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Roof maintenance 101: how good upkeep can help you save on home insurance

Jan. 28, 2022
3 mins
roof with snow on the shingles in the winter

It’s always wise to ensure your roof is fully maintained and protecting your home, but with heavy amounts of snow blanketing our homes this winter, it’s even more prudent to get the basics in check and pre-empt any problems before they become expensive and difficult to fix. Doing so can help you save on home insurance for years to come.

Look at what your shingles are telling you

Even if you’re no expert, you want to make sure you’re not being negligent when it comes to roof maintenance. A good place to start is to check your shingles regularly. You may need to climb up top depending on the resources you have on hand. Roof shingles can be viewed with binoculars from a distance, suggests the Insurance Bureau of Canada, and if you are a decent pilot, you can use a drone with a camera to inspect the roof. Things you want to look out for are:

  • Missing shingles
  • Shingles that curl
  • Shingles that are cracked or peeling

Spotting any of these problems early will help you avoid problems later and maintain the safety and protection your roof provides.

Do a post-storm inspection

Post-storm inspection is advisable indoors and out, especially with the snowfall we’re experiencing this year. Any leaks in the attic or ceiling are a red flag that something is wrong up top. Water stains are an obvious sign, but musty odours can also indicate a possible leak, as well as spots on exterior walls and bulging patches on interior walls.

It’s important to consider removing snow from your roof. Heavy snow can cause roof failures and structural damage, as well as injury. It’s wise to consider professionals who can do the job rather than attempting it yourself.

Hire the right home inspector

Once you’ve done your own due diligence, it is advisable to hire a proper roof inspector to find anything you might have missed. A good roof inspector can help you gauge how much life your roof has left. New roofs can last approximately 15 to 30 years. So, if your home is more than 25 years old, it may be time to start budgeting for a replacement.

Don’t forget the gutters

Most people wouldn’t expect their fascia, gutters, or downspouts to create problems for their roof. However, without regular cleaning, caulking, and maintenance of these areas, water overflow or leakage can damage a roof. Chimneys, skylights, and vent openings should also be regularly checked and maintained to prevent water from seeping in.

Keep your home insurance low by preventing roof damage

While the whole idea behind proper roof maintenance is to prevent damage, and as a result, having to make a claim, unpredictable things still happen.

If you intend on making a claim for roof damage, you’ll want a licensed contractor to conduct a proper inspection. If you have the capability, you can cover the leaking areas with a tarp or protective covering, but it’s best to get professional help.

Like most things you insure, proper maintenance will save you money in the long run. Regular inspections, done about once a year, can help prevent damage and offset any issues inspectors may find while they are up there.

If serious repairs or renovations are needed, consider asking your insurance company which materials and roof designs will provide you the best protection and most savings. For more information, speak with your home insurance provider and a roof inspector to stop problems before they get worse.

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Joel Kranc

Joel Kranc is an award-winning writer, author and journalist. Most of his experience lies within the institutional investment and financial services space. He also covers a variety of business topics for publications in North America and the UK.

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