Each year, around 3 million homeowners replace their old and worn-out roofs with new roofs. Unfortunately, many of these homeowners are unaware that they need to protect their investment with a warranty for the new roof. If a homeowner does not purchase a warranty for the new roof, then the warranty on the previous roof is typically invalidated. This can leave homeowners in an unfortunate situation if something goes wrong with their new installation, but they do not know that they have any recourse.

Asphalt Shingle Warranties: A Necessity

Asphalt shingles are generally warranted for 20 years, but the manufacturer will only issue a warranty for a certain length: anywhere from 15 to 25 years. Suppose the homeowner has the roof installed by a professional installer. In that case, the installer should assume responsibility for keeping up with the maintenance to qualify for a longer warranty. However, if the homeowner installs their own roof, they must make sure that they have proof of having made their own payments to keep up with regular maintenance and qualify for longer warranty coverage.

How to Avoid Five Important Pitfalls When Purchasing a Warranty

Because it is unclear how strictly warranties are enforced, the best way to purchase them is through a reputable company with a trustworthy track record. In addition, it is important to be aware of five common pitfalls when purchasing an asphalt shingle warranty.

1. Know Exactly What Your Warranty or Warranties Cover.

The two most important warranties are a roofing warranty and a shingle warranty. The roofing warranty covers the entire roof, including leaks, and the shingle warranty covers only the siding on the roof. However, not all warranties cover everything below the roof line. For example, a shingle warranty would be less effective than one that covered leaks in the ceiling and trim of the house. In fact, some homeowners choose to purchase an additional leaky pipe repair or sealant warranty to help them afford repairs on their older homes.

2. Be Wary of Prorating Warranties.

Some shingle warranties will prorate their coverage to the nearest five or ten years. This means that if your roof is only eight years old, you will still have to pay half of the cost of a new roof if it needs repair. In addition, most warranties require that homeowners keep up to date in order to qualify for maximum coverage.

3. Don’t Trust “Lifetime” Guarantees.

A lot of warranties will cover roofs for a lifetime. However, these so-called “lifetime” warranties only last for about 50 years. In addition, many of these claims are void because the warranty does not state that the product is a part of a roofing system. The best way to avoid this problem is to choose a warranty that specifically states that the product is a part of an effective roofing system.

4. Get a contractor who will help you with the claims process.

Many homeowners have issues with their warranties because the warranty does not cover everything that is claimed. If a contractor helps to file the claim for you, then you can avoid this problem entirely. The contractor will not only ensure that the claim is filed correctly, but he or she will also help to negotiate a settlement with the warranty company on your behalf. The contractor will help you to uncover any loopholes in the coverage, and he or she can also help to initiate a claim if necessary.

5. Make Sure Your Contractor Clearly States Your Warranty in Writing.

Most contractors will recite a warranty and give it to you as they start the roof, but they may not make sure that this is clearly stated in writing. Even if you have made your own roof repair and are showing proof of payment, it is still important to make sure that your contractor clearly states the total coverage of the warranty in writing. The warranty should clearly state what the contractor is responsible for and identify any limitations or exceptions that may apply.

Asphalt shingle warranties are incredibly important, especially for new roofs. However, homeowners should be aware of common pitfalls when purchasing them. In addition, it is important for homeowners to work with a trustworthy contractor who understands the warranties and can help you make the most of them. Both of these things will help to increase your chances of success.