House Insurance inspections

For the past five years our rental was covered by one major insurance company. We switched last month to another major provider because we got a better rate/coverage. Yesterday we got a letter from the new provider stating that during a routine inspection of all newly insured properties it was noticed that the roof is in need of repair. If we don’t fix it by January 26 they will drop our coverage.


Is the roof old and worn? Yes, but still servicable. Was I planning to replace it? Eventually, but not any time soon. I don’t like the fact that they are strong-arming me - do this or else! I believe that this inspection policy should have been made known before the switch. Our original insurer never mentioned anything about an inspection or the need to replace the roof. Nonetheless, we have called yet another provider and have been given an even better rate. However, we are concerned that if we switch again we may be hit with the hidden inspecton. Is this normal policy now? We are leary of asking the third provider about this in fear that they will do an inspection that they might not normally have considered. One other important note is that this is a duplex in which we only own one half. The roof is shared with an owner/occupent. When we first purchased our half I spoke with the other owner about a new roof and he eluded to the fact that he didn’t have the money. I am not going to pay for the entire roof, that’s for sure.

Any thoughts/ideas?


Many times an insurance co will send someone out to drive by a bunch of newly insured houses (or existing ones for that matter). Our insurance company requires foundations to be fully encloses with block or brick, handrails installed for steps, etc. If they drive by and find things out of compliance, you’ll get a letter.
There was one house we bought that we got a good discount on because the roof was tarped in 3 places. It was going to cost about $4500 for a new roof and we knew that going into it. We bought it and had the roof work started about 2 weeks after we closed. During the initial 2 weeks, the insurance rep did a drive by and noticed the bad roof. End result was we got basically the same letter that you did…fix it in 30 days or we’re dropping coverage.
You can talk to your agent about it. Might even need to get someone to check out the roof and give you a report.
As for the other owner, good luck…

It’s routine for any insurance company to send the agent out to look at the property and to take photos. They all do it.

I just had my first insurance inspection yesterday. The inspector came out and took photos of the electrical panel, the furnace, and the plumbing. He also measured the outside dimensions of the house.

It’s a new policy. It’s not a new-to-me house, and it’s in good repair, so I am not expecting any problems from the inspection.

The inspector was telling me that he does inspections for several different insurance companies, and some of the companies do inspections every 2-3 years.

I predict more inspections for more companies because of the number of buildings that are “accidentally” burning down in this economy.

Just around the corner from the house I had inspected, a house burned down. The house had been for sale for 2 years. The owner claims that a tenant was living in the house, but I know the house has been vacant. A legit fire? Makes me wonder.

Several marginal businesses have burned down and bunches of houses that haven’t sold. Insurance companies must be feeling edgy.

WOW!! WTF! is right! I guess I’ve always been lucky to never
have an insurance company demand that I fix anything. Usually
it’s just a phone call and a detailed list of the houses attributes.
Maybe it’s like the last guy said, that they’re worried about people "
burning down the house" in this economy.

I find it interesting that they could determine your roof needs repair
unless it’s extremely obvious or they climbed up on it.

I’m going to call my agent Monday and see if this is the trend or
just an anomaly.

For chissake, how hard is it to step on the curling shingles and nail another layer of shingles on top?! You don’t need to take the old layer off and replace the shingles or plyboard. You can have up to three layers of shingle on the roof. Home Depot even sells a book for $20 on how to install it with pictures. It’s not hard. It takes just one day to nail another layer on top of the existing one on your side yourself. Home Depot will even use the truck crane and lower the bundles on the roof and give you the shingles interest free for up to six months to a year on their store credit card.

Save yourself the heartache from tenants calling you when it does leak or risk getting much more costly water damage to the joists from a slowly leaking roof and just do it. You want to be a landlord, you need to be prepared to get your hands dirty. Everybody wants to get rich quick in real estate rentals and rehabs without doing the work. That’s not how it works…

Try getting a quote from an agent who handles Great Northwest Insurance. I just did and the local agent makes the determination as to insurability, not a later inspector.

We just replaced our old insurance with them. On another recently purchased property, Foremost Insurance just sent us a cancellation letter if we didn’t repair a bad spot of shingles under the swamp cooler and also fixed missing boards on the front porch deck. We would have done those things anyway, just hadn’t gotten to it yet.

FYI Dave Windsor, insurance companies in my area won’t insure a roof with 3 layers anymore. It’s got to all be ripped off and just 1 new layer put on. So I sure wouldn’t go ahead with a 3rd layer without checking with the insurance company first.

If you replace your insurance, be sure to formally cancel the previous policy. Otherwise it will be recorded as a “no pay” and could affect your credit/ability to get other insurance.


The other point about adding a layer of shingles is you take about half the life off those shingles by putting them over another layer.

No I don’t want to be a landlord - never did. This is a fix and flip that turned into a rental…but thanks for the lecture.

Did you miss the 1st sentence where I mentioned I’ve had this place for 5 years? Trust me, I’ve done plenty of work & gotten my hands plenty dirty. Everything has been done by “me”. When the tenants call, I fix it ASAP. Please don’t tell me that I am trying to get rich quick.

Did you also miss the part where I mentioned that I know I will need to replace the roof? I will do it when my funds dictate. I don’t need the inurance agency telling me to do it now or else. Especially when I know it still has some good years left in it. And if the insurance agencies are going to implement these types of policies, they should tell the customer up front what is going to happen.

Oh, and climbing up on a snowy, icy roof in December isn’t going to happen either.

If you don’t want to be a landlord and this is not about getting rich quick, why don’t you sell it? Just get out of it. Sell the place at a loss and keep your sanity. It doesn’t seem like you enjoy the kind of challenges this field brings up anymore. I’ve fallen off roofs and ladders, gotten cuts, stitches and bruises and I still do it because I enjoy doing it. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. Do something you like to do.

Yes, but it takes time to remove the old shingles and all the nails. Then you have to put new tar paper on before nailing new shingles on. Then you have to rent a bin and pay for garbage removal. You’ll need to hire a few people because it’ll take you several days to do it alone if you’ve got the energy. Plus it might rain during one of those days. And you don’t even know if you’re gonna keep the house another 15 years or sell it and get something bigger.

Even though you’ve cut the life of the new shingles, taking into account your time, imo you’re still better off overall to nail another layer on.

I’ve never heard of an area that allows three layers.
I know two is the limit here in central IL

Just in the last 2 years here insurance companies quit quoting on the 3-layer roof. Realtors now know it and are letting sellers know: “If the buyer can’t get insurance you are going to have to replace that roof.” Even though it still looks good.

Beware the 3-layer roof.


3 layers for me too.

Mattman, are you in Florida? I’ve heard of that kind of thing happening here wiht the ins. co’s.