Florida has extensive roofing requirements because of the hurricanes and strong storms that afflict the state. A new state law took effect on July 1 that changes how homeowners may make claims and how roofers and insurance companies can handle those claims. These requirements add additional complexity for home and business owners who have to deal with other insurance law issues.
Residential and commercial property owners need to know these important changes under the new law:
- Property insurance claims, supplemental claims and reopened claims must be filed within two years.
- Property insurers must furnish full-replacement coverage for roofs under 10 years old.
- Property insurers can now use a roof surface reimbursement schedule to sell policies for roofs over 10 years old. These offer reduced coverage based on the roof’s age and type and adjusts claims to the roof’s actual cash value. This schedule does not govern a total loss from a covered peril.
- Insurers can offer the option of buying a state value limit for coverage of roofs to homeowners.
- Before filing a lawsuit, property owners have to provide 60-day detailed notice to the insurance company.
- Fee awards are limited for attorneys who file lawsuits on behalf of contractors in insurance cases.
- Contractors and public adjusters may not offer incentives to property owners or accept incentives for referrals.
- Roofers cannot engage in door-to-door solicitations.
The law is intended to reduce fraudulent claims. Its purpose, according to supporters, is to stop rising insurance rates for homeowners from higher insurance premiums and construction costs caused by more frequent lawsuits.
Opponents of the law argue that it will not guarantee any rate reductions and that that it will ultimately harm homeowners. Roofers argue that the law restricts coverage of older roofs even though they still can have substantial life expectancy.
A roofer recommended annual roofing inspections to identify and repair any potential problems. These inspections will provide documents showing that the roof was in good repair before any storm that caused substantial damage. Many warranties also require roof audits and annual maintenance.
Attorneys can assist you with your claims following a natural disaster to your home or business. They can help assure that insurance companies honor their policies and commitments.