hand holding many large hail balls
How Your Roof Material Affects Your Home Insurance Premium


Common forms of damage to a home involve wind and hail. Texas ranks #1 in hail alley, with over a million properties affected by hail damage each year. The Texas Department of Insurance incentivizes homeowners to invest in more durable roofs that resist damage from storms, especially when the average cost for a new roof is $4,900 – $14,100.
 
The following three factors go into calculating this discount:

  1. Whether you have dwelling or homeowners insurance
  2. Your house’s location based on specific territories
  3. The type of roofing materials used on your home

The roofing material holds the most weight when determining your discount. Materials are ranked using the UL test standard 2218. All roofs are classified on a 1 – 4 point scale, with 4 being the strongest. The strength of the roof is tested by dropping steel balls of increasing size on the roofing materials to see what type of damage the shingles can withstand. 

Class Steel Ball Diameter
Class 1 1.25 in projectile
Class 2 1.50 in projectile
Class 3 1.75 in projectile
Class 4 2.00 in projectile

The balls drop through a funny looking tube contraption:

tube contraption for testing roof hail resistance
Source: Insurance Institue for Business and Home Safety

If the material is not torn or dented from the impact, the material passes the test—the higher the classification, the better the discount. Expect discounts up to 35% if you can meet Class 4! 

Here are the most common types of roofing materials and how they rank, as well as their average useful life. Most roofing materials can range from Class 1-4 on the impact scale above based on the quality of the material installed.
 
Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt is the most common roofing material you’ll find on American homes. They’re affordable, easy to install, and have an average lifespan of over 20 years. Because you can get various types of asphalt shingles, they range between a 1-4 on the impact scale with the more expensive ones offering better protection.
 
Clay Tile Shingles
These types of shingles are better at reflecting wind than hail. They can hold up against 125 mph winds but aren’t the best against high impact damage. However, they’re long-lasting with an average lifespan of up to 100 years.

no way ladybird GIF by A24

Concrete Tile Shingles
These types of shingles are similar to clay, but shorter lifespan. They have an average lifespan of 50 years.
 
Slate Shingles
Slate is an eco-friendly roofing option because these shingles are cut directly from the rock. They hold up well to the wind like clay tiles, but impacts can create chipping and cracking. The other downside is that they’re costly. But, they offer a long lifespan of up to 100 years.
 
Metal Shingles
Metal shingles are affordable and one of the most durable roofing options available, especially when it comes to wind. Whether metal shingles or panels, you’ll have a barrier between you and powerful storms. Their sleek surfaces are also great for repelling water and snow, making them ideal for wetter climates. Usually, metal roofs have a lifespan of 40 years.
 
Rubber Roofs
These durable and affordable roofing covers are standard on townhomes and rowhomes. They’re usually made out of recycled rubber, reducing waste while guarding well against water. They have a lifespan of 40 years.
 
Plastic Shingles
Plastic shingles are excellent at imitating other types of roofing and can vary in durability based on the material. Some synthetic shingles tend to crack and fade in intense heat. Other shingles are specifically to reduce wind and hail damage from hurricanes. Like asphalt shingles, quality can vary. They have a lifespan of 20-40 years.
 
Wood Shingles/Shakes
Wood shingles are one of the cheaper options, but where you save on cost, you lose on durability. They’re not ideal against wind and are more typical in milder climates. One positive is that they’re environmentally friendly and can be easily recycled when they’re past their lifespan. They have a lifespan of 20-40 years for a wood shake and 30-40 years for wood shingles.

 shingle vs shake on roof

Solar Tiles
Solar tiles are perhaps the most expensive type of roofing you can have for your home. These shingles look similar to other types of tiles, either asphalt or tile, but work like solar panels. They’re great at resisting wind and hail. And with tax rebates and lower energy bills, there are plenty of ROI positive incentives for choosing solar tiles for your home. They often come with a lifetime guarantee (the life of your house). 

No matter what roof you choose, know that it will have a LARGE impact on what you pay for homeowners insurance. The roof is the most critical part of the home in the eyes of the carrier, as roof claims are prevalent. Expect your roof to be the key driver of price.

At your service,
Young Alfred