When a roof damage claim is denied the frustrated homeowners are left wondering.  Now what could I do?  To the homeowner,  the damage is clear as day. So why would the claim be denied?

Roof damage almost always leads to leaks. Here a roof repair person is working on a homes roof.
When a home’s roof is damaged the result is usually a leak that causes further issues. After a storm or hurricane, you may think your home has escaped damage. However, it should be checked for small holes anyway. When a homeowner has a small amount of roof damage, that damage could become a much larger mold or water damage problem. In this case, an insurance company may deny a claim by saying the homeowner neglected the problem.

If you live in South Florida you know 2020 was not kind when it came to hurricanes.  As a Public Adjuster we have handled more roof damage claims than any previous year.  If you recall, you heard new names for hurricanes such as Eta and Iota. Why?  There were so many hurricanes that the World Meteorological Organization, which has strict guidelines, of naming hurricanes, ran out of its usual names and had to resort to the Greek alphabet.  During the past hurricane season, we found ourselves traveling  from Broward County, to Palm Beach County, and into Martian County because of all the roof damage claims that were denied.

Hurricanes in 2020 and 2021

In 2020, there were 30 named tropical depressions or hurricanes, 6 of these being Category 3 or stronger. The result? According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, the total cost for the 2020 hurricane season was $47 billion, and that was only the seventh costliest! Also, the Hurricane Center points out that 9 out of 10 of the costliest Atlantic hurricane seasons (with the exception of Andrew in 1992) have occurred since 2004.  Much of this damage was roof damage from trees, which had broken limbs.  These limbs became projectiles.  Many tree branches hit roofs and homes with enough force to punch a hole through to the homes interiors.  Some of the calls we received were from South Florida homeowners who had denied insurance claims.  It turns out that some insurance companies have more reasons for denying roof damage claims than providing a settlement.

Looking ahead doesn’t fill you with confidence. AccuWeather’s experts are predicting 16-20 named storms in 2021 with 7 to 10 hurricanes and 3 to 5 major hurricanes for the Atlantic hurricane season.  As we move closer and closer to hurricane season, homeowners should think about preparing for the upcoming hurricane and storm season.  On this website we have written several articles on preparing your home for future storms and hurricanes.  You can read some of that article here:

Roof damage repair in Martin County
The rules that cover roof damage are unique to different parts of the country.  Some counties require complete roof replacement based on the square feet of damage.  Other places are more lenient with regards to roof damage and roof damage insurance claims.  At Fox Public Adjusters, we make it our business to understand the rules.  Many times we have re-opened denied claims and informed the insurance company of mistakes they have made.  “The result,” a re-opened claim and a large settlement for the homeowner.

How Long Do You Have to Report a South Florida roof damage claim?

Hopefully, you will be lucky and escape roof damage during the 2021 hurricane season. If you did have damage in 2020 or experience it in 2021, there is a statute in Florida permitting homeowners a maximum of 3 years to file an insurance claim related to hurricane damage. However, according to the Southern Division of the American Building Contractors, as time passes, insurance companies are more prone to deny coverage for older roofs, in particular.  In fact, they estimate that 75% of recent clients (2020) were initially denied coverage.  If your South Florida home has suffered roof damage you should not wait to file a claim.  Given the current insurance environment calling a Public adjuster first is the smartest decision a homeowner can make.   In our work as a Public Insurance adjuster, we have handled more denied roof damage claims than ever.  Most of the time we could re-open the denied claim, explain to the insurance company, why the claim shouldn’t have been denied, and negotiate a fair settlement.  Doing this requires extensive experience handling denied or underpaid insurance claims.  Once the insurance company has denied a roof damage claim, the homeowner almost has no choice but to hire a Public Adjuster.  Since some of the rules regarding home damage are different, depending on whether the home is located in Palm Beach County, Broward County or Martin County the process for opening a denied claim could vary.

 Have you heard about the 25% Rule?

In the Florida Building Code, there is a provision that states: “Not more than 25 percent of the total roof area or roof section of any existing building or structure shall be repaired, replaced or recovered in any 12-month period unless the entire roofing system or roof section conforms to requirements of this Code.” While lawyers debate exactly what this may mean, the gist is that if you have a damaged roof, it may not be possible to just fix a part of it; the entire roof may have to be replaced. And, when it is replaced, it will have to meet new Code requirements.  In our experience as a public insurance adjuster, we have found that every case is unique.  Sometimes roof damage cases get denied because of loopholes that homeowners are unaware of.  When this happens, it takes an insurance expert who is also knowledgeable in construction, mold damage, as well as water damage to determine the best course of action.  Luckily we have experience in all these areas.  This explains our excellent track record of re-opening denied insurance claims.

If you home has suffered roof damage and your insurance company has denied or underpaid your claim call us at (561) 789-4369 We are based in Boynton Beach and successfully reopened denied claims for homeowners in all the following towns.  West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, Delray Beach, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Stuart, Port Saint Lucie, Parkland, Wellington, Greenacres, Lantana & Hallandale.

South Florida Roof Requirements are always increasing which is why you should call at public adjuster when your home is damaged.

The building code requirements for roofs increased again. According to an article in Florida Construction News, the latest changes, which took effect on January 1st, contain changes to requirements for roof assemblies “seeking to improve resistance to wind damage and water infiltration.” Included are changes to roofing underlayment, wind loads, soffits, and more.  –  Being a public adjuster we make it our priority to know the new building codes in Martin County, Broward County and Palm Beach County, which is the areas we serve.

What Should You Do Now?

If your roof is still in good condition, you still need to maintain it. Due to the number of storms, you definitely need to have it inspected each year. You may want to have it inspected after any major hurricane. This will help you in the event of a future claim. At Fox Public adjusters our equipment uses the latest technology to see if your roof has any damage or water leakage. Our infrared cameras can detect moisture hidden in walls and ceilings.   Of course, it goes without saying that if you see any damp spots or water in the attic, there is no time to lose. You do not want black mold to begin to grow and create a very expensive set of problems.  When a roof is damaged the hole could be tiny. These tiny roof holes are the worst because once homes insulation gets wet; mold could grow in a little as 24 to 48 hours.

Do not try to make any repairs yourself! There is actually a law in Florida prohibiting homeowners without a proper permit from repairing their own roofs.  It is particularly important that you keep your gutters clear and your drainage operating well. Also, look for any trees that may interfere with your roof and can cause a hazard during hurricane season. If your roof is older, you may want to speak to a roofer about reinforcing it to the extent possible. If it is getting near the end of its useful life, you may want to replace it early to feel more secure by having a roof that meets the latest building code standards.

What about Your Homeowner’s Insurance?

You should review all of your policies to see what they cover in terms of roof damage before hurricane season. If you are not sure about your policy call us and let us review your policy.   As the next hurricane season approaches now is the time to start preparing.  If you are considering hurricane glass or new storm shutters, this is the best time to act.  When we get closer to hurricane and storm season many hurricane shutter companies will start to raise prices.