Insurance is the main reason. A roof that shows signs of deterioration—like lack of tab adhesion, curling at the edges, areas of damage, or granule loss—will fail during any significant windstorm event, such as a severe thunderstorm or a hurricane.
Insurance companies know this, and want to minimize their losses if one occurs. Also, a good roof is simply the most important protective surface for the interior of a home. So most companies now require that any home more than about 15 to 20 years old have a minimum of 5 years of remaining life before insuring the home. Since a 3-tab shingle roof has an average 16-year lifespan in North Florida and a maximum of 20 years, any regular shingle roof approaching 20 years old lacks sufficient remaining life to be insurable no matter what its condition.
Although the condition of the roof is mainly a problem for someone buying a home and getting their initial insurance, occasionally companies request that long-term customers provide proof of the condition of their roof for renewal of the policy. Your agent may be able to find a company that will insure an older home without verification that the roof is in good condition. But the option is not always available and, when it is, the policy costs more. Besides, if an insurance company does not want to take on the risk of your roof’s failure in the near future, why should you?
The form that most inspectors in Florida use to report the condition of a roof is the Citizen’s Insurance “Roof Condition Certification Form,” shown below, which is commonly referred to as “Citizen’s Roof Letter.”
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To learn more about roofs and attics, see these other blog posts:
• Why is my roof sheathing sagging between the trusses?
• Why is granule loss a problem for an asphalt shingle roof?
• What are the mistakes to avoid when doing attic improvements?
• What causes roof shingles to curl up at corners?
• What causes shingles to buckle along a line on the roof?
• What causes leaks at a fake roof dormer?
• What causes a sagging roof ridge line?
• What causes bubble-like blisters in a built-up and gravel roof?
• Why does it cost so much more to replace a steep roof than a low slope roof?
• What is "ponding" on a flat roof?
• Is an attic required to have a light by the building code?
• How can I inspect my roof for hurricane damage?
• Why is premature curl of roof shingles a problem?
• How can I tell if a roof has more than one layer of shingles?
• What are the common problems with attic insulation?
• What is the life expectancy of an asbestos cement shingle roof?
• What's the average lifespan of a roof?
• Why is it a mistake to replace a roof and not replace its flashings?
• Why is there no attic access hatch in the house?
• What is the building code requirement for an attic access hatch, scuttle, or door?
• Does a roof with multiple layers of shingles last longer?
• What can I do to prevent roof leaks?
• Are roof trusses better than roof rafters (stick framing)?
• Why is a popped nail in a shingle roof a problem? How do I fix it?
• What are the most common problems with wood roof trusses?
• What causes a lump or dip in the roof?
• How can I be sure my roofing contractor got a permit?
• How many layers of roofing are allowed on a home?
• What are the dark lines running parallel to shingles on my roof?
• Can metal roofing be used on a low slope/pitch roof?
• How can I make my roof last longer?
• What are the warning signs of a dangerous attic pull-down ladder?
• How can I find out the age of a roof?
• Should I buy a house that needs a new roof?
• Should I buy a house with an old roof?
• What are those metal boxes on the roof?
• What does "lack of tab adhesion" in an asphalt shingle roof mean?
• Why do roof edges start leaking?
• Why do my dormer windows leak?
• Do home inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?
• Should I put gutters on the house?
• How much of a roof truss can I cut out to make a storage platform in the attic?
• What's the difference between an "architectural" and a regular shingle roof?
• What does a home inspector look for when examining a roof?
• Do stains on the ceiling mean the roof is leaking?
• How can I tell if the house needs a new roof?
• Why does my homeowner's insurance want a roof inspection?
• What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic?
Visit our ROOF AND ATTIC page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.