Flat roofs are becoming more and more popular these days for plenty of reasons. They look different, new, and carry a modern appeal. However, at the end of the day, a flat roof is still a roof, which means you’ll likely going to pay insurance for it.
So, does having a flat roof affect my roof insurance rates? And, What is considered a ‘flat roof’ by an insurance company?
In this article, you will learn the answer to these questions and more.
Most people can recognize a flat roof in a single glance. However, since you are dealing with insurance rules, then you have to be technical.
For many roof insurance companies, a roof having a slope of less than 10 degrees, they consider it a ‘flat roof.’
If you have a ‘flat roof’ by technical definition, you will likely pay a higher insurance premium than the typical sloped roof houses because of the risk of defects. This is because insurance companies consider flat roof materials to carry higher risk. Now, here comes another tricky part.
What if only a portion of the house has a flat roof – do you still have to pay for flat roof insurance?
For most insurance companies, the cut-off is around 25% – 30%.
This means that if the flat portion of the house is more than 25% to 30% of the entire roof, then most insurance companies will consider that you have a flat roof.
If you have a house that integrates both sloped and flat roofing, then here’s a tip. You can use Google Earth to check the aerial view of your house. Then, from there, you can segregate the flat and sloped parts. You can then estimate if the flat roof area is more than or less than 30% of the entire roof area. Alternatively you can contact the roofing company who installed your flat roof and ask for the specifics.
To stay profitable, insurance companies need to assess your payments, the risk, and the costs. Generally, they need to calculate the probability of your roof going bad. Then, they need to assess if the combined payments of their customers can satisfy the needs of the customers that are filing a claim plus the profits required to make running the business worth it.
Since a flat roof carries more risk, insurance companies need to charge more to offset the risk.
And, yes – flat roofs do carry more risk like:
* Weather-related risk – the thing with a flat roof is that it offers less protection against extreme weather, cold, and storms than traditional sloping roofs. This is especially for areas that experience higher volumes of strong winds and rainfall as flat roofs tend to collect water and debris. Sloping roofs allow rainfall and debris to slide off to the proper channels.
Because of such, it’s more likely for the flat roof to deteriorate quicker and spring a leak. Consequently, that also means more maintenance. Ultimately, this means more insurance claims.
* Higher-risk of intrusions – take a look at a flat roof and compare it to a sloping one. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that flat roofs are much easier to climb and walk around than a sloped roof. This translates to a higher risk of being intruded on by thieves. As mentioned before, the higher risk would always translate to a higher price in the world of insurance.
When it comes to getting flat roof insurance – you have two options. You can go for the traditional roof insurance companies or a specialist that offers insurance for flat roofs.
Generally, you can get a better deal with a specialist as they have better knowledge and experience with a flat roof. Thus, they can better assess the risk level of your roof. On the downside, you may have to do a bit of digging as specialists are not as common compared to the regular home insurance providers.
Having said that, this is just a general rule as there will be flat roof insurance specialists that will charge higher than the regular ones. Hence, your best bet is to shop and ask both the traditional and specialists.
Keep in mind that insurance companies will look for certain factors or other information to better assess the risk level of your specific roof. Generally, they want to know if the roof has undergone recent repairs. They also want to know the materials being used to know if the roof can better resist bad weather.
Generally, insurance companies like it better if modern materials are used like felt, bitumen, PVC, concrete, or metal. Timber frames and other ‘older’ materials don’t fare well to the risk assessment of most insurance companies.
It’s usual for insurance companies to cover the cost of replacement or repair unless the damage is caused by lack of maintenance or neglect. Also, insurance companies can ask for regular roof inspections every few years. This is beneficial for both parties as you get to keep your property in good health, while the insurance company can avoid paying out for roof replacements or significant repairs.
There are plenty of things you can do to bring down the cost of your flat roof insurance. For example, you can use materials that are known to be durable. You can also do regular maintenance and check-ups on your roof, as this will show the insurance companies that you are not the kind that leaves things neglected.
However, perhaps the biggest factor for getting cheaper flat roof insurance is to shop and compare. The more quotes you can compare, the higher your chances of landing an excellent deal. Furthermore, there are already websites that will grab quotes from several insurance companies. Make good use of them to make things easier for you.
A roof that comes with a slope of less than 10 degrees is considered a ‘flat roof’ by most insurance companies. If your roof has both flat and sloping, it’s still considered as a ‘flat roof’ if the flat roof area is more than 25% – 30% of the total roof area. Insuring a flat room is typically more expensive because of the higher perceived risk.