How old is that roof?

Validating roof age is a long-standing challenge for homeowners insurers. Traditionally, many have relied on information provided by the homeowner or agent, an inspector’s visual estimate, or the house’s year of construction as a proxy for roof age. These common methods can fall well short of the roof’s actual age, and the resulting blind spots cost insurers an estimated $1.14 billion in annual premium leakage.1

Property change events can be additional unknowns for insurers in their underwriting workflows. And the problem may be further compounded by the increasing incidence of severe wind, hail, and thunderstorm events—up 50 percent in the past decade compared with the prior ten years, according to Verisk’s PCS business. All of these trends and factors can present a recipe for increased loss ratios.

Verisk's Roof Solutions: A Comprehensive View Of Roof Risk

Addressing the challenges of roof assessment

Verisk’s roof solutions provide insurers with a full range of more reliable sources to verify the age, condition, and characteristics of a roof. Near-real-time building permit data combined with other diverse data sources can play an enormous role in filling the roof age information gap with verified information on when a roof was most recently replaced—in short, the true age. In fact, permitted, residential roof activity has increased a whopping 136 percent in the last five years.2

And there’s still more help available to solve the industry’s broader roof problem. In addition to roof age, critical data points from aerial imagery—such as roof condition, the portion of the roof covered by overhanging trees, and roof shape and material—used in conjunction with weather exposure data can help insurers better determine the remaining useful life of a roof.

With Verisk’s comprehensive roof solution, insurers can gain these advantages and more:

  • Fine-tune rating algorithms to sharpen segmentation and pricing
  • Accelerate quote to bind by prefilling key roof characteristics
  • Prioritize inspection resources on high-risk properties
  • Evaluate catastrophe exposure at the portfolio level
  • Detect significant changes at renewal

Learn more: Watch our on-demand webinar A Comprehensive View of Roof Risk.


  1. Joseph Masters Emison and Holly Tachovsky, “A National Loss Study: The Billion Dollar Impact of Underestimated Roof Age,” Claims Journal, October 3, 2014, < >, accessed on December 15, 2020.
  2. BuildFax, a Verisk business data for residential roof permits, January 2015-October 2020.

Barbara Cheatham

Barbara Cheatham is senior director of BuildFax products at ISO. She can be reached at

Ryan D'Amario

Ryan D'Amario is a senior underwriting product manager, personal property at Verisk. He can be contacted at RD'

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