Then he picked a new company and switched both his home and auto coverage, never expecting what it was going to cost him.
A few weeks after he switched, his new insurer sent an inspector over to his home in
But the roof on his home wasn't failing, he argued. While it's 18 years old, it was expected to last 25 years, and most of it is in good shape.
"To me, it looked fine," Roberts said.
A city alderman, Roberts started asking around to see if anything like this was happening to other people.
He's heard from dozens of homeowners in
And he's concerned because roofs aren't cheap and many people can't afford that kind of unexpected expense.
Roofs can run
"If you own your own home and have a fixed income, where are you going to get the money in 30 days?" he asked.
Word to the wise
Making an insurance switch to save money on rates? Becoming a new home insurance client is what triggered insurers to send inspectors to look at their roofs, several local homeowners said.
Roberts has been keeping a list of local homeowners who have contacted him about being threatened with denial of coverage unless they replace their roofs, and the companies they've dealt with include American Family, Liberty Mutual,
New roofs on two houses he bought in 2013 cost him
A new roof was on his someday list of improvements for this house, Machota said, but it was a few years down the road since the roof wasn't yet failing. It was late fall and he argued with the insurer that it wasn't the season to reroof a home, he said, but was told any company he switched to would require replacing the roof.
"They said as a new client, they would be required to inspect my roof," he said.
Roberts said he had four roofing companies inspect his roof and three told him it looked OK, though a close appraisal showed moderate wear on certain sections of one side of one gable.
Eventually, he secured a 90-day extension, but he had to show his new insurer a signed contract with a roofer. Then, Roberts said, he switched insurers yet again, and worked out a deal in which his roof is insured separately for its replacement value only.
"Each year, this has become more widespread, more common, more insurance companies," he said.
Sometimes, the roofs really are in bad enough shape to need replacement, he said, "but many are nowhere near ready to be replaced."
Fellow roofing contractor
"We get about 10 calls a week for people saying their insurance companies are telling them they need a roof," he said.
What irks both roofers is insurers often won't take their word for it when they inspect roofs for the homeowners and tell insurance companies roof replacements aren't needed yet, they said.
Both said a professional evaluation requires an inspection at the roof level, "but they don't even go on the roof,"
"I've written probably 50 letters to insurance companies telling them the roof is OK, and they just don't care," Schroeder said.
He's been successful getting insurers to back off a roof demand for a homeowner about 10 to 15 times, Schroeder said, but "half the time these days, I don't waste my time writing a letter."
Of the insurance cases he's been asked to evaluate for homeowners, Schroeder said he'd say 25 percent of the time, the roofs have needed replacement and 25 percent of the time they've been fine. The other half of the roofs fall somewhere in the middle.
"A solid 25 percent have five years or more left, and those people should not get roofs," he said.
The flip side
"That's something we do, yes," he said.
He understands having to replace a roof is frustrating for a customer, he said, but from the insurer's side, roofs are the most common source of homeowner claims filed in
"If you have a new roof, that's the best time to shop for home insurance. That's the biggest discount we offer," he said.
"There may be difference of opinion as to when," she said.
Insurance companies are, by nature, risk-adverse, she said, but this practice isn't only to protect insurance companies, Worters said. Roofs are the first line of defense for homes in wind storms, hail, tornadoes and other weather events.
"It's really for the benefit of the person," she said. "I'm sure they don't feel that way, because they have to pay for it."
Not giving up
Since he signed a contract to replace his roof,
He's filed a complaint with the state
He also wants to continue to hear from other homeowners who are getting roof demands from their insurers, and hopes to get state lawmakers interested in taking another look at homeowner insurance practices.
"I just feel like something has to happen," Roberts said.
Meanwhile, homeowners facing roof replacement demands have options, according to Roberts. For example, they can ask insurers for a printed copy of any home inspection affecting their properties, they should never accept an offer from an insurance agent to send someone to fix the roof, and they should always ask for an extension during the winter and file a complaint with the
Schroeder further advises making sure you get a reputable roofer to look at your roof.
There are plenty of insurers who want your business, he said. If your roof is in OK shape, and you can't work out equitable terms with one insurer, shop around for another, he advised.
"If one of them doesn't want your business because they don't like your roof, I'm sure there's one that does," he said.
1. Failing to pay the premium by the due date.
2. Obtaining your policy under false pretenses.
3. If there is an increase in risk that was originally accepted.
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