US Roof Maintenance Lags: Hanover

By | July 1, 2024

More than half of U.S. homeowners did not check their roofs for issues between February 2023 and 2024, according to a recent report by The Hanover Insurance Group.

Only 38% of survey respondents reported checking for roof issues — including damaged shingles and sealant — and Hanover found that roof inspections were the maintenance task least likely to be undertaken by homeowners.

“That’s eye-opening,” said Dan Halsey, president of personal lines at Hanover. “For whatever reason, people don’t think of their roofs as something they need to maintain. It is what it is. It’s almost like a set it and forget it type of thing, yet 70–90% of catastrophe losses are roof-related.”

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Approximations vary, but Hanover reported that the typical lifespan of a roof is between 20 and 25 years. A total of 15% of survey respondents estimated their roofs were at least 20 years old, and 8% were unsure of the age.

“Based on this, these responses suggest that 23% of homes have a roof that may have reached the lower end of its anticipated lifespan,” Hanover said in the report. Hanover’s research also showed more than a third of homes had windows, water heaters, electrical systems and HVAC systems that had reached the lower end of their anticipated lifespans.

Still, home maintenance is expensive. So, do these investments actually result in insurance cost savings for homeowners? Halsey said yes. Homeowners pay less the newer their roof is, he said, and discounts are applied to homes that have smoke and water detectors, for example.

“Hanover as well as other companies offer up discounts to do that,” he said, adding that “it’s hard to say one number because it does vary between geographies and a lot of other factors that come into play when you’re buying insurance, but the more a customer is protecting their home and self-maintaining their home, the less we charge.”

The full report includes detailed breakdowns by region. Hanover found that Midwest homeowners, for example, are more likely to have cleaned out their gutters in the past year than those in the South and West, and that those in the South and Midwest are more likely than those in the Northeast to have checked their HVAC systems in the past year.

Now more than ever, independent agents and brokers should lean into consultation, Halsey said.

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“[Agents have] been doing an amazing job consulting around coverages, and we think there’s an opportunity for them to expand that even more and start talking about how you take care of your most important asset,” he added.

“Homeowners don’t want to experience the stress and disruption from a loss,” Halsey said. “Taking care of their property gives them more control over the impact unpredictable weather can have on their homes. Together with a knowledgeable independent insurance agent to guide them, consumers can ensure they have the right insurance protection and the right maintenance routine to help preserve their homes for years to come.”

Topics USA

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