With the Atlantic hurricane season fast approaching, many Florida homeowners are concerned that their properties will once more be at the mercy of tropical storms. Since 1851, about 120 hurricanes have battered Florida – the most recorded hurricanes in any U.S. state.
Floridians know too well that the roofing of their homes is one of the hardest hit parts during a hurricane. Roofs protect residents and the rest of the house from the elements, but they can only do so much in the face of a storm. Insurance may be able to pay for the repairs of damaged roofing, but insurance carriers might think twice about paying claims for old roofing.
Why are insurers so unsure about providing coverage for old roofing?
Issues with old roofing
With age comes vulnerability, not just for humans but for most other things. Roofing is no exception, as time can wear down even roofs made from the latest materials. Here are some risks that old roofs can face:
- UV damage: Constant exposure to sunlight can damage roofing since UV radiation can break down most materials given enough time. Shingles can warp from thermal shock through exposure to sunlight in the morning and cooler temperatures in the evening.
- Missing shingles: Any old roofing that has seen its fair share of storms would’ve lost a shingle. A single missing shingle can expose the rest of the roof to internal damage, especially when moisture seeps inside, leading to mold growth and wood rot.
- Mold and algae growth: For roofing made from shingles, moisture trapped within could lead to mold and algae growing between tiles. It not only makes a roof dirty, but the growth can damage the tiles beyond repair and hasten wood rot over time.
Because of the high risks old roofs carry – thanks to a combination of these factors and more – it’s no wonder why insurers shy away from old roofing. While the odds aren’t in favor of homeowners with old roofs, recent state law changes could help them file for claims problem-free.
New rules that could help old roofs
In December 2022, the Florida Legislature assembled for a Special Session to address the state’s property insurance issues. One of the bills passed during the session was Senate Bill 2D, which states that insurers can’t refuse coverage for roofing 15 years old or older. The bill also orders insurers to allow policyholders to hire an authorized inspector before requiring the roof to be repaired or replaced. In addition, insurers are prohibited from refusing coverage if the inspector has confirmed that the roof has at least five more years of service life.
Florida homeowners should know that their insurer can’t refuse to renew or pay for a claim on old roofing until an inspector can confirm whether the structure is still durable. If their insurer continues to deny a claim despite an inspector’s findings, homeowners may want consider turning to an attorney to file a lawsuit against their insurance company.