Re-roofing is an opportunity to put money back in your pocket, ease your mind and better protect your home and everything in it.

How? Get a FORTIFIED™ roof to save up to 35% on insurance premiums* and gain peace of mind with a stronger home.

There's good news. Most homes can be FORTIFIED affordably if you time it right. Re-roofing is one of those times.

There are many ways to goof. Learn how to:

*Savings are based on the level of FORTIFIED chosen and available discounts in your state.

Don't Goof When You Re-Roof ® is an initiative of Smart Home America.

Your Roof

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Without a strong roof, you’re vulnerable. Storm shutters, energy efficient or connected everything, all of it will be useless when your roof is damaged and your house fills up like a bucket. 

While your roof is your home's first line of defense against Mother Nature, it is also its weakest link, unless it's FORTIFIED. Roofs are complicated and have many parts, they are not just shingles or metal.

[VIDEO] A new roof is a big decision and is one of the longest commitments you'll make. Take 93 seconds to learn more about your roof before investing in a new one.

Getting the Roof Right from IBHS on Vimeo.

[VIDEO] Water is the #1 cause of damage during storms, and #1 is not good here. A FORTIFIED roof will keep the water out, even if your shingles blow off. 

Sealed Roof Deck - Water Intrusion from IBHS on Vimeo.

FORTIFIED™

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This fortified has nothing to do with vitamins, wine nor cereal. FYI. 

FORTIFIED Home™ is a nationally recognized building method based on over 20 years of scientific research and real-world observations by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).

[VIDEO] You know those crash test dummies for cars? Well, IBHS doesn’t use them, but they do "crash test" houses and buildings to learn how to build them better and stronger so they are more disaster-resistant.

[VIDEO] The FORTIFIED Home™ program goes beyond current building codes (in most areas) and strengthens your home against storm damage. It's unique systems-based approach requires documenting and verifying all aspects of construction. Learn about the FORTIFIED™ program in three minutes.

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It's not that complicated, is it? To get a FORTIFIED™ roof you have to start with a FORTIFIED Evaluator™. Period. They are third-party, trained inspectors who document your project from start to finish.  For existing homes, they will perform an in-depth review of your home and create a detailed report telling you what steps to take to get your FORTIFIED roof.

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Once you decide to get a FORTIFIED™ roof, your Evaluator can help create a scope of work. Your Evaluator will document all of the work and when the job is finished they'll submit a final report to the engineers at IBHS to ensure your roof meets the FORTIFIED Home™ Bronze standard.

Sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors, who don't believe in goofing when re-roofing. Click their logo to learn how they can help you build stronger and protect your home.

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Fraud

Don't Get Taken, Take Control!

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Fraud, it can happen to anyone. You have damage from a storm, want to get your home fixed and move on, or you may just need some work done.

STOP!

A contractor may look and sound legit and offer a great deal, but don’t let your eagerness cause you to goof, waste money and give yourself years of heartache. 

It is on YOU to protect yourself and do the research before giving anyone your hard earned cash. 

Use our Top Ten Questions To Avoid Contractor Fraud as a guide and please contact us if you have any questions.

Q: 1) Should I hire the first contractor to knock on my door?

Read Answer

A:

Never recommended, ever. 

Door knocking and solicitation are HUGE red flags for fraud. 

If you think you have damage, take pictures, call your insurer and get an adjuster. Don't believe the claims that you'll get a "free" roof or won't have to pay your deductible. Those are false and you will need to pay your deductible. 

In the meantime, do what you can to protect your property and get at least three bids for the work. Any contractor you work with should be licensed, insured, bonded (if required), reputable and ideally local.

Get copies (or take pictures) of insurance, business license(s), contractor's license (if needed in your area), bonding and referrals for any contractor you get a bid from. Then, follow-up with their insurer, your state's insurance departmentyour state's contractor's licensure board, city or municipality and call the references.

Do not let anyone push you into signing anything. You can always walk away.

Q: 2) Do I really need three bids for the work?

Read Answer

A:

Always. 

Shop around, get at least three written quotes (on company letterhead). Make sure references and proof of insurance, licensing and bonding. Then check on those items before comparing quotes. 

The contractors you request quotes from should come out to your house to complete a detailed assessment of your home to understand the work that is needed before quoting you. Accept nothing less.

Also, make sure the quote and contract include a clause for additional, legitimate work that may be needed after the project has started. This happens when re-roofing or rebuilding because some areas of the home are not accessible before a project starts. Unless your contractor has x-ray vision, these are legitimate costs you should plan for, just in case. 

Without this clause, you could be scammed because fraudulent contractors use "surprise" costs to line their pockets without the need for them.  

Q: 3) Do I pay my contractor the full cost, upfront?

Read Answer

A:

Never. 

A small down payment is OK after you sign a contract. Anywhere from 10% to 1/3 of the jobs cost is reasonable. 

Reputable contractors have a line of credit with their suppliers and can afford to wait until the job is done, and done right, to take the full payment.

Some states have laws that set limits on the amount of a down payment contractors can ask for. Find out by contacting your state contractors licensure board.

Also, don't believe any claims that you'll get a "free" roof or won't have to pay your deductible. Those are false and you will need to pay your insurance deductible.

SPEAKING OF CONTRACTS - Your contract should have everything listed in it that you wanted or asked for. If it's not included, DO NOT SIGN IT until it is included in the written contract or estimate. Not including requested work in a quote or contract is a common fraud technique to get more money out of you. 

REVIEW YOUR CONTRACT - If something you requested is NOT included in your final contract, and you ask for it later, it will cost you much more. Yes, even if you already agreed on it verbally and shook hands. REVIEW YOUR CONTRACT and don't sign anything until it's right. If the contractor won't update your estimate, fire them and get a new one. 

FINAL PAYMENT- ALWAYS withhold your final payment, and your sign off on the work, until you are satisfied and after your home is cleared of all construction debris. 

TIP - Use the downpayment as a negotiation point if you like their work but are uncomfortable paying what they ask for up-front. Don't be afraid to walk away. 

Q: 4) Should I believe a contractor when they say they are licensed, insured, bonded and reputable?

Read Answer

A:

No. This is where you take control. 

When getting your three bids, no matter who the contractor is, get copies (or take pictures) of insurance, business licence(s), contractor's license (if needed in your area), bonding and referrals.

Then follow-up with their insurer, your state's insurance department, your state's contractor's licensure board, city or municipality and call the references.

If they can't or won't provide the information, move on and get another bid. 

Q: 5) Do I need to contact my insurance agent?

Read Answer

A:

Yes. 

This is good advice for a few reasons:

    1. They will be able to help you with your claim and give you advice.
    2. You may be eligible for discounts on your insurance if you build back stronger using certain standards, like FORTIFIED

Q: 6) Should I let my roofer or contractor work with my insurer?

Read Answer

A:

No. 

You should be the one to contact and communicate with your agent or insurance company.

If your agent wants to speak with your contractor, that is the only time they should talk. It’s way too easy for scam artists to work the system and you. Get an update from your insurer after their conversation.

NOTE- If you get caught up in a scam or insurance fraud, even unintentionally (like blindly signing a contract without talking with your insurer first), you can also be held liable, face fines or worse. Insurance fraud is a crime. 

Q: 7) Do I need a permit?

Read Answer

A:

Maybe, and you need to find out. 

If your area enforces Building Codes, there is a good chance you’ll need a permit for a new roof or repairs.

Make sure your contractor pulls the permit, that it has your address on it and that you get a copy (take a picture if needed).

If you have questions, contact your local Building Department or Planning and Zoning board. 

Q: 8) Is it okay if my contractor only works on the weekend?

Read Answer

A:

Not usually. 

Now, this is a HUGE RED FLAG if a contractor or roofer will ONLY work on the weekend…the time Building Code offices are closed and no one is looking over their shoulder. This is a possible sign of unpermitted, shoddy and fraudulent work.  

Now, if you've talked with your insurer, done your research, picked a qualified, licenced, bonded, reputable and insured contractor, have a signed contract and a building permit (with your address on it), then sure, weekend work is okay. 

Q: 9) Can I be my own contractor?

Read Answer

A:

You really need to know what you’re getting into.

By acting as your own contractor, you may be personally assuming the liability for any injuries or damage that could happen on the job site if you do not have the right insurance and licensing. If you are using sub-contractors, this is even more important.

Be mindful of the local and state Building Codes, laws and regulations. In many areas, contractors must have general liability insurance, a business license, be bonded and hold a state Home Builder or contractor's licence.

Q: 10) After the work is finished, do I need to let my insurer know?

Read Answer

A:

Yes. 

They will want to know that the work is done and may have some additional information or questions for you.

NOTE- After making major repairs, or upgrading to FORTIFIED, we recommend shopping around for your insurance coverage (again, at least three quotes). 

You could save money and get better coverage. Look into Replacement vs. ACV coverage. Bottom line, get the best value for your budget. Learn more

Insurance Savings

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In some states, a FORTIFIED™ roof qualifies your home for insurance discounts from state wind pools or some insurance companies. 

Currently, four states offer insurance discounts for FORTIFIED: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina.

Click on the map icons to see the FORTIFIED discounts, other discount programs, resources and funding available in your area.  View a list here.

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On mobile? Rotate your phone to landscape for the best map experience.

Get a FORTIFIED™ Roof

Use these steps to get your FORTIFIED™ roof and the insurance discounts and stronger home that come with it.

If you do nothing else, contact a FORTIFIED™ Evaluator.

1) Contact A FORTIFIED™ Evaluator | Do this first! They’ll evaluate your home and create a Current Conditions Report. Then, once you decide to get a FORTIFIED™ roof, they’ll help create a scope of work for quotes, document the work and submit the final inspection report to IBHS engineers to make sure your roof meets FORTIFIED Home™ standards.

2) Review Your Current Conditions Report | This tells you what needs to be done to get your FORTIFIED™ roof. Once you have your Current Conditions Report, contact your Evaluator to develop a scope of work for contractor bids, or if you have any questions.

3) Get Three Bids | Yep, shop around.

1. Get proof that roofers and contractors are licensed, bonded and insured.

2. Make sure the bids include all of the requirements for the “FORTIFIED Home™ Bronze Designation” from your Current Conditions Report. If they don't, or worse, won't do it: get another quote.

3. Roofers and contractors can be very specialized. Make sure they can perform all the work needed to get your roof FORTIFIED™.

4) Choose Your Contractor | While any contractor can do the work, (as long as they strictly follow the guidelines), FORTIFIED Wise™ Professionals are certified and have gone through specialized training to understand the program. 

5) Use The Right Products | Using the right products is key to FORTIFIED™. Give your contractor this link to find FORTIFIED™ qualified products. (http://disastersafety.approvalzoom.com)

6) Take Action | Let your Evaluator know you’ve decided to get a “FORTIFIED Home™ Bronze Designation” for your roof. 

- The Evaluator must be involved in the process from start to finish.

- Connect your Evaluator and contractor by phone, email, text or in person.  

- Your Evaluator will come out during the work and after the project is complete. The number of visits will depend on the work needed.

7) Paperwork | Thankfully, this is what the Evaluator is paid for. They document and take pictures of all the work and submit a detailed report to IBHS engineers, who review and approve FORTIFIED Home™ Designations.

8) $ave Money | Once you get your FORTIFIED Home™ Designation (a certificate), shop around for your insurance. We recommend getting three-five quotes; you may be surprised at the savings available. 

- Once you decide on an insurer, give them your FORTIFIED™ Designation to start saving. Your savings will vary based on where you live and your insurer. 

FAQs

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These should answer most of your questions. If not, contact us.

First, if you're asking any of these questions, contact a FORTIFIED Evaluator™.

  • Can my roof be FORTIFIED™ if it is less than 10 years old?
  • Doesn’t my local code already require a FORTIFIED™ roof?
  • My metal roof automatically qualifies for FORTIFIED™, right?
  • A good contractor built my home, how do I get my Designation?
  • What if my brother/sister/dad/mom/husband/wife/neighbor/cousin (‘s best friend Steve’s old high school classmate) is a contractor?
  • I can pull my own permit, do I need a contractor to re-roof or can I do it myself?

Q: What! I already re-roofed. Did I goof?

Read Answer

A:

Maybe not. Contact a FORTIFIED™ Evaluator to determine your options. We’ll level with you; it can be more expensive, in some case much more, to get a FORTIFIED roof after you’ve already done all the work. You do have options - you can use closed cell polyurethane foam (sometimes called hurricane foam) to create a secondary water barrier and increase the strength of your roof. Contact a FORTIFIED™ Evaluator and at least find out what your options are. They can help.

Q: How big are the FORTIFIED™ discounts and are they worth it?

Read Answer

A:

It depends on what insurance company you are with and where you live. You should shop for your coverage every two years and we recommend getting five separate quotes before deciding. Review our insurance savings section for some more information or contact us. For instance, in Alabama, homeowners are required to receive up to 35% off their wind insurance premiums with a FORTIFIED™ roof. Other states have varying discount and incentive programs. Check with your insurance agent or state department of insurance and make sure you get the savings you deserve.

Q: My roofer insists that putting a metal roof over my old shingles is the best option. Is that right?

Read Answer

A:

Putting a new roof over an old shingle roof is never a good idea. It can actually make the roof vulnerable to leaks and severely restrict your insurance coverage options. The best practice is to ALWAYS remove the old roof covering to allow for an inspection of the roof decking for rotted wood or a weak roof deck that needs additional nailing.

Q: Is a FORTIFIED™ roof really expensive?

Read Answer

A:

In most cases, getting a FORTIFIED™ roof only adds a small amount to the overall cost of re-roofing. That said, because your roof is a system made of many parts, not just shingles or metal, your roof may require additional retrofits to earn a FORTIFIED Home™ Bronze Designation. The only way to really know how much it will cost is to contact a FORTIFIED Evaluator™ and have them perform an evaluation before you start your re-roofing project. Read the FORTIFIED™ “cheat sheet” for a quick rundown of what is required under the FORTIFIED™ program.

Q: I hear a new roof qualifies for insurance credits anyways, is that the same thing as the FORTIFIED™ discount?

Read Answer

A:

While some insurance companies may provide a small credit for a new roof, the credit is generally much smaller and cannot be renewed like the FORTIFIED Home™ discount. Keep in mind too, a FORTIFIED™ roof is designed to protect the interior and your possessions from water damage. A “normal” or code compliant roof is not designed with this additional protection in mind. Your discounts will vary based on the level of FORTIFIED™ you achieve and where you live. Visit our Insurance Savings section for more information.

Q: I have lived here 10/20/30/40/50 years and have never had any damage, why should I get a FORTIFIED™ roof?

Read Answer

A:

Not all homes are damaged in storms. As roofs age, they begin to lose their ability to resist the wear and tear Mother Nature dishes out. Your roof may survive one storm and sustain major roof damage several years later due to the effects of weathering and exposure. FORTIFIED™ homes have been proven to survive with less damage, giving you a better chance of returning to your home after a storm and being able to sleep in your own bed.

Q: How is a FORTIFIED™ roof different from a “normal” roof? Don't the Building Inspectors already look for these things?

Read Answer

A:

Building Codes are minimum standards. A “normal”, or code compliant roof, meets the minimum (lowest) standards for wind resistance, fire resistance and weathering protection for your area. This is what Building Inspectors look for; that your home, and roof, meets the local code.

FORTIFIED™ is code+ in most areas, and requires a third party FORTIFIED Evaluator™ to perform additional checks and file documentation to ensure your home is built to FORTIFIED™ standards. A FORTIFIED™ roof will add additional protection for the interior of your home and your possessions. Even as a FORTIFIED™ roof ages, the additional requirements provide superior protection from water leaks, which cause the most damage and the largest claims during a storm. 

Additionally, a FORTIFIED™ roof is not just about shingles or sealing your roof deck; additional steps may be needed to strengthen your roof to meet the FORTIFIED Home™ standard. Contact an Evaluator to be sure.

Q: I have a FORTIFIED roof, is my house invincible?

Read Answer

A:

Your house is FORTIFIED™, not a fortress. 

One is strong and costs you less to own, the other is a fortress (with a moat and everything). Our goals with FORTIFIED™ are to make your house stronger, give you peace of mind and greatly increase the chances that you have a livable home to come back to after a storm, not to mention save you money on your insurance. 

Let’s be clear, we recommend you evacuate when told to evacuate. GET OUT!

Q: Do I have to use a specific contractor or can I use anyone?

Read Answer

A:

Any contractor can perform the FORTIFIED™ improvements if they strictly follow the process. However, the FORTIFIED Home™ program offers specialized training and maintains a list of FORTIFIED Wise™ Professionals who have taken courses and demonstrated knowledge of the requirements.

Q: My contractor says we don't need a building permit to replace the roof, is this true?

Read Answer

A:

It depends. There are some areas that do not have building departments and do not enforce any building codes. In areas with building departments, a permit to replace your roof may be required. Check with your local building department or planning and zoning department.

Q: How does a FORTIFIED™ roof save me money?

Read Answer

A:

Owning a home costs money: mortgage, insurance, utilities, taxes and maintenance- it adds up. Throw in the cost of an insurance claim or two, and your costs just jumped. This is the cost of ownership, and it never stops. Savings on your wind insurance premiums can pay for the costs of FORTIFIED™ upgrades over the life of your roof. It’s a worthwhile investment with many benefits; peace of mind, lower risk and lower insurance rates, to name a few.

Resources

Dive into the details of FORTIFIED™ with these resources and tips or let a FORTIFIED™ Evaluator guide you into the details. It's your choice.

Videos

Downloads

Links and Tips

Funding

That’s right, there are programs that will help you get a FORTIFIED™ roof.

Strengthen Alabama Homes SAH  Strengthen Alabama Homes Now taking applications

MyStrongHome can fortify your home at no upfront cost to you. Learn more

USDA  Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants   

HUD  HUD 203(k) Loans

Contact Us

If you have questions, email DontGoof@SmartHomeAmerica.org or call 1-855-742-7233.