How Roof Type Impacts Home Insurance

The wrong roof type can make your insurance more expensive — or even make it tough to find a policy. Explore how your home's roof material can influence your premium.

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How do roofs affect homeowners insurance?

Insurance companies will inquire about the state of your home’s roof and it’s not difficult to figure out why — the roof is your dwelling’s first line of defense against external hazards like windstorms, hail and other severe weather events typical of natural disasters.

An older roof may not withstand wear-and-tear as well as a newer one, and certain roof types and materials are more resilient than others. Insurers take these details into consideration when underwriting policies and calculating rates.

While roof type and condition are usually not as important as your home's location and replacement cost, the liability of insuring an old roof concerns underwriters when the dwelling itself is also old. If a home inspection reveals that the roof is not in the best condition, the insurance company may refuse to offer coverage until it’s fixed or repaired. Learn more about whether home insurance covers roof repairs.

Continue reading to learn more about the relationship between home insurance and roofs (and how much you can expect to pay).

Roofs and homeowners insurance — table of contents:
  1. A guide to roof types and materials
  2. How do roofs affect premiums?
  3. Roof maintenance and considerations

 


 

What are the different types of roofing?

Roofs come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common are essentially different iterations of the following roof designs.

Gable roofs

Gable roofs have the quintessential upside-down two-sided V-shape, but this roof type can be more susceptible to wind damage than others.

Flat roofs

Insuring a home with a flat roof can be more expensive as they have shorter lifespans; these roofs are more likely to sustain water damage over time as moisture can accumulate instead of dripping off like it would on an angled roof.

Hip roofs

A variation on gable roofs, the primary difference between these types is that hip roofs are usually four-sided. Insurance companies generally consider hip roofs to be tougher against weather damage than gable or flat roofs.

While the type or design of the roof doesn’t hold as much weight as its material and age, roof type provides insurance companies additional information to help assign rates.

 

Roofing materials and insurance

Detailed below are some of the most prevalent roof materials found today — it’s likely your own home’s roof is made out of one of these materials:

Asphalt

The most common roof material in the US, asphalt shingles are popular because they are an affordable option that can withstand many environmental conditions. However, the life expectancy of an asphalt roof is not as long as concrete, slate or metal roofs.

Concrete

Concrete tiles are an excellent option for roofing as it can defend against things like hail damage, high winds, and torrential rainstorms. Given its durability, concrete roofs also have a long lifespan if installed and maintained properly.

Metal

The fire-resistant properties of metal roofs are considered a big plus in the eyes of insurance companies. Because they tend to be more lightweight than asphalt and concrete, however, homeowners should be aware that metal roofs can be more vulnerable to damage and dents from hailstorms.

Slate

Slate roofs are also appealing to homeowners and insurance companies as they are resistant to fires, insects and pests, and water damage — and considered to be the most low maintenance roofs around. One caveat is that slate roofs tend to be more expensive but less resistant to hail damage.

Wood

Because wood isn’t fire-resistant, home insurance companies could hesitate to insure houses with wood roofs — especially if it’s made of wood shakes and the home is on the older end. You may have a difficult time finding an insurance company to cover your home if the roof isn’t treated with fire retardant or replaced completely.

 


 

How roofs impact home insurance rates

Home Insurance Premiums by Roof Material.png

Concrete, asphalt, metal and slate roofs come with lower premiums (on average, about $100 per month) due to their hardier properties. Homeowners with wood roofs can expect to pay an extra $160 a year.

Don’t know where to start in finding the best rate? Consult the table below to see average premiums from top home insurance companies, broken down by roof materials. See more about our rate-gathering methodology.

ANNUAL AVERAGE PREMIUMS BY ROOF TYPE
Insurance CompanyAsphaltConcreteMetalSlateWood
Allstate$1,439$1,411$1,403$1,418$1,524
American Family$1,543$1,198$1,435$1,190$1,507
Farmers$1,671$1,545$1,624$1,642$1,809
Liberty Mutual$1,355$1,358$1,309$1,275$1,411
Nationwide$1,154$1,075$1,136$1,077$1,228
State Farm$1,493$1,493$1,604$1,493$1,682
Travelers$1,220$1,168$1,156$1,168$1,315
USAA$1,419$1,138$1,372$1,386$1,521


See how much you can save on homeowners insurance by using The Zebra’s comparison tool below to see quotes from companies across the U.S.

Find a home insurance policy today!

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How to keep your roof in good condition: maintenance tips

Proactive maintenance and regular upkeep of your home are expected of you by your insurer. This includes roof maintenance.

Roof repairs and roof replacements are notoriously expensive, and insurance coverage will not step in unless the roof damage was caused by a covered peril. There are some basic measures homeowners can take to ensure their roof is properly maintained.

  • Take photos of your roof to document its condition, especially if there’s a chance of damage, like an impending storm.
  • Clean gutters and remove debris from the roof regularly, as this can cause water to gather and seep into or under the roofing structure.
  • Get the roof inspected regularly by a professional. Doing this is integral in detecting issues before they become a larger, more expensive problem. Replacing shingles over time will be much cheaper than fixing the water damage that often comes with damaged or worn shingles.

 

Additional content

Kristine Lee LinkedIn

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent and one of The Zebra’s in-house content strategists. With a background in copywriting, she covers the ins and outs of the home and car insurance industries. She has contributed to numerous publications focused on the nuances of insurance, including Automoblog, USInsuranceAgents.com, and BestCompany.com.