Don't Waste Your Money: Roof conditions can affect insurance coverage

(Toledo News Now) - Some homeowners are getting a big surprise. Their homeowner insurance is being canceled because of their roof's conditions.

Is your roof dirty? Does it have dark streaks, or perhaps some green moss or mildew growing on it?

It's not just a nuisance.
Some insurance companies, believe it or not, are now canceling policies because of roofs they consider to be too dirty.

Never Gave It Much Thought

Bob Foppe never thought much about the dark streaks on his roof. After all, it wasn't leaking.

That was until he received a letter from his insurance company threatening cancellation.

"I got a letter from my insurance company," Foppe explained. "They came a day I wasn't home, took some pictures, and didn't like what they saw."

The letter indicated mildew and algae staining on his roof, and on the vinyl siding on the shady side of his house.

"They said if I didn't correct it, they could terminate my policy," Foppe said.

Cleaning Companies In Demand

Mike Jackson runs a siding and roof cleaning business called Roof to Curb Cleaning. It's getting a lot of business these days, now that more and more insurance companies are warning homeowners to clean their roofs.

"It catches them by surprise because roof stains go unnoticed. Until they get the letter,"  Jackson said.

The reason for these letters: Moss can eventually damage asphalt shingles, and insurers don't want to pay for a new roof.

"People are unnecessarily replacing roofs in 10, 12, 15 years, just because of appearance. They don't need to be replaced, they just need to be cleaned," Jackson explained.

A new roof costs $5,000 to $10,000. A professional cleaning costs about $500.

Foppe decided to hire a cleaner. It prevented a costly insurance cancellation.

DIY Or Not?

Websites are filled with suggestions for cleaning your roof yourself, and you can.

But two cautions:

  • Standing on a steep roof is a serious safety risk.
  • If you blast it with a garden hose or pressure washer, you can seriously damage the roof shingles.

So be careful if you try the DIY route, and don't waste your money.