As much as you pay in insurance premiums every year, you may get very excited when you learn there are potential discounts and tax credits you could be eligible for.
Several of those discounts and credits become available when you select a metal roof for your home or business. You know that a metal roof is highly durable, fire-resistant, energy efficient, and impact resistant. Insurance companies know that, too, and offer discounts depending on the material of the roof, its age, the coating, and other criteria.
New Roof Discount
Many insurers give a discount for a new roof. Why? A new roof is less likely to have a leak or suffer from other damage because, you know, it’s new. This holds true for brand new homes and buildings since it stands to reason that a new building has a new roof.
If your new roof is steel, so much the better because you may be eligible for discounts whether the roof is new or not.
Hail Resistance (Impact Resistance) Discount
Impact resistance discounts depend on the
- Roofing material
- Roof-covering classification, including the region the building is in. If the building is in an area prone to heavy hail damage, the discount is larger.
Roof classification is determined by the UL test standard 2218; roofing material is considered to have impact resistance if it passes the standard. Roofing materials are rated from one to four, with four being the best or highest rating.
Standard 2218 testing involves dropping steel balls on the roofing material to simulate the effect of hail. Metal roofs typically pass at class four, qualifying for the highest discounts. Better yet, steel roofing retains its impact resistance throughout its service life, unlike materials that deteriorate over time due to weather exposure.
If you have homeowners insurance that offers an impact resistance discount, it could be as much as 35%. If you have something called dwelling extended insurance that discount may reach 46%.
In Texas, the calculation is performed indexing the roof covering classification against the territory designation in a table set out by the state Department of Insurance. Together with the policy type and the region of the state where the building is, you can see how big your discount may be.
Fire Resistance Discount
Fire resistance discounts are not offered as often as impact resistance discounts, but it doesn't hurt to check with the insurance company. If you live in an area where wildfires are a threat, having a fire-resistant roof and a discount for it is double the savings.
Fire ratings are designated as Class A, B, and C. Class C fire rating is the lowest, just above no rating at all.
The Class A roof is preferred for areas prone to fires. The roof must prove it can:
- Allow a maximum flame spread of six feet
- Withstand a burning brand that is 12” X 12” and weighing 2000 grams
- Last at least two to four hours without catching on fire
- Resist 15 cycles of a gas flame being turned on and off
Metal roofs are generally awarded a Class A fire rating and need undergo only the test for flame spread because it is non-combustible, rendering the other three tests invalid. In certain circumstances, a special underlayment may be required to obtain that rating.
The Class B fire rating designates material that is effective against moderate fire exposure. The roof must be able to:
- Allow a maximum flame spread of eight feet
- Withstand a burning brand that is 6” X 6” and weighs 500 grams
- Last one hour before it catches fire
- Resist eight cycles of a gas flame being turned on and off
The Class C rating, the lowest of the three, designates a material that only provides light fire protection. The roof should be able to:
- Allow a maximum flame spread of 13 feet
- Withstand a burning brand of 1.5” X 1.5” and weighing 9 and a quarter grams
- Last 20 minutes before it catches fire
- Resist three cycles of a gas flame being turned on and off
While the concern is generally with blowing embers and burning debris landing on the roof and starting a fire, if the fire comes from within the house, a metal roof has yet another advantage.
Metal roofing material is very light, much lighter than asphalt shingles or other materials. There is a reduced chance of the roof collapsing as the frame weakens. Because of the lower roof weight, there is more time for firefighters to fight the fire and get people out of the structure. More of your belongings might survive, too.
Having an ENERGY STAR-rated roof probably won’t get you any discounts on your insurance, but through the end of this year, you could get a tax credit.
If you have a cool metal roof installed between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2016, you may qualify for a 10% tax credit up to $500. The roof must be installed on your principle residence, and the metal roofing material must have an appropriately pigmented coating.
If you decided on mahogany instead of white, your roof might not be eligible. An eligible roof is considered to be a reflective roof, thus the requirement for a lightly colored coating, preferably white.
Obtain a Manufacturer's Certification Statement to keep with your tax documents. It is a signed statement from the manufacturer certifying the product or component qualifies for the tax credit. Many manufacturers keep copies on their websites. The EPA does not retain copies, so don't ask them. You do not need to send a copy with your tax return.
New construction and rentals do not qualify you for the incentive.
If you aren’t able to replace your roof before the tax credits expire, don’t let that stop you from selecting a steel roof. There are other benefits beyond insurance discounts and government incentives.
A metal roof provides energy efficiency, lowering the cost of air conditioning through strong solar reflectance and thermal emissivity. An appropriately colored roof can reduce the surface temperature by as much as 50 degrees F. Energy demand goes down by 10 to 15% and can save on overall energy costs by 40%.
Check with your insurer to see if it offers discounts for impact resistance and fire resistance. If you had a new metal roof installed before the end of the year, let your tax preparer know you want to qualify for an ENERGY STAR tax credit.
In the meantime, you can enjoy a safe, energy efficient home or building when you have a metal roof.