Can Insurance Company Force You to Replace Your Roof?

Services for Real Estate Pros Insurance NPN # 13379201

In some cases, your home’s state of disrepair can become a costly problem for an insurer. When you have loose shingles on your roof, doors that are cracked or easily compromised, and debris lying around your yard, you increase the risk of suffering damages during an insurable incident which increases the likelihood that your insurer will need to pay out a claim at some point. With that said, while it would be in the insurance company’s best interest for you to improve these areas and reduce their risk of claims exposure, they can’t actually make you take action.

The Insurer is Not the Boss of You

Insurance companies are simply companies that agree to pay for the losses you suffer at the hands of insurable incidents. They do not dictate how you can and should keep your home. The insurance company does not get to mandate whether or not your roof is replaced when it reaches a certain state of disrepair, nor do they get to decide when and how you should make repairs to any part of your home. It is ultimately, the responsibility of each individual home owner to decide what, when, and how to make improvements to their home.

What Insurance Company CAN Do

That doesn’t mean insurance companies are completely powerless in compelling you to make changes. If an insurer gets the sense that your lack of repairs is increasing their exposure to risk, they can either raise your rates or decide to not renew your premium.

Insurance companies have a big responsibility to accurately assess risk and take measures to protect themselves against it. They must do this in order to ensure that they will have the funds to pay for all the claims they receive from their other policyholders. If the way you choose to maintain your home increases the risk that you present, then the insurance company has no choice but to raise your rates to reflect that increased risk or to lose you as a customer. If they don’t take these steps, they expose other customers to the possibility that they can’t pay for their claims.

It is always in a homeowner’s best interest to maintain their home to the best of their abilities. In fact, much of the damage that occurs as a result of poor maintenance is less than a home insurance deductible and doesn’t occur as an insurable incident, anyway, which means the homeowner has no one to blame, and no one to pay, but themselves.


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Comments (13)

Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Greaat information. I face issues like this from time to time, with the amount of real estate I own. Not normally about a roof, as I'm pretty proactive about repair, but stuff like handrails or a tree in the yard. 99% of the time, I'll just go along with the recommendation.

Jan 31, 2013 08:48 PM
Frank Laisch
Orlando, FL
"The Insurance Guy"

Thanks Joe, we see this often & mostly tree limbs and minor things. on occasion, we will get roof repairs.  

Jan 31, 2013 08:52 PM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

If your home is in disrepair it is logical for an insurance company to just cancel your coverage.

Jan 31, 2013 08:56 PM
David Cole
David Cole CPA - Orlando, FL
David Cole CPA

I didn't know this could happen. I guess that i keep a clean yard.

Jan 31, 2013 10:16 PM
Amy Stockman
Lakeridge Land Suveying & Mapping, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Lakeridge Surveying

Frank, I see their point. However i would not want to receive a letter stating I needed to repair my roof.

Feb 01, 2013 07:22 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

If I got a letter telling me I HAD to do something, I would be really upset.

Feb 01, 2013 07:46 AM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Frank, it's rather common nowadays for insurance companies to require a roof certification to determine the expected remaining life of the roof and thus whether or not they will renew the policy.  Like you said, it's a matter of reducing risk.  Whether or not the insurance company can "make" someone put on a new roof, homeownership does come with responsibilities and expenses that need to be budgeted for even if they are years out. 

Feb 01, 2013 07:55 AM
Frank Laisch
Orlando, FL
"The Insurance Guy"

Edward, most of the carriers give them a time frame to make repairs, then they will cancel their policy if they are not done

David, good for you. come on over and give me a hand

Amy. it doesn't happen to often, but they periodically do a drive-by to look at properties

Barbara-Jo, Ditto, I would not be happy either

Silvia, Roof Certifications are so common here in Florida. you are so right, homeownership does come with responsibilities

Feb 01, 2013 08:26 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Frank, I never thought of a car insurer requiring repairs to the house, but it makes sense that they would be concerned.

Feb 01, 2013 09:26 AM
Frank Laisch
Orlando, FL
"The Insurance Guy"

Thanks George, typically its the homeowners insurer that will make "recommendations" to the homeowner to clear debris, or make repairs to the home

Feb 01, 2013 07:49 PM
Insurance Solutions
Insurance Solutions Unlimited, LLC - West Palm Beach, FL

This is very good information. if the Insurance company makes recommendations on your home. you can follow the recommendations or get a new Insurance company. NIS can help you with both, Call us

Feb 03, 2013 07:33 PM
Dan Gordy

Now let's get to the truth:

It's almost a typical forced coercion case; either you get the roof or we cancel your policy. And you won't be written anywhere else.

If you cannot afford a roof at that time, bad things start to happen.

The mortgage company forces a policy on you that doesn't even cover your home's contents with premiums THREE TIMES the previous premium. At this point, you can no longer afford the mortgage and you go into foreclosure.

Aug 16, 2015 03:38 AM

The insurance company in mid of policy is telling me that I need to change the entire roof when it does not leak an I have a 2 year warranty on the roof. They are giving me 30 days or they will cancel my blanket policy.

I would change companies but I have to many of properties in this policy and it takes hours on the phone going through all of them with someone new. Hours that I dont have. Is there something simple I can do?

Apr 03, 2020 11:48 AM