Roofing Materials that can Reduce Your Insurance Premiums
Mother Nature can be brutal to a roof during wind and hail storms. Nobody knows this better than the insurance companies who pay out the damage claims — a majority of which are hail storm related.
A recent hailstorm that hit San Marcos, Texas in 2006 resulted in 10,000 auto claims, 7,000 homeowner and commercial property claims ranging between $100–160 million insured losses. On April 10th 2001, quite possibly the most costliest hailstorm in US history struck the I-70 corridor of eastern Kansas, across Missouri, into southwestern Illinois resulting in over $2 billion worth of damage.
Insurance companies can’t change the weather, but they can offer premium discounts for tougher, damage resistant types of roofing materials. The premium discounts can be as high as 45% and depends on the actual material.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) established a testing standard (UL2218) that rates roofing materials on a class scale from 1 to 4 based on their resistance to various sizes of hail.
Metal roofing will net you the largest premium discount, but comes with a heavier price tag. Heavier duty Class 4 types of asphalt shingles and wood shake can qualify for a partial discount, as well. Except for qualifying metal roofs, premium reductions are not available for roofs that have been overlaid onto existing roofs.
In choosing a material, you will want to do the math for the cost of the roof and the total premium savings that you would incur while owning the home. If you are in your home for the long-term, then higher-grade metal roofing will net you the biggest savings overall. Shorter-term, then lower cost Class 4 asphalt shingles may be the better purchase.
Keep in mind, if this is a replacement roof due to storm damage, the insurance company will only be paying the claim on the original roof. The extra cost for impact resistant roofing will have to be born by the home owner.
Before you choose a new roof, talk to your agent to learn about the exact discounts for materials. The materials that are eligible may differ from state to state. Depending on the insurance company, in some states, there are no discounts at all. Also, when applying the premium discount to metal roofs, you may be asked to add an endorsement that excludes coverage for appearance loss caused by hail.
The insurance company will also require a certification form for the new roof. Make sure that you choose a reputable roofing contractor in your area to do the installation. Also keep your eye out for roofing scams after a hail storm. Your agent may have a few contractor references that they have worked on claims with before, so it wouldn’t hurt to ask for them.