An eye-opening report published by The Hanover Insurance Group showed that between February 2023 and 2024, more than half of U.S. homeowners did not check their roofs for issues, among other household maintenance concerns.

The report shows that, in the aggregate, less than 40% of survey respondents nationwide reported checking for roof issues, including damaged shingles and sealant. Hanover found that roof inspections were the maintenance task least likely to be undertaken by homeowners.

“For whatever reason, people don’t think of their roofs as something they need to maintain,” Dan Halsey, president of personal lines at Hanover, explained. “It is what it is; it’s almost like a set it and forget it type of thing, yet 70–90% of catastrophe losses are roof-related.”

While approximations vary, Hanover reported that the typical lifespan of a roof is between 20 and 25 years. A total of 15% of survey respondents estimated their roofs were at least 20 years old, and 8% were unsure of the age.

“Based on this, these responses suggest that 23% of homes have a roof that may have reached the lower end of its anticipated lifespan,” Hanover said in the report. The insurance company's research, conducted through The Harris Poll, also showed that more than a third of homes had windows, water heaters, electrical systems, and HVAC systems reaching the lower end of their anticipated lifespans.

As most homeowners will attest, home maintenance is expensive, so a reasonable question to ask is whether maintenance investments result in insurance cost savings for homeowners. Simply put, Halsey said “yes”: homeowners pay less for premiums the newer their roof is, and discounts are applied to homes with smoke and water detectors, for example.

“Hanover as well as other companies, offer up discounts to do that,” he said, adding that “it’s hard to say one number because it does vary between geographies and a lot of other factors that come into play when you’re buying insurance, but the more a customer is protecting their home and self-maintaining their home, the less we charge.”

The full report includes detailed breakdowns by region, but nationwide, 62% of respondents did not check their roof for issues, including damaged shingles and sealant. The most diligent homeowners, relatively speaking, reside in the Northeast, where only 41% of homeowners conducted an inspection. The numbers drop from there, with Midwesterners fairing the worst: just 35% of homeowners checked to ensure their roof’s integrity remained intact. 

Conversely, Hanover found that Midwest homeowners are more likely to have cleaned out their gutters in the past year than those in the South and West and that those in the South and Midwest are more likely than those in the Northeast to have checked their HVAC systems in the past year.

Damage related to roofs accounts for 70-90% of residential losses in catastrophic weather events. When homeowners remain diligent about the state of their roofs—monitoring for broken or missing shingles or moss growth—simple repairs and upkeep can head off major damage and claims down the road, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

“Homeowners don’t want to experience the stress and disruption from a loss,” Halsey said. “Taking care of their property gives them more control over the impact unpredictable weather can have on their homes.”

To read the full report, click HERE.