Imagine your dismay when your insurance carrier kicks back a claim citing your roof was too old, poorly installed, or lacked proper maintenance. Unfortunately, that is a potential reality for tens of thousands of Florida residents if they can not prove their roof was in acceptable shape before storm season.
Senate Bill 76 has changed how insurance companies have to respond and react when homeowners or unscrupulous contractors try to glean compensation for inadequate roof structures. Roof inspections are your best means of proving your roof was worthy of your policy.
Florida’s SB 76 is a Game Changer for Insurance Carriers
In the wake of back-to-back record storm seasons, insurance companies found they had to pay out for roofs that never should have been insured in the first place or that their reimbursements were covering repairs or replacements that should have happened years beforehand. As a result, insurance carriers lobbied for long-overdue legislation to protect their industry and keep policy premiums as low as possible for honest customers.
Read What You Need to Know About Florida Senate Bill 76, Home Inspections, and Insurance for a more detailed explanation of these legislative changes. In the meantime, here is a rundown of how insurance companies are dropping homeowners based on the age of their roof.
Old Roofs (15+ Year) Are Weak Roofs
Roofing contractors may advertise that their roofs are good for twenty or more years, but that’s not necessarily the case in a climate like ours. The combination of hot sunshine, high humidity levels, and season after season of high winds and rain (including hurricanes) means Florida roofs require more attention than roofs in more moderate climates.
Want to learn more about whether your roof can stand up to our climate? Read Common Roofing Materials and What to Expect From Them.
If your roof is 15 years old or older, odds are your premium rates begin to go up dramatically from year to year, or your insurance carrier may drop you altogether. Exceptions are roofs built with materials known for their higher durability, such as metal or clay/concrete tiles.
Lack of Maintenance Leaves Roofs Vulnerable
After the first five or so years, insurance companies want proof that you’re regularly inspecting and maintaining your roof. So we recommend having your roof inspected by a licensed roofing contractor annually. That way, he can make the necessary repairs and provide the paperwork your insurance company needs to honor the lowest premium prices possible.
Your Roof Lacks Adequate Wind Mitigation
If a roof inspection demonstrates your roof has all of the recommended wind mitigation features in place, your insurer will cover your roof for the lowest premium rates available. Conversely, if an inspection reveals your roof lacks the current code’s wind mitigation standards, your policy may be terminated.
Essential wind mitigation elements include:
- High-quality roofing materials that are installed to code
- Proper attachment of the roof deck to the roof
- Solid roof-wall attachments
- Correct roof shape and slope
- Installation of secondary water barriers
Even certain property features, such as overgrown trees and branches, compromise your home’s ability to pass a roof inspection. Providing proof of a professional roof inspection, along with evidence of any recommended repairs or amendments, extends the life of your homeowner’s insurance policy.
The Property Lacks Adequate Storm Protection
We alluded to this above, but it’s worth highlighting that your roof isn’t the only factor insurance companies look at when determining whether or not to honor a claim or to drop your policy.
SB 76 legislation established stipulations around adequate storm protection, including other storm-protective features. Overgrown trees and branches are just one example. Insurance companies can also crack down on your building’s lack of closing shutters, impact-resistant glass, steel doors, hurricane-rated doors, and windows, or any other features that strengthen a building’s openings.
A wind mitigation inspection is one way to prove both your roof and property are well maintained, protecting your home to the best of your ability.
There’s No Proof of Recommended Maintenance
If your roof is damaged in a storm or develops a significant lead, the insurance carrier will ask for maintenance records. They want to see that you have had your roof inspected and maintained per the manufacturer’s instructions or the insurance carrier’s recommendations.
Typically, this means proof that your roof was:
- Inspected by a licensed roofing contractor on an annual basis (some insurance companies request bi-annual, twice per year, inspections)
- Waterproofing finishes are applied as per recommendations
- The roof and gutters were cleaned annually
- Any signs of roof leaks were immediately investigated and repaired
- Missing or cracked shingles were repaired/replaced promptly
- Attachments between the roof foundation and roof-wall connections are secure
Ask your homeowner’s insurance company to provide a list of their roof maintenance recommendations and then calendar inspections, maintenance, and materials replacement accordingly.
You Waited Too Long to File Your Claim
There is now a limit on the length of time a customer or contractor can file a roof claim with your insurer. Building owners or roofing contractors must file a claim within two years after the date the damage occurred.
Schedule a Wind Mitigation Inspection ASAP
There’s no need to schedule a full home inspection if you don’t need to. Instead, contact a licensed Volusia County home inspector and let them know you only need a wind mitigation inspection. If your home passes the inspection, meaning no repairs or improvements are required, those results remain valid for another five years.
If the inspection determines your roof, home or property needs a bit of work to remain up to code, you’ll receive a clear, priority-driven list of repairs to pass on to a contractor. Once a licensed roofing contractor addresses the wind mitigation Report’s red flags, the insurance company will consider your roof insurable again.
Is your roof overdue for a wind mitigation inspection? Schedule an appointment with Super Inspection Pros. We guarantee a 24-hour turnaround, and our reports (and your promptness in addressing any red flag issues) will ensure you get to keep your homeowner’s insurance policy for many years to come.