The last few years have been challenging ones for Florida homeowners. In 2017, Hurricane Irma ripped through the state. Then 2018 brought us Hurricane Michael, followed by a slew of destructive storms in 2020. Most Florida homeowners were well protected by their homeowners’ insurance policies at the time of these storms. However, due to the high cost of claims, insurance companies have since attempted to back out of the state. Others have raised their rates dramatically, causing hardship for residents.
In defense of constituents, the Florida State Legislature has negotiated with insurance companies. The result is some new laws and regulations in the roofing industry. Below, we’ll take a closer look at these significant changes and how homeowners can respond.
In Florida, insurance companies now send homeowners “warning” letters when their roofs are 15 years old. These letters inform clients that their coverage will be dropped if they don’t replace the roof in a specific time period. Here’s the thing: most roofs don’t need to be replaced after 15 years.
Extending Your Roof’s Lifespan
New legislation requires insurance companies to honor a Certified Inspection instead of a roof replacement. If an inspector certifies a roof has at least 5 years left, the insurance company must honor it. They cannot drop coverage. This is excellent news if you have a long-lived roof system like the Tesla Solar Roof. We can keep inspecting the roof and re-certifying it, again and again, until it is time for a replacement. Tesla Solar Roofs are certified for 25 years and typically last much longer.
Who Should You Call?
Homeowners who receive these letters from their insurer should not call just any everyday roofing contractor. They should instead contact a Certified Roofing Contractor with a general contracting license. This way, the roofing contractor can certify that the roof and the rest of the structure are in good repair and offers proper wind mitigation. This allows the homeowner to get the maximum insurance discounts they qualify for.
Kelly Roofing holds a general contractor’s license in the State of Florida and is qualified to perform Certified Inspections. We recommend homeowners budget approximately $200 for this service. This is a small price to pay in comparison to the cost of a roof replacement. Plus, it ensures you have adequate insurance coverage heading into hurricane season!
Delivering Your Report
Once you receive your Certified Inspection Report, we recommend turning it in to your local insurance agent. They can advocate on your behalf and communicate effectively with your insurance carrier.
Wind Mitigation Improvements
Another provision set aside funds to assist homeowners in hardening off their homes against future storms and wind damage. Homeowners can receive up to $10,000 in reimbursements with a 2:1 match on funds. For example, if your home needed $15,000 in improvements, you would pay $5,000, and the state would pay $10,000.
Taking steps to mitigate wind damage reduces your risk of structural damage in a hurricane. As such, insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners who take these steps. Key wind mitigation tactics include:
- Adding opening protections, such as shutters
- Installing a newer roof system that meets new wind resistance codes
- Installing a secondary water barrier under your roof
- Improving roof-to-wall connections
Repair Versus Replacement Decisions
One reason why claims were so high following the recent hurricanes had to do with whether to repair or replace certain roofs. Following the storms, some less-scrupulous roofing companies came into town and replaced roofs without discretion. Many of these roofs could have been repaired successfully for a lot less. At the time, it was also standard to require that roofs with more than 25% damage were replaced rather than repaired. That’s changing.
A new Florida law now states that in the event of a storm, if more than 25% of the roof is damaged, the insurance company can determine whether to repair or replace the roof. This allows insurance companies to take the most cost-effective route, which results in savings they can pass on to their customers.
The State of Florida has effectively negotiated on homeowners’ behalf in light of rising insurance costs. There are plenty of ways for homeowners to reduce their risk of storm damage and keep insurance costs more manageable. The most important thing, which we cannot stress enough, is that you always work with a qualified, Certified Roofer. A qualified roofer will ensure the proper permits are pulled for insurance verification. They’ll also make sure wind mitigation changes comply with all insurance regulations.
If you’re looking for a roofing company to perform a Certified Inspection, make wind mitigation improvements, or repair your roof, contact Kelly Roofing. Our customer-first approach will give you peace of mind, insurance savings, and a safer home.