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Tornadoes Leave Widespread Devastation Across Midwest

How Roofing Materials Impact Home Insurance Rates

November 15, 2013

Your roof and your home insurance

To a home insurance company, the roof is the most important part of your house. Why? Because it's the gateway to far greater damage claims once it's breached.

"The roof is the first layer that wind, hail, wildfire and other hazards really begin to act on," says Tim Reinhold, chief engineer at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, an independent, nonprofit research organization based in Tampa, Fla. "In more than 90 percent of hail or high-wind claims, there is a payout relative to the roof cover."

With insurance, a lot rides on your roof. Because insurers have a vested interest in your roof, they price your home insurance accordingly, based on the soundness of its construction and what it will cost them to replace it. Note also that premium incentives and disincentives for roof types vary widely by company and location. "If you live near a wildfire zone, you pay a lot if your roof is (made of) cedar shakes compared to asphalt shingles that are flame-retardant, or a metal roof that doesn't burn," says Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America. "Some companies won't even insure certain roof types, such as wood shakes, in high fire-risk areas." Hunter says to check with your home insurance agent or broker before you build or replace your roof to see what impact your roofing type might have on your premium. "Companies are moving more and more toward 'actual cash value' coverage for a roof and not paying the full replacement cost," he adds.

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