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Asphalt Shingle Roof | Insurance

Should I Upgrade My Asphalt Shingle When Insurance Pays for a New Roof?

January 21st, 2022 | 6 min. read

Should I Upgrade My Asphalt Shingle When Insurance Pays for a New Roof?

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When your insurance claim is approved for a full roof replacement, the insurance company only pays to restore your old roof to a brand new version of itself. This includes the same materials and components, with some additions that may be supplemented to bring your roof up-to-code. 

But what if you want to upgrade your old asphalt shingle to a new one? Is it possible? Is it a good idea?

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand their insurance claims and the entire insurance roof replacement process. Now we’ll help you understand if you can and should upgrade your shingle when getting a new roof through insurance. 

To start this article, I’ll get right into if you should upgrade and what you’ll have to pay to do it. After that, I’ll give you the 4 benefits of upgrading the shingles currently on your roof to new ones. 

Should you upgrade your asphalt shingle when insurance pays for a roof replacement?

Depending on your policy, the only thing you’ll actually have to pay is your deductible when filing an insurance claim. That’s why it’s the perfect time to upgrade your asphalt shingle with the majority of the cost taken care of. 

Just know if you decide to upgrade your shingle, you’ll pay out of pocket to cover the difference. When I say “upgrade,” I’m talking about changing from a 3-tab asphalt shingle to an architectural (aka dimensional) asphalt shingle or an architectural asphalt shingle to a luxury asphalt shingle. 

3 tab asphalt shingles and architectural asphalt shingles(Left: 3-tab shingles; Right: Architectural shingles)

However, the most common and popular shingle upgrade is 3-tab to architectural. With the bulk of your roof paid for, upgrading is a lot easier (and affordable) than it would be for a normal roof replacement. 

That’s why a lot of homeowners take advantage of upgrading when insurance pays for their new roof.

4 benefits of upgrading from a 3-tab asphalt shingle to an architectural asphalt shingle

Now you know it’s a good idea to upgrade your asphalt shingle when insurance pays for a new roof. But if you’re still on the fence or just want to know the “why” behind upgrading, you need to know the benefits. 

Remember, going from 3-tab shingles to architectural shingles is the most common type of upgrade. That’s why we’ll only cover the benefits of upgrading from a 3-tab shingle to an architectural shingle. 

1. 3-tab asphalt shingles are being phased out of the roofing industry

3-tab shingles dominated the roofing industry for a long time, but architectural shingles were developed as technology improved. Because of this, 3-tab asphalt shingles are starting to be phased out of the roofing industry. 

They’re starting to get harder to find, and color options are becoming limited. You could even run into suppliers not carrying 3-tab shingles at all anymore. 

This isn’t necessarily a benefit, but it’s something homeowners with or considering 3-tab shingles need to keep in mind. 

2. Architectural asphalt shingles last longer than 3-tab asphalt shingles

One of the major benefits of upgrading to architectural asphalt shingles is simply that they last longer. 3-tab asphalt shingles have a manufacturer-specified lifespan of 25 years, while architectural asphalt shingles have a manufacturer-specified lifespan of 30 years. 

Realistically, asphalt shingles should last around 80-85% of their maximum lifespan. With that in mind, you can expect to get around 20-22 years out of a 3-tab shingle roof and 25-28 years out of an architectural shingle roof. 

It’s possible your roof won’t reach the numbers above because of all the different factors that impact the life of a roof. But as long as the asphalt shingles are properly installed and your attic is adequately ventilated, you should get as close as possible to the lifespans.

3. Architectural asphalt shingles have better material warranty options than 3-tab asphalt shingles

Other than lifespan, the biggest benefit of upgrading to an architectural asphalt shingle is the material warranty. 

3-tab asphalt shingles come out of the package with a 25-year warranty, while architectural asphalt shingles come out of the package with a 30-year prorated warranty. But with architectural asphalt shingles, you have the opportunity to get a 50-year non-prorated enhanced warranty. 

This enhanced warranty ensures the manufacturer covers your roof for the life of the roofing materials themselves. To get the enhanced warranty, all of your asphalt roofing components and materials (including your asphalt shingles) must come from one specific manufacturer to form a complete roof system.

Just know improper roof installation and inadequate attic ventilation will void the enhanced warranty. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, hiring a high-quality roofing contractor to install your asphalt shingles is crucial.

4. Architectural asphalt shingles have a higher curb appeal than 3-tab asphalt shingles

Curb appeal is the visual attractiveness of your home from the curb or the street. No matter what type of roofing material you choose, a new roof will always raise your home’s curb appeal. 

But each roofing material offers a different level of curb appeal. With that in mind, an architectural asphalt shingle roof has a higher curb appeal than a 3-tab asphalt shingle roof. 

3 tab asphalt shingle roof(3-tab asphalt shingles before roof replacement)

3-tab asphalt shingles lay flat and get their name from the 3 tabs on each shingle strip. On the other hand, architectural asphalt shingles give you a good-looking random pattern or simulate the look of a wood shake roof.

architectural asphalt shingle roof(After upgrading to architectural asphalt shingles)

Architectural asphalt shingles also offer more color options and patterns to make your roof stand out. To be honest, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

So, maybe you like the look of 3-tab shingles better than architectural shingles. But architectural's look is more appealing to homeowners in most cases. 

Get the tips you need to hire a roofing contractor for your insurance claim

Now you know the 4 benefits of upgrading 3-tab asphalt shingles to architectural asphalt shingles when getting a new roof through insurance. While this is the most common shingle upgrade, you can also upgrade your architectural shingle to a luxury shingle.

Just know this will be an expensive upgrade and won’t be an option for most homeowners. If you’re considering or just want to learn more about luxury shingles, see how they compare to 3-tab and architectural shingles

Whether you decide to upgrade your shingles or not when you have an insurance claim, it’s important to hire a great roofing contractor. Not only do they need to have a strong workmanship history, but they also need experience working on insurance claims. 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies out there. That’s why we wrote another article giving you the tips needed to hire a great roofing contractor for your insurance roof replacement. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has worked on thousands of insurance claims for homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. We take pride in providing guidance and help throughout the claim process. 

To find a great roofer in your area to handle your insurance claim, check out 5 Tips to Hire a Roofing Contractor for a Roof Damage Insurance Claim.

checklist of questions to ask a roofing contractor

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