As a result of strong winds during Florida storms, flying debris can damage your roof in various ways, including leaks, missing or damaged shingles, and blocking your gutters. To avoid further damage to your home, it is important to have the damage repaired as soon as possible. In most cases, homeowners expect their insurance policy to cover the damage. Unfortunately, there are a variety of reasons that roof damage insurance claims in Florida are drastically underpaid or flat-out denied. If you think your insurance company has made the wrong decision, you can request a free consultation with our roof damage insurance claim lawyers in Florida.
The attorneys at Herman & Wells have helped many Florida homeowners fight insurance claim denials and win their cases. Jason Herman recently won a court case for an initial underpayment of a roof insurance claim. Upon reviewing the details surrounding the client’s Hurricane Michael claim, our team of expert insurance dispute lawyers was shocked by the tactics used by the insurance company. Jason and Warren Duffy were successful in advocating for our client against the insurance company in this case. As a result, the jury awarded $717,523.94 to our client.
Sometimes, insurance providers make the wrong call. It is your right to get a second opinion on your roof damage insurance claim. So if you’d like to speak with an experienced insurance dispute lawyer in Florida, call (727) 821-3195 or use the contact form on this page to request a complimentary insurance claim review. We can help you collect what is rightfully yours.
Do Most Homeowners Policies in Florida Cover Roof Damage?
You may be covered for roof damage by homeowners insurance, depending on the circumstances in which the damage happens. Roof damage coverage depends on how it was sustained and the specifics of your insurance policy. Fire, wind, and hail damage are among the most common types of damage that homeowners insurance helps cover.
A typical homeowners insurance policy would usually cover you if a tree fell on your roof during a storm, for example. A hailstorm that damages your roof could lead to a leak that is covered by your policy. Alternatively, your homeowners insurance may not cover damage caused by the natural aging process or neglectful maintenance. Let’s take a look at state regulations in Florida to better understand what roof damage is covered by insurance.
A Brief Overview of Florida’s Valued Policy Law
A Florida law called the Valued Policy Law states that if a home suffers a total loss but is damaged by more than one peril, only one of which is covered, the insurance company is obligated to compensate for the full amount, even if only a small portion of the damage was caused by the covered peril. Unless the damage was caused by fire, this only applies to total losses, not partial losses.
The 25% Rule Under Florida Building Code
Building codes in Florida have a 25% rule. According to the building code, if 25% or more of a roof or a roof segment requires repair, the entire roof or segment must be replaced. Therefore, even if an insurance policy prefers to pay for repairs, Florida homeowners may be entitled to a complete replacement of a roof or a segment of it if enough of it is damaged by a covered peril.
What Poses The Biggest Risk to Roofs in Florida?
Wind, rain, hail, and hurricanes are all common weather events in Florida that can damage a roof. Branch or even whole trees can fall onto your roof, damaging it or even causing your roof to fail. Furthermore, heat, smoke, and flames can damage roofs from within, as well as fire and lightning damage. These types of weather events may compromise your roof’s structural integrity, even if you don’t see any obvious breaches. Regular inspections are crucial, especially if you live near the Atlantic coast, like Florida. Standard homeowners insurance policies may cover many types of roof damage caused by weather events, but there are some exceptions. In a hurricane-prone area like Florida, the extreme winds from a hurricane or other named storm may not be covered peril and require extra insurance coverage.
Tips for Filing a Roof Damage Insurance Claim in Florida
It is frustrating and worrying for Florida homeowners to discover significant roof damage following a major storm. In addition to the complexity of roof damage insurance claims, even mild roof damage can become a catastrophic issue if left unattended. We have compiled our top three insurance tips for roof damage claims to help you through filing a roof damage insurance claim in Florida.
Get Storm Damage Inspected ASAP
You should not put off taking action if your roof has been damaged. The first thing you must do is report your loss and mitigate roof damage after a storm as per your property insurance policy. Apart from that, assessing roof damage without professional assistance can be very challenging. A reputable, trustworthy contractor will be able to inspect your roof and determine the extent of the damage. Roof damage only gets worse if left unattended.
Photograph & Document the Loss
Evidence is the key to obtaining a full insurance settlement on your roof damage claim, as it is with most other property damage claims. It is important to document your losses as soon as possible. In addition to hiring a professional to do a thorough roof inspection, you should always take detailed photographs to ensure you have reliable documentation of the damage. In addition, make sure to gather all relevant financial documents and records.
If Your Claim is Denied, Know You Can Dispute It
A roof damage claim is often accompanied by a heated insurance dispute. Various factors contribute to this, but one of the main factors is that insurance companies tend to undervalue roof damage. There is a particular distinction to be made between roof repair and roof replacement. A roof replacement by an insurance company is not always covered. Instead of covering the cost of a roof replacement, most insurance companies instruct the homeowner to get the roof repaired themselves or to foot a significant portion of the bill.
Don’t get locked into paying for more than the value of your damage, as stipulated by your policy. In the event that your insurance company refuses to pay your claim in its entirety, it would be advisable to have your roof damage claim reviewed by a qualified insurance dispute lawyer. Insurance companies do not have to have the final say.
What Florida Homeowners Should Know about the Roof Damage Insurance Claim Process
Roof damage insurance claims in Florida are not always straightforward. Several people are involved in the approval process when you file a claim. The homeowner is not the only person involved with an insurance claim; the insurance adjuster is essentially a representative of the insurance company. He or she is the one who ultimately approves the claim and issues the check. Professional roof repair contractors are the third party involved in the process. They are the ones who determine the level of damage to your roof and repair it.
You should carefully read your homeowner’s insurance policy before you contact your insurance company. Consult a local roof repair contractor in Florida if you believe that the damage should be covered. Reputable contractors can provide accurate estimates. The best option may be to file a roof damage insurance claim if the estimate exceeds your deductible. When you contact your insurance company about the damage, an adjuster will come to your home to assess the damage.
You should receive a homeowner summary of damages within a few days after the insurance adjuster determines the level of damage. You will also receive your first insurance check if your roof damage insurance claim is approved. Only half of the amount needed to repair or replace the roof will be covered by the first check. In addition, the homeowner will be responsible for paying the deductible he or she agreed to pay when the insurance policy was initially purchased. After your roof claim has been approved, you will have a certain amount of time to make the necessary repairs.
Upon completion of the work, the insurance company will require documentation showing that the money was spent on roof repairs or replacements. Once the homeowner has reviewed this information, a second check will be sent to cover any remaining costs. The job should be complete after receiving the second check. During this stage of an insurance claim for roof damage, the homeowner should have a repaired or new roof, as well as full payment to the professional roof repair contractors.
Most Common Reasons Roof Damage Insurance Claims Are Denied
Some homeowner’s insurance policies do not pay. The problem isn’t that the insurance companies are corrupt, but instead it’s that your policy does not specify what types of damage are covered. You may have to pay a deductible if the roof repair costs are less than that amount. The deductible for hail and wind claims is often higher than the deductible for other types of claims, which is another important thing to understand.
There are a limited number of causes that can qualify for a roof replacement under home insurance policies. In spite of this, not all policies provide the same level of coverage, and some insurance companies are more flexible than others when it comes to approving claims, so it’s important to do your research and make sure you fully understand the policy before you sign. Your claim may be denied for one of the following reasons:
Worn Out Roof Materials
Modern roofing materials are more durable and can stand up to harsher conditions, however, all materials need to be replaced after some time. When you buy a house with composite shingles that are 30 years old and the roof starts leaking after a few years, it’s possible those shingles have simply been worn out. In particular, if the previous owner failed to maintain the roof regularly, this may have been the case. If you are going to buy a house with an older roof, be aware that natural degradation is not covered under your home insurance policy and should be factored into your budget or negotiated with the owner before purchase.
A standard home insurance policy will not cover roof replacements if a storm causes enough damage to cause a roof to leak. Note, however, that damage occurring under a previous policy isn’t covered by your home insurance policy. In the event of a roof system failure caused by a combination of old and new damage, your home insurance may deny the claim because the previous damage is the source of the problem.
In order for an insurance company to approve a claim for a full roof replacement, the Insurance Adjuster must establish that the roof has sustained enough damage that a partial repair could not restore it to its original state. However, the criteria for determining partial damage varies from insurance company to insurance company, and ultimately must be determined by the Insurance Adjuster who inspects your roof. Having your insurance company deny your claim after a storm is one of the most frustrating scenarios for homeowners, when homes across your neighborhood are being approved for roof replacements. Partial damage claims are one of the most likely to be reversed, given the uncertain nature of their determination.
Despite manufacturers’ efforts to maintain quality control on their products, sometimes they end up on your roof and will degrade well before the intended lifespan. Your home insurance provider is not responsible for the cost of roof replacement if a manufacturer defect caused your roof to fail. A limited warranty is provided to customers with almost all major roofing product manufacturers. It depends on what your warranty covers and which manufacturer you have chosen, so make sure to discuss the warranty with your roofing contractor.
A Claim Filed Too Late
According to most home insurance policies, claims must be filed within a reasonable time frame, and damaged property must be replaced within 365 days of when it was damaged. Your claim will most likely be denied if you fail to provide your insurance company with a valid reason for the delay, along with an extension request, before the 365 days expire. It is often simple to avoid a denial based on timeliness by requesting an inspection and meeting with your Contractor of Choice after suspected damage.
Insurance Adjuster Determines the Damage Isn’t Significant
If your insurance adjuster conducts a roof inspection, you should understand that they are not professional roofers or contractors and their expertise is often confined to the training they receive from the insurance company. It is not uncommon for an insurance adjuster, no matter how competent, to miss signs of damage and allow your claim to be approved simply due to a lack of knowledge. In these cases, having your contractor of choice meet your insurance adjuster on-site will allow us to point out any damage, and explain why it should be covered by insurance before it’s denied.
How To Dispute a Denied or Underpaid Roof Damage Insurance Claim in Florida
In the event that your initial claim is denied, there is an appraisal process you can take as the insured to reverse the decision. You should do whatever you can to avoid a denial, such as having your contractor on-site for the inspection, as the appeals process can take a long time. You can find out how long you have to appeal a denied claim by contacting your Insurance Company. Any appeal should be submitted in writing. Additionally, you should request a resolution date in writing in order to minimize the length of time the appeal process will take. Insurance companies often send out a second insurance adjuster after filing an appeal.
Our recommendation is to have an experienced roofing contractor on-site, or a public adjuster who can act as an unbiased third party representative. It should be noted that you will be responsible for paying the public adjuster, and the insurance company will not reimburse you. In either case, evidence must be compiled to prove that the damage occurred that makes the claim eligible under your policy. Your appeal will need to be elevated to a claims manager if the second insurance adjuster also denies your claim. Either you can file a complaint with the state, or you can hire an attorney.
Book a Free Claim Review With Our Florida Roof Damage Insurance Claim Lawyers
Herman & Wells is a law firm you can trust when it comes to insurance disputes and getting your roof repaired or replaced. It is our goal to protect the rights of policyholders in Florida and keep the big insurance companies accountable. Our lawyers are available in our offices in Pinellas Park, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Seminole, Tallahassee, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, and Sarasota. If you want a second opinion on your roof damage insurance claim, request a free legal consultation with one of our experienced insurance dispute attorneys today.
Case ResultsSee More Case Results
Hurricane Michael Insurance Claim for Commercial Building in Florida
Our client filed a commercial insurance claim for their building after it sustained significant damages from Hurricane Michael. Initially, our client’s insurance company only offered $94 for their commercial insurance claim. Their initial position was that most of the damage was caused by wear and tear, and not covered by the insurance policy. Unsurprisingly, our client was not pleased with this response and chose to talk to Jason Herman. Our team of expert insurance dispute lawyers reviewed the details of the client’s Hurricane Michael claim and was shocked at what this insurance company was trying to get away with. Jason and Warren Duffy ended up taking this case to trial against the insurance company and were successful in advocating for our client. The jury ended up awarding $717,523.94, on a Replacement Cost Basis for this Hurricane Michael insurance claim. The client could not have been happier as our insurance dispute lawyers were awarded exactly what they were seeking for our client in this impressive verdict.
Tile Roof Claim in St. Petersburg
Our clients made a claim for damage to the tile roof of their home in St. Petersburg, Florida, which they believed was caused by wind. The insurance company denied the claim, taking the position that the damage was the result of wear and tear and faulty workmanship. We filed a lawsuit on behalf of our clients and fought for them against the denied claim. In the end, we were able to settle the claim for $150,000, and our clients were able to repair their roof.