Florida residents are limited in their ability to obtain homeowner’s insurance at affordable rates based on the age of their home and its structural systems. So, while you may be able to “get” home insurance on your 15-year-old roof, it will not be the same level of coverage as you’d receive with a newer roof – and you’re guaranteed to pay upwards of 20% to 60% more than customers with newer, well-maintained roofs.
There are several reasons it’s increasingly harder to obtain insurance for older or poorly maintained homes. While our history of tropical storm events is one of them, legislation and insurance carrier crackdowns are another.
Florida Restrictions on Home Insurance
As hurricane seasons continue to yield record numbers of severe storms and windspeeds each year, insurance carriers have paid out more than they can afford. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida’s insurance companies had $1.6 billion in underwriting losses in 2021. Those losses are unsustainable, which is why legislators are taking action.
Insurance companies who have survived this far are putting stringent policy restrictions in place to prevent further losses. Namely:
- Insurance carriers are dropping clients who cannot prove their roof is under that 15-year-old limit and/or that it is correctly maintained by licensed professionals.
- Coverage may be denied for homes with roofs 15 years old or older.
- They can deny or severely restrict coverage for older homes that don’t meet their weather mitigation standards.
- Carriers might refuse or restrict repair reimbursement if the roof was poorly maintained prior to the damage (proof of prior inspection/maintenance from a licensed inspector or contractor must be provided upon request).
- The amount of repair/replacement reimbursement may be far less for older roofs, leaving homeowners without a functioning roof and unable to pay for the work.
Florida’s SB76 protects insurance companies
The passing of Florida SB76 emphasizes the state’s dedication to insurance reform. For example, a main tenet of the bill is that insurers should not be financially responsible for replacing roofs that are old, poorly installed, or that were not maintained as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
This bill reinforces it is the homeowner’s duty to maintain home systems built to code and to perform annual maintenance if they want to receive maximum home insurance compensation in the event of a natural disaster.
The impact of that bill means many insurers refuse or severely restrict coverage for homes with roofs 15 years older or more. They can also limit or deny coverage for homeowners failing to prove their roof is regularly maintained or lacking wind mitigation features.
Insurance company flight is a second challenge
As of May 2021, seven major Florida insurance carriers have already filed or are in the process of filing for liquidation and are no longer doing business in our state. That limits the number of insurance carriers you have access to.
Not surprisingly, insurance companies continuing to do business in Florida are seriously restricting coverage based on the home (and roof’s) age, structural stability, weather-resistant features, etc.
Florida’s Citizen’s Insurance is not a solution
And, if you think Citizen’s Insurance is a solution, think again. A well-meant and thoughtfully crafted idea, Citizen’s Insurance is crippled by the overwhelming amount of claims processed from previous years’ storms, along with the exponential rise of applicants due to the sinking of Florida’s private insurance industry.
As we mention in a recent post, the rapid growth of Citizen’s Insurance (CI) is not a good thing because it poses an astronomical risk to policyholders. This sentiment is held by its own administrators. In March of 2021, CIs CEO Barry Gilway provided testimony at a Florida State Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) hearing. His testimony concluded that CI was intended to be a last resort for homeowners and is now becoming the first resort instead.
As a result, it simply cannot withstand the current rate of new customers due to the failure of the shutdown of the Florida insurance industry, and CI will be sinking along with the rest of them if something doesn’t change. If your Florida home has a roof that is 15 years old or older, do not count on your CI policy to come through if and when the roof requires substantial repair or replacement due to high winds, a storm, or other forms of catastrophic damage.
Steps to Keep Your Roof (and Home) Insured
In reality, the life expectancy for a standard asphalt shingle roof in our climate is only 15 to 20 years, to begin with. If your roof is 15 years old or more, it’s probably time to replace it. Odds are your current insurance carrier will not pay out when it is due for repairs or replacement anyway.
In order to get the coverage you need, at a competitive price, and with the assurance your policy will pay out as expected:
1. Schedule a roof inspection ASAP
Super Inspection Pros (SIP) guarantees a 24-hour turnaround on roof inspections and our finalized inspection reports. In just one business day, you’ll have exactly what you need to get the best policy prices (and coverage) possible from your insurance carrier.
2. Replace an old roof with a suitable alternative
There is more to insurance coverage and policy pricing than having a new roof. Florida home insurance companies want to make sure your roof:
- Has the right shape
- Is built at an ideal slope/pitch
- Was installed by a currently licensed contractor
- Is adequately fastened to the walls
- Includes proper water barriers
- Passes a detailed roof inspection (contractors are human too, and even a brand new roof could have a few items that need to be repaired).
3. Optimize wind mitigation features
Wind and water are the most prominent threats to Florida roofs. Your homeowner’s insurance approval will be faster, and your policy will be the most affordable if an inspection report demonstrates that the roof has all of the right wind mitigation features in place.
In addition to shape and slope, roofs with optimized wind mitigation have:
- Zero signs of visible damage or wear.
- High-quality roofing materials.
- Clear soffit vents.
- Proper installation and attachment of roof deck.
- Both primary and secondary water barriers.
- Gable end bracing (if relevant).
- No evidence of “ringers” or nails penetrating through the waterproofing layers and into the attic.
- Clips/metal attachments on every rafter/truss nailed to one or both sides
- A third nail in roof-to-wall connectors
- And so on
The inspector will verify the presence of these and other wind mitigation features and note them on the report. On the other hand, a lack of certain features is also indicated. This gives you a written “to-do list” to pass on to a licensed roofing contractor. Once red flagged repairs or retrofits are complete, pass the inspection report and a copy of the itemized repair bill to your home insurance company.
Schedule a Roof Inspection ASAP
Not sure where your roof falls on the home insurance spectrum? Don’t wait until you’ve been denied coverage – or shorted on an insurance reimbursement – to find out. Schedule a roof inspection with Super Inspection Pros, and we’ll tell you exactly where your roof stands.