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Your roof is your home’s first defense against Mother Nature and re-roofing is an opportunity to put money back in your pocket. Have you heard us say this? We say it all the time because, well, it’s true!

Your roof must withstand rain, thunderstorms, hail, hurricanes, and tornadoes, not to mention the cold, sun and heat to protect your home and all of your personal property. Before you or a family member need a new roof, take some time to learn about our initiative Don’t Goof When You Re-Roof. It was created to help homeowners save money when re-roofing while making their homes resistant to severe weather.

How Can a Roof Save Me Money?

By using a roofing method that strengthens your home against high winds, water intrusion, and wind-driven rain, many insurance companies will give you an insurance discount. In five states, insurance companies agreed that the FORTIFIED building and roofing method was the wind mitigation standard of choice and supported legislation which allows them to give discounts for it.

FORTIFIED is our re-roofing method of choice because it’s based on over 20 years of research and testing and for its straight forward, common-sense approach. In many other states, you still get discounts for using FORTIFIED, it's just that the insurance discounts can be easy to miss because they are “a la carte.” You need an insurance agent who is willing to put in the time to identify and compare all the features of FORTIFIED against the mitigation credits available in your state.

How Can I Extend the Life of My Roof?

Take care of your roof and have it regularly inspected. That way, you can be aware of smaller problems and fix them before they become irreversible. Another trick is to keep trees around your home trimmed. Branches that rub against your roof weaken the areas with friction and strain. Of course, large limbs falling on your roof is not good either, as they can cause major damage. Finally, if you have certain trees that do not hold up in high winds near your home, consider removing and replacing them. Look at this research from the University of Florida on which trees stand up to storms best and which fail the most.

When Should I Re-Roof?

That depends. In ideal circumstances, with regular inspections and maintenance, asphalt shingle roofs can last between 15 to 25 years, depending on the exposure conditions. The industry is trending towards a 15 to 20-year maximum roof life, regardless of what your shingle warranty says. Many insurers will increase your insurance rates at 15 years and some will drop you or insist you get a new roof at 20 years. Metal roofs can last as long a 50 to 60 years or more. It really does depend on the materials used, what conditions your roof is exposed to, and if you inspect for and repair damages regularly.

I’m Ready to Re-Roof, Now What?

There are a couple of things you should do before the work begins.

-Talk to your insurance agent or adjuster. After storms, your adjuster will be able to help you with a storm damage claim and you may qualify for discounts if you build your new roof to higher standards (like FORTIFIED). Check to see if you have Law and Ordinance Coverage as well; this helps cover the additional expense to bring your roof up to the current building code. If you don’t have it, that cost comes out of your pocket. Re-roofing to the current code is typically not an option.

-Shop around for a contractor. Whether you’re re-roofing because of storm damage or just wear and tear, you should get at least three written contractor bids and compare your options. Make sure the contractor you choose is licensed, insured and bonded (ideally bonded, learn what that means here). You should get copies or take pictures of all these documents for your records. Also, contractors should never ask you to pay in full before work is completed. However, a small amount after you sign a contract is okay. Read more tips to avoid being a victim of fraud.  

-Re-Roof to a Higher Standard. You only re-roof once or twice during the life of a mortgage; we recommend doing it right and saving money in the long run on insurance. After you’ve found a reputable contractor, you should consider re-roofing to the FORTIFIED standards. They have proven track records of being hardier than normal building codes. A stronger roof also means cheaper recovery costs if you get hit by a storm, too. Plus, a study by the University of Alabama shows that a FORTIFIED Designation increases a home's value by nearly 7%.

-You can check out our website for a step by step how-to for re-roofing to FORTIFIED standards. Finally, make sure your contractor is pulling the proper permits. You can check before construction begins by contacting your local Building Department or Planning and Zoning board. Be sure your correct address is on the permits and to get copies for yourself.

-Get the Insurance Discounts you Deserve.  FORTIFIED or not, you get a new roof discount. Most new roof discounts go away after five years because after five years it's not new anymore. A FORTIFIED discount can be renewed until a home needs to be re-roofed again. Regardless, be sure to let your insurance company know you have re-roofed. You should also remember to shop your insurance every few years, just to make sure you are getting the best deal possible.

For more information about insurance, roofing or fraud, visit DontGoof.org. Good luck on your next roofing project, and remember, Don’t Goof!