It takes two to make a thing go right … except when it’s your home’s roof!

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We were well into the purchase process when I got a call from my client. She was upset and confused because the homeowner’s insurance quotes she was receiving were much higher than anticipated. When we reviewed the numbers together, they were double what I expected! We made a call to the insurance company to see what was up, and we got a surprise.

We were told that roof had two layers of shingles and the insurance company felt that posed a potential risk. We had reviewed the seller’s sales disclosures and knew there were two layers, but how did they know?

I spoke with my insurance expert, Melanie Flamand from Thompson Insurance group. She gave me the scoop: “Insurance companies are using either drone footage or Google Earth pictures to determine the strength of your roof. If they deem it in ‘poor condition,’ you could receive a cancellation notice, or a recommendation to replace by the renewal date.”

“It’s not only roofs,” she added, “it’s also yard debris, driveways and outbuildings.”

This was not great news for my client. Melanie suggested we have a licensed, insured roofing contractor inspect the roof to provide a status of sustainability to present to the potential insurer. We took the time to complete the process, and my client was able to reduce the quote significantly.

It’s likely that your insurance company is now using drones to make decisions about your policy and its pricing. If you want to keep your insurance costs low, it’s best to avoid a second layer of shingles on the roof. If your roof needs to be replaced, get more than one quote, and scrutinize each quote to ensure that they include the appropriate underlayment, roofing shingles with a decent warranty, “ice and snow” barrier with drip cap and high-grade chimney flashing.

Also, perform seasonal maintenance on your roof by blowing off leaves and trimming trees that might drop excessive leaves and branches. Make sure outbuildings are neat and not overflowing with the fun things you collect. Better maintenance on your part may result in lower insurance costs.

As drone technology continues to advance, its applications in the insurance industry are likely to expand. Integration with artificial intelligence and machine learning could further enhance the capabilities of drones, enabling automated detection of damage and predictive analysis for maintenance needs.

Is this great news? I’ll leave that for you to decide. If you have insurance questions, please reach out to Melanie Flamand at melanie@thompsoninsurancegroup.net

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.