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Build a Hip Roof to Lower Homeowners Insurance Rates

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now on to a big topic here at The Money Pit: roofing. Lori from Florida, welcome. What can we help you with?

    LORI: One of – Florida’s homeowner insurance rates are – pardon the pun – going through the roof.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.

    LORI: And one of the ways you can save on your insurance – and I’m talking about almost cut it in half – is to take a gable roof and change it to a hip. Hip roofs lower your insurance rate. Is that possible and what do we need to do or contact to go about making this change?

    TOM: Well, it certainly is possible. I mean a hip roof is a little bit more difficult to build than a gable roof. It’s more expensive to build and that’s why you see fewer of them out there. Basically, to build a hip roof what you would do is – it would probably not be a full hip but the ends of the roof would be sloping upwards. So you would have sort of a straight ridge in the middle of it and it would be coming up on the ends.

    LESLIE: Does that – does the hip roof sort of cut wind shears or wind speed? How is it helpful in a hurricane-prone area?

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, what happens – because – the reason is that when hurricane wind hits the end of a gable it’s like a hook that rips the roof right off. But when it’s a hip roof, which is sort of pyramid shaped …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … then it sort of washes over the top of it. And so, yes you can build a hip roof and convert it from a gable roof. It is quite a big project. You know, it’s probably several thousand dollars worth of work. But you’re going to have to do the cost benefit analysis in terms of whether or not you can save some money.

    LESLIE: Yeah, recoup it.

    TOM: You know, there may be other hurricane-resistant things that you can do to that house. Have you – are you sure it’s just the hip issue or could you have hurricane tiedowns installed and other types of hurricane reinforcement that would lower cost? I’m sure you could.

    LORI: Well, I – you know, I would have to look into that. Another way is to install hurricane shutters which are either the accordion type or the fabric walls.

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    LORI: That could save money. We were thinking about doing that. But there are – there are other ways that we are trying to save money. But if it was – well, let me tell you. If it was $5,000 to change my roof from gable to hip, I would get that back in what I would save in insurance in probably five or six years.

    TOM: Hmm. Well, then it might be worth it.

    LORI: That is much – that’s how much a difference it makes.

    TOM: Yeah. Do you have – do you have a ranch house? One story?

    LORI: Yes.

    TOM: Well, you know what? Why don’t you get some numbers on it then because it certainly can be done. It’s not terribly complicated for the right person to do that job but it is going to cost a few thousand probably.

    LESLIE: And you know what, Lori? While you’re at it, since you would be getting a new roof and you’d obviously need a new roofing material, there are several manufacturers who make roofing shingles that are hurricane resistant as far as the wind speed that they’ll tolerate. Owens Corning manufactures one of them. You know, many people do it. So it’s worth it to look into materials for the roof sheathing that will also benefit.

    LORI: Well thank you very much. I’ll look into that.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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