Skip to Main Content

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.

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 Gipson

Barbara Gipson is senior director of personal property product management at Verisk. She can be reached at

Ryan D'Amario

Ryan D'Amario is a Director, Personal Lines Property Product Management, at Verisk. He can be contacted at RD'

You might also like

Visualize Subscribe

Get the best of Visualize!

Get the latest news and insights straight to your inbox.

Subscribe now

You will soon be redirected to the 3E website. If the page has not redirected, please visit the 3E site here. Please visit our newsroom to learn more about this agreement: Verisk Announces Sale of 3E Business to New Mountain Capital.