as a selling point.
3. Is a Roof Inspection the Same as a Roof Certification?
Most insurance companies will require a roof certification to insure older homes. This gives them a clearer picture as to whether a roof is worth an insurance cover.
But is a roof certification the same thing as a roof inspection? The answer to that question is no, but a roof certification does require an inspection by a licensed roofing professional. As we said earlier, inspections are conducted to identify any current roofing problems that need to be addressed. This helps to preserve your roof’s structural integrity and protect your home’s interior.
A roof certification essentially performs the same function as an inspection, but for a different reason. A certification is an inspection that lets you know the overall condition of your roof and estimates its remaining lifespan. Your insurance company may request a roof certification to assess liability and risk before offering coverage for your roofing claim.
4. Why Would Your Insurance Company Request a Roof Inspection?
Your roof won’t last forever. Even high-quality roofs with solid constructions and premium designs will eventually decay.
There are many factors that determine how long a roof will last, including the quality and type of roofing material used, the contractor’s skill level, and the roof’s overall exposure to severe weather. Roofs lose their value over time, so insurance companies will usually request an inspection to know the estimated remaining value and lifespan of your roof.
Insurance companies want to keep their financial risk low and their profits high. As your roof ages, it’s more likely to develop issues that could put your insurer’s finances at risk. That’s why when you apply for an insurance policy or renew an existing one, they’ll request an inspection and certification to prove your roof is in good condition.
Your insurance company may also request a roof inspection to prevent having to pay more money for potential roof damage than is actually necessary. Here are some events that could trigger an inspection request:
The age of your roof (usually roofs that are 20+ years)
A suspicion that you haven’t maintained or repaired your roof
A roof replacement (especially if you changed roofing materials)
Taking out new homeowner’s insurance for an old house
The amount you pay as premiums for your roof insurance policy will be determined not only by the condition and age of the roof but also the type and quality of the material and construction. Poorly installed roofs that feature low-quality materials will usually cost more to insure. Also, if your roof needs repairs or has been repaired several times in the past, your insurance premiums will likely be higher.
5. What's Included in a Roof Inspection?
During an inspection for insurance, your roof will be checked for any existing or potential issues that could threaten your roofing system. Certified roofers will evaluate your roofing system by doing a structural, material, and interior inspection:
Structural Inspection - Your roof inspector will examine the structure of your roof by checking for uneven roof planes, signs of sagging, and the condition of the soffit, fascia, and gutter system. Masonry chimneys will also be inspected for cracks, crumbling grout, and chimney cap damage.
A structural inspection doesn’t focus on finding damaged or missing roofing materials but instead examines the overall well-being of your roofing system.
Material Inspection - During a material inspection, your contractor will check for loose, missing, or curled shingles. They’ll also check your shingles for rust stains, moss and algae growth, water damage, and granule loss. If your inspector finds shingle granules in your roof valleys or gutter system, it’s typically a sign that your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan.
Your pipe boots will also be checked during the material inspection. Pipe boots wrap around plumbing vents to create a waterproof seal that prevents them from leaking.
Over time, the rubber seal can crack, split, or pull away from the boot, which could cause a potential leak. Through regular inspections, your roofer can quickly catch this issue and save your home from water damage.
The last thing your inspector will check is the roof flashing: thin pieces of metal installed to direct water away from the critical areas of your roof (valleys, walls, dormers, chimneys, skylights).
Interior Inspection - The goal of an interior inspection is to examine parts of your roof that aren’t visible from the outside. The inspector will check your ceilings, attic, and even walls throughout the inside of your home for signs of current trouble and past damage.
One reason they do this is to examine for roof leaks. If not caught in time, a small roof leak can turn into a much bigger issue. The well-trained eye of a roof inspector can find evidence of even the tiniest leak to help you avoid further damage.
Once your roof inspection is done, you’ll receive a detailed report that you can present to your insurance company.
Want to Make Sure You Pass Your Roof Inspection?
Now that you know why your insurance company might request a roof inspection, you’re probably wondering how you can make sure you pass that roof inspection.
Inspections are just one way to ensure the health and safety of your roof. There is a larger step to taking care of your roof that occurs even more frequently than inspections: roof maintenance.
Roof maintenance is the periodical checking of all the vulnerable areas on your roof that could be susceptible to damage. It is a critical step in preventing roof problems and keeping your roof in excellent working condition
There are several roof maintenance tasks homeowners can and should complete themselves seasonally and after major weather events. To learn more about how you can maintain your roof, read this article.
If you’re in Raleigh and need a free roof inspection, don’t hesitate to fill out the form below. We’ll look for signs of wear and damage that could impact the safety and performance of your roof. If we spot any areas of concern, we’ll explain our findings and help walk you through the next steps for repairs. Whatever you need, we’ll be happy to help.