A colleague called me a couple of weeks ago. She’d been asked to provide a home insurance quote for a prospective client whose policy was being cancelled. The reason it was being cancelled is the insurance company discovered the home has a roof with three layers of shingles when it conducted the home inspection (see https://wiseinsurancegroup.com/home-insurance-inspections/). My friend is unable to write a home insurance policy for a home with three layers either, so she called me to see if I could write a policy on the home.
Some home insurance companies will write a multiple layer or overlay roof, although many will not. Those that don’t typically don’t for two reasons; cost and weight.
Cost: Every home insurance company which writes policies in north Texas can tell you the average cost to replace a roof that’s been damaged by hail. It’s one of the top five claims after all. Factored into the replacement cost of the roof is the labor cost and the disposal cost (the cost to dispose of the shingles in our area landfills). In both cases, more layers means a more costly roof claim.
Weight: A bundle, or package, of shingles weighs about 70 pounds, depending on the type of composition shingle. When a home has two layers of shingles, the trusses are supporting twice the normal weight of a single layer roof. On a 1,200 square foot home, that’s an additional 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of shingles for the second layer. Add another layer and underwriters are concerned about the roof collapsing. When a roof collapses there is increased cost for property damage, but more importantly, the potential for people to be injured or killed.
One reason some homes have multiple layers of shingles is a homeowner either could not or would not pay to have the original layer of shingles removed after a hail claim. While simply adding a second, or third layer of shingles cost less than replacing the roof, my advice to clients is to always have the roof replaced regardless of how long they plan to live in the home. I also advise home buyers to either negotiate having the seller replace the roof or find another home. This reduces the cost of their home insurance and provides them with more options.
Many of the companies I work with will write an insurance policy on a home with two layers of composition shingles. Some will even write a policy on a home with a composition shingle roof over a layer of wood shingles. The policy may cost more or have a higher wind / hail deductible than if the home has only one layer of shingles, but there will be coverage for the home.
None of my major carriers, however, will write a policy on a home with a three layer roof. One company did offer to write a policy on the home, but they excluded coverage for the roof. In my opinion, that’s better than no coverage, but not by much. What do you think? Share your comments, questions, and experiences with me on my Google +, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you.