Change 20 year old roof or lose home insurance deductable

A letter
from my home insurer arrived last autumn stating given that my asphalt shingle
roof was 20 years old, if I didn’t change it within a year, the $500 deductible
would go to $5000. I phoned them saying that I had purchased 30 year shingles
in 1995, applied a stick-on membrane at the eves and rake, and that I had used
two layers of roofing paper everywhere else, all at added expense just so the
roof would make it to 30 years. By having the insurance company force me to
replace my roof before its time, I was losing up to 30% of the original value. Just
as insurance companies are forcing condo owners to replace glass lined,
electric water heaters at 10 years, it appears that there is no incentive to
install an asphalt roof using anything better than the cheapest grade that will
tough it to 20 years. Of course insurance companies today are basing their
rules on their experiences with roofs that were installed 20 to 30 years ago. With
organic shingles now replaced by fibreglass ones, do you think that in 20 years
from now, insurance companies will soften their rules if it becomes apparent
that modern asphalt shingle roofs will be surviving longer than the previous
organic generation? When I recently read the warranty for BP shingles, it
became apparent to me that BP will stand solidly behind their product for the
first 15 years but after that, the benefits are reduced as time passes. This
doesn’t make me believe that modern asphalt shingle roofs are going to last
much longer than 20 years.

The insurance in your state may differ from mine, but I would think that given the life expectancy of the roof the insurance company could not do that.
Unless the roof was visually deteroriating to the point it was going to fail.

Sounds like your insurance company is not good.

I have heard of an insurance company demanding the roof needing to be replaced in my state but it was warranted.

As a matter of fact I have a 20 year shingle on my home. It was installed 33 years ago.

Thanks for your comment. In my jurisdiction, this is a new trend amongst home insurance companies. The recent class actions against BP, IKO, GAF, and CertainTweed have surely not gone unnoticed by these insurance companies, especially where the defects involve roofs under 10 years old. My company’s new policy is 20 years for asphalt and cedar shingles and 50 years for metal, slate, and resin roofing materials. Copper, which can often exceed 50 years has received no exemption. Therefore when I now calculate the projected annual depreciation costs for different types of materials, I use these insurance allowances. If a metal roof costs 2.5 times an asphalt one, then there is no real economy in choosing metal if one is forced to respect the insurance guidelines. One’s choice of metal would only be for aesthetic reasons.

This is what they do here in florida.
The insurance company’s now research when the last
Time a permit was pulled for your roof.
If it is near the 20
Year mark, they are sending out cancellation notices.
I’ve even replaced 10 year old roofs that looked perfect because the homeowner did it himself without a permit.
The reason for this is because the insurance companies are fighting back against all the contractors offering “free roofs” by stealing from insurance for roofs that are wore out.
And guess what, an asphalt shingle is pretty wore out at 20 years or just barely hanging by a thread.
It doesn’t matter
If the shingle maker calls
It 30 years or lifetime… Sike

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@roof_lover, where I live the city does not issue a permit to change an asphalt roof. If the insurance company needs to know how old the roof is, they have to ask the owner when the policy is issued for the first time. They also want to know when the water heater was last changed. It’s an honor system where the homeowner gives the proper answers. I believe that there is no longer a reward for building an asphalt roof well enough to last 30 years.

They just don’t
None of them do!

What you got was a great roof that remained leak free for 20 years.
Yeah, you might have gotten a few
More years and it sucks you are being forced! Really really sucks!!!
And yes, I would want to shoot
Someone’s face off.

But I have to get this notion out of your head that you were going to get close to 30
Years. For your own sanity. Because it’s true!

I put “lifetime” material on all the time and the best underlayments and I still inform my customers to expect 20 years.
I give them no false hope, and dreams of their last roof ever.
It just leads to disappointment down the line.
Case in point.

Under promise, over deliver.

I tend to agree with you but here in Michigan Owens Corning 3-tabs routinely last 25+ yrs in good condition, provided there are no other aggravating issues.

Here we get 25 yr out of a properly installed quality shingles, it’s just hard at the time of installation to know what is actually going to last the longest.
It’s usually moss & algae buildup that kills the good shingles.

Hey Axiom, I agree the shingles would last longer in That climate.
That must be nice to be able to have confidence to tell a homeowner that their shingle roof will expect 25 years!

In florida it is hot as hell for 6-7 months of the year which bakes up the shingles.
Monday will be 90 degrees, beginning of May… Sigh

If your insurance company approved coverage prior to presenting an “or else” clause, likely they need to abide by the existing agreement.

Larry Burtis - 3RSystems, LLC

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There is no clause in the existing agreement that states that there is a time limit for changing the roof. They simply sent me a letter last September stating:

“A roof covering of this age (20 years) has an increased risk of sustaining damages from both wind and water. If you decide not to replace your current roof covering, upon renewal, a $5000 deductible (formerly $500) will be applied to the settlement of all claims in connection with any covered damages affecting the roof and/or caused by water infiltration through the roof.”

So the point of my thread is to raise the question as to whether it is worth spending extra money beyond the minimum roofing materials necessary to reach 20 years with a high degree of certainty, and secondly, are the latest generation of fiberglass asphalt shingles likely to produce longer lifespans in the future to the extent that insurance companies like mine might extend their 20 year limit to say 25.

Since fiberglass shingles have been around for about 10 years, no roofing companies which I have met recently state that they have had to replace a fiberglass shingle roof. The manufacturers like BP (and IKO) got recently burned with the class-action suits regarding organic shingles, so one has to wonder if these manufacturers are prepared to have the same degree of failures with their latest fiberglass shingles as they did with their organic ones. I would hope not.

This type of situation is happening more and more, and I suspect, will evolve into the common practice. We’re seeing policies that make coverage for roofs over fifteen years old ACV only. Deductibles are changing from $500 or $1,000 to $2,000 and up or 1 to 3% of the home assessed value.

Many of those policies have options available, for additional premiums, that maintain standard full coverage. It’s real simple, insurance companies are tired of paying roof claims and are taking steps to change that. I don’t necessarily disagree with their viewpoint. However, I do find it reprehensible that these policy changes seem to occur without any formal announcement or information about options. The revised policies simply get mailed to the unsuspecting policy holders who naively never read the policy or fine print too discover the major changes in coverage. Caveat emptor at its very best.

It doesn’t bother me so much the methods that the insurance companies use to sneak the change into the policy. What bothers me is that when setting the arbitrary limit (20 years in my case), they make no distinction concerning the roofing materials originally used and the environment that the roof has been exposed to. A 25 year old roof in some situations may be more secure than a 15 year old one. Thanks for your opinion.

Rest assured, the insurance companies do few if any things that are arbitrary. Their actuaries can crank statistics so they know more about you than you know about yourself.

It’s real simple. If you don’t like what your insurance company did, cast the only vote that ever really matters, i.e., the one with your pocketbook. Call as high of a level manager as you can get to at the insurance company and inform him you are cancelling your policy due to the change(s) they made to their policy. If enough Sheople would grow a set and take actions against the practices of these big companies, they could effect change. But most just bitch about it and do nothing that affects the company’s bottom line. So why would they change?

There are still plenty of insurance companies out there with reasonable coverage without all the exemptions and special situations. Shop around and buy from one of them.

At 67 years of age, I’m re-shingling for the second time in 21 years, both projects DIY and working alone. If I’m alive in 20 years and still in the same house, at 87 I won’t be able to do it myself for a 3rd. time. My only hope is that the fiberglass product which I am installing today will last a few years longer than the previous organic type, and that by then, hopefully, my insurance company will have increased their confidence level in this product. I expect to be out of the house by age 90 and I’ll let the next owner deal with the roof.

You think Florida is hot? Try working out in 110 degree heat , May to October. In Arizona.
But its a DRY HEAT!

We routinely get denials overturned on roofs as old as 25 years with architectural shingles. On a standard three tab we can’t really help on anything over 18 years old, just not enough life left. Not completely related but gives you a glimpse into what the insurance companies see as the life of an asphalt shingle roof.

The insurance contract is valid for one year and the company can drop a homeowner for any reason. If you don’t like any policy changes your only option is to shop around. Generally another company will insure you.

We often see an insurance company try to deny a roof claim based on age of the roof but inspected it and agreed to insure it. We win these cases every time. If they accept the premium they need to live up to their promise to cover it, they didn’t give the homeowner a discount on their homeowners policy based on an older roof with less life left!

It’s nice to hear you suggest that architectural shingles have received some recognition as being able to survive a third longer than classic three-tab. Hopefully there are (will be) statistics to back this up. Thanks for your update.

That depends entirely upon which shingles you are comparing to which.

Owens Corning 3-tabs routinely last longer than their warranty period when applied correctly

Malarkey Alaskans (a 3-tab shingle) are every bit as good as any entry level laminate and better than some.

I prefer laminates over 3-tabs for several reasons but this idea being promoted the all 3-tabs are inferior is simply false.

The 3-tab design is actually a better design from a performance standpoint the issue is that the majority of 3-tabs are simply poorly made of low quality material, not all.

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Very few roofers will tell you but please expect only 20 years life time for your shingles. Unless you have a good, uniform weather, material is of good quality then it can extend it up to 25 years and if God is kind on you then only it can last for more than 30 years.

But yes this is completely unprofessional on the part of insurance company to tell you to change the roof.