The Insurance Industry Crackdown on Old, Aging Roofs

The Insurance Industry Crackdown on Old, Aging Roofs

The Insurance Industry Crackdown on Old, Aging Roofs

You, your friend, or your neighbor may have had a recent issue regarding their insurance and their roof – and it’s an issue we’re hearing more often then ever before. Florida insurance companies are starting to crackdown on homeowners who have older roofs, often requiring them to be replaced far before the roofs warranty runs out. It’s not uncommon to hear an insurance carrier decline to offer a quote or a renewal when the roof of the home reaches a certain age – many carriers have now restricted eligibility to homes with roofs 10 years of age or newer. And having a metal or tile roof isn’t always an exception. This shift in underwriting is starting to cause waves and it’s leaving many Florida homeowners confused and irritated at insurance companies. After all, when a consumer installs a roof they were told would  last 30 years, it’s a bit irritating to find it difficult or even impossible to insure your home when the roof isn’t even halfway to that figure and appears to be in perfect condition. So what’s driving this change?

The “Free Roof” Fraud Plaguing Florida Residents

I will flat out say it – the “Free Roof” scheme plaguing our area is the sole reason driving this “roof crackdown”. If you haven’t yet been approached by a contractor or roofer yet, ask a friend or neighbor and it’s likely you will know someone who has. Loopholes in the homeowners insurance policy are being exploited to benefit a handful of not-so-reputable roofing companies, attorneys, and associated contractors who have mastered the maneuver to getting insurance companies to pay for a roof.

The scenario is a simple one – a roofer or contractor of some kind approaches you (likely by knocking on your door) and says something along the lines of “We recently replaced a roof in your neighborhood and discovered they had some damage from a recent storm. As a courtesy, we’d like to offer you a free inspection of your roof – you may qualify to have it replaced and all you need to do is pay your insurance deductible. Please sign here, and we’ll take care of the rest!” And so they do. But what these companies don’t tell you is how these scenarios can, and often do, go very wrong. This process requires you to sign over your insurance claiming ability to the contractor or roofer soliciting the work - this is called an AOB contact (Assignment of Benefits). And then this agreement allows the contractor to file the claim on your behalf, bill your insurance company as they see fit, and even litigate against your insurance on your behalf should the insurance carrier disagree with the scope of the work or the price being charged. In worst case scenarios this can lead to unfinished work on your house (with no recourse available to you), liens placed against you by these contractors who may not get properly paid by your insurance company, and if litigation is involved, can lead to you being dropped by your insurance carrier with no good options for replacing your coverage. All this claim activity is unexpected and going against the grain in terms of your calculated insurance rate. Your homeowners insurance policy is not designed to be a roof maintenance contract and as such is not designed to replace your roof free of charge when a heavy rainstorm or tropical system passes by. As such, insurance companies have greatly tightened their guidelines surrounding the age and/or condition of the roof.

What About My Roof's Warranty?

Unfortunately insurance carriers take little solace in your roof's "warranty". Most roof warranties are worded so that they are secondary - meaning you are required to file an insurance claim first and then be denied before your warranty responds. In addition, roof warranties typically do not provide reimbursement for labor and the roof material itself may only be covered for a fraction of the cost as new (many warranties pay an amount based on how old the roof is at the time of failure). This means your insurance company is not protected or shielded from a potential insurance claim on a roof simply because of the roofs warranty - so it's unlikely your insurance carrier even will take this "warranty" into consdieration.

If you or someone you know is currently experiencing issues securing insurance coverage due to an older roof, Evolve Insurance Agency is ready to help. Although we are also seeing the restrictions on older roofs, we still have the capacity and markets to offer homeowners insurance quotes on homes with older roofs. Call our office at 941-244-2760 or submit a quote request here and we’ll get to work on finding you coverage that fits your needs and budget.

David Kronk Jr.
Owner, Evolve Insurance Agency

Photo by Adrien Olichon from Pexels