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If you’re in the market to buy a new home, you already know there are a number of key factors to look for in a potential property. Outside of your personal “must have” list, it’s important to make note of potential issues like mold, structural damage, the quality of the roof, and so on.

A home’s roof, in particular, is instrumental for keeping the property (and your family inside) safe, warm, and dry. But when a roof is damaged or too old, it can be costly to replace…and be reason enough to choose a different property altogether.

Red flags like missing shingles or a sagging ceiling may clue you in to a number of expensive repairs down the road. Conversely, if a roof has all its shingles, looks strong and clean, and has clean gutters, it may have been well maintained.

Meanwhile, the age of the roof can tell you quite a bit too. On average, it’s recommended to have shingle roofs replaced about every 20 years. So if the home you’re looking to purchase has an older roof, there are some considerations you’ll need to make. Specifically, insuring an older roof can cause some issues, even if it’s still in great shape.

Here’s what you need to know about buying a house with a 20 year old roof:


Homeowners insurance carriers are primarily concerned with a roof’s ability to protect a home from strong winds, hail, and water damage. Since the roof is one of the first barriers of weather to the property, it needs to not only stand up to the elements, but to the test of time too.

When determining a homeowners insurance premium, there are a number of factors involved in calculating coverage. In addition, there are only certain situations where a claim can be covered for roof damage.

What Affects Roof Insurance Coverage?

There are a number of factors that come into play when your homeowners insurance assesses rates and coverage based on your roof:

  • Age of the roof: Age is one of the biggest factors used when determining coverage. If you’re buying a home with a 20 year old shingle roof, your agent might recommend replacing the roof for better coverage, or they might only offer actual cash value for any future claims.
  • Condition of the roof: Age is one thing, but condition is another. In fact, even if you have an older roof that’s in great condition, the age may be overlooked.
    By proactively keeping your roof in good condition, your premium could be lower as a result, as you should have more insurance carriers competing for your business. Continue to maintain the roof over time with professional roofers who can repair minor issues and recommend when it’s time to replace the roof.
  • Material of the roof: Metal and tile roofs offer the most protection for a home and hold up well over long periods of time. Meanwhile, wood or shingles are more likely to be damaged from wear and tear or disasters (such as fires), gradually reducing the appetite of insurability.
  • Shape of the roof: Certain types of roof shapes are more susceptible to damage. For instance, hip roofs (those with four sides in the shape of a pyramid) are often cheaper to insure than those with gable roofs (those with two sides: think A-frame), which can have more risk of wind damage. Flat roofs tend to have more risk of water damage, so they tend to be a bit harder to insure.

If you’re buying a new home with an older roof, take all of these factors into consideration.

When Will Homeowners Insurance Pay for a New Roof?

If you sustain damage to your roof, here’s what will generally be covered by your homeowners insurance policy:

  • Fallen debris
  • Fallen trees
  • Fire
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Snow or ice
  • Winds (like those from a hurricane or tornado)

As always, it’s critical that you read your homeowners insurance policy closely to understand what is (and isn’t) covered in your unique policy.


If you’ve found your dream home, but the roof is 20 years old (and still in good condition), what can you do?

If you’d like to hold off on replacing the roof and still purchase a home with an older roof, you’ll still need to secure homeowners insurance.

Many insurance carriers will simply not cover a roof that is 20 years old or more. Instead, they will recommend that you replace the older roof.

However, if you’ve been denied insurance coverage due to an old roof, it’s still possible to find a policy. High-risk homeowners insurance is available but can be costly due to the risk for possible claims involved.

Between the low potential payout value and high premium for high-risk homeowners insurance, insuring an old roof isn’t a great long-term plan. However, it could help in the short-term while you purchase the home and prepare to replace the roof.


If you choose to purchase a home with an older roof, there are ways you can help your roof last longer while you save for a replacement.

  • Get inspections: Start with an inspection when you purchase the home, then continue getting regular inspections to ensure your roof is still in good working order.
  • Keep trees trimmed: Hanging branches over or close to your home can cause potential damage if they fall from heavy wind or storm. Tree limbs located too closely could also mean animals have easy access to climb onto the roof and cause damage.
  • Keep updated records: From current photos of the roof’s condition (should there be a future claim) to maintenance records, be sure to keep plenty of records regarding your older roof.


When you’re considering buying a new home with an older roof and want to replace that roof immediately, you’re probably curious how much it’s going to cost. While there are a number of factors involved in calculating a roof replacement, the average shingle roof will cost approximately $8,500 to replace.

That said, some shingle roofs can cost as little as $5,500 or as much as upwards of $30,000 to replace depending on the size of home. Factors like the type of material used, access to your roof and condition of the home, and permits and licensing will all affect the total cost.

Choosing to purchase a home with a roof that is 20 years old (or older) is a big decision. Take these points into account and find an insurance carrier that works best for you and your unique situation.

If you need help finding the best homeowners insurance coverage for the best price, start by speaking to a SimplyIOA agent at 833.872.4467 or get a homeowners insurance quote online now.

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