Alabama FORTIFIED Roof™ Endorsement

Alabama’s FORTIFIED Roof Endorsement Law New Section 27-31D-2.1, Code of Alabama 1975 Act 2019-240 (HB 283, 2019 Regular Session)

Your roof provides the first line of defense against the elements and a FORTIFIED Roof provides better protection against severe weather.

FORTIFIED Roof (formerly FORTIFIED Bronze) helps homes better withstand severe weather by keeping the roof on and keeping water out.  Based on years of research, FORTIFIED Roof protects against wind and wind-driven rain by:

  • Improving roof sheathing attachment
  • Providing a sealed roof deck
  • Reducing chances of attic ventilation system failure (roof vents and gable end wall vents)

Alabama Senate Bill 118

Recent legislation enacted in Alabama (SB 118) requires “insurance companies writing homeowners insurance [to] offer a fortified bronze roof endorsement to upgrade a non-fortified home, which is otherwise eligible for a fortified standard, to a fortified standard identified in Section 27-31D-2, when the insured incurs damage covered by the policy requiring the roof to be replaced.”

Offered for a premium, these endorsements will insure the additional costs of bringing a roof to the FORTIFIED Roof standards, as well as the necessary costs for FORTIFIED certification.  The endorsements will only apply to homes that meet the minimum eligibility standards of the FORTIFIED program, and will only be triggered when a full roof replacement is otherwise covered by the insurer.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Studies done at the IBHS Research Center show that 65% of water that hits an exposed roof deck (such as when the roof cover is damaged by wind) will enter the home, causing 2 to 3 times more damage.

Installing an effective FORTIFIED sealed roof deck system—as well as an improved roof deck attachment and improved edge detailing on shingle roofs—can reduce damage by reducing potential water intrusion by as much as 95%.

The average life of a roof is not impacted when the roof is FORTIFIED. Essentially, the average life of the roof cover is a function of material and material aging. The ability of the complete roof system to resist water intrusion from wind-driven rain is improved (because there is an extra layer of protection precisely to mitigate the loss of roof cover or damage to roof cover due to severe weather), but the roof cover life remains unchanged.

Most homes can meet the requirements for a FORTIFIED Roof, but there are 3 conditions that would make a single-family home ineligible for designation as a FORTIFIED home:

  1. Homes that have continuous roof sheathing that is less than 7/16 in. thick are ineligible unless the roof sheathing is replaced.
  2. Homes that have roof decking that is “gapped”—meaning the decking has space in between each piece—are ineligible unless the roof sheathing is overlaid with continuous 7/16-in. decking or the gapped decking is removed and replaced.
  3. A home resting on an unreinforced foundation (stacked stone, block, or piers) or that lacks an adequate connection between the home and the foundation is also ineligible. This include HUD homes that are tied down with screw-in anchors or a set of straps that allow movement of more than 1/8 in.

Just as the cost of a roof replacement will vary based on several factors (e.g., size, height, and pitch of the roof, or where the home is located), the additional costs of upgrading to FORTIFIED will also vary. However, an analysis by IBHS (available to IBHS members) used Xactimate to develop FORTIFIED Roof estimates for several different scenarios in different locations throughout Alabama and compared them to standard roof replacements. The cost differences in these sample estimates range between $700 and $1,700. This includes the cost of the third-party evaluator required on each project, which typically ranges between $300 and $600.

Size is the largest influencer, but additional labor charges may also apply for other components installed on a high or steep roof.

Yes, there is regional texture. In fact, the Department of Insurance has identified three specific zones for FORTIFIED discounts.

North of the Coastal Zone (Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, Escambia, Covington, Geneva, and Houston Counties), we offer FORTIFIED Home–High Wind, and there are some differences that would result in lower costs (than FORTIFIED Home–Hurricane), but these are nominal. For example, fewer nails would be required to secure the roof deck.

Also, most jurisdictions in Mobile and Baldwin County have adopted stricter building codes, which will result in a smaller gap between the cost of a code-compliant roof and a FORTIFIED Roof. 

Based on our recent hail impact findings release, we are no longer offering the FORTIFIED Home–High Wind & Hail designation.

There are 2 FORTIFIED Roof designations: one for new roofs and one for existing roofs. The new roof designation is granted when a roof is installed to the FORTIFIED standard—regardless of the age of the home. The existing roof designation is granted to homes that are retrofitted to FORTIFIED standards but have not had their roof coverings replaced (typically by applying a compliant foam to the underside of roof decking) or when a designation is renewed. For example, a new roof put on a 10-year-old home gets a new roof designation for the first 5-year designation period. For subsequent 5-year renewals, that roof can only be designated as an existing roof.

Our roster of contractors is constantly changing, but there are dozens of roofers already trained and participating in the program. However, ANY roofer can install a FORTIFIED Roof. They just need to follow our technical guidance and work with a certified FORTIFIED Evaluator. There are also dozens of evaluators in Alabama (most are located in Mobile and Baldwin Counties).

For most homes, the designation process lasts less than 48 hours. However, the timeframe depends on how quickly the required documentation and application paperwork is submitted for review. Once we receive the compete evaluation form and documentation, homes are designated and added to the database in under 5 days.