Some homeowners insurance policies canceled because of dirty roofs

(WXYZ) - You may not think about cleaning the roof of your home but insurance companies now say you should.

Whether you do or not could affect your policy.

Is your roof dirty?  Does it have dark streaks or green moss growing on it?

It's not just a nuisance.  Insurance companies, believe it or not, are now canceling policies because of roofs they consider too dirty.

Bob Foppe never thought much about the dark streaks on his roof.  After all, it wasn't leaking.

But then he received a letter from his insurance company threatening cancelation.

"Yeah, I got a letter from my insurance company. They came a day i wasn't home, took some pictures," said Foppe.

The letter indicated mold and algae staining on his roof and on the vinyl siding on the shady side of his house.

"They said if I didn't correct it they could terminate my policy," said Foppe.

Steve Van Oast runs Ugly Shingles , a roof cleaning business out of Hartland that's getting a lot of business these days now that more and more insurance companies are warning homeowners to clean their roofs.

"A lot of homeowners we see will get a letter of cancelation. Especially when they're obtaining new insurance or changing their policy. They will send somebody out to take a look at the house and they do see the mold on the roof or the algae on the roof. They will want it addressed before they'll actually cover them," said Van Oast.

The reason for these letters is because moss can eventually damage asphalt shingles and insurers don't want to pay for a new roof.

"They're needing to replace or finding they have to replace the roofs way before their expiration time," says Van Oast.

A new roof costs $5,000 to $10,000.  A professional cleaning costs about $500.

Foppe decided to hire a cleaner.

"They used their cleaning solution and scrubbed it," said Foppe.

More importantly, it prevented a costly insurance cancelation.

Also, check with your roof manufacturer. Many will reimburse you for the cost of a cleaning. Doing it yourself could be a serious safety risk.  And if you blast it with a garden hose or pressure washer, you can damage the shingles.

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