Navigating roof damage after a natural disaster can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. A roof claim is a type of property damage claim that is typically made with a homeowners’ insurance policy. Sadly, these types of claims are common in Florida due to the numerous hurricanes the state experiences, especially for tile roofs. If your roof insurance claim has been denied, do not panic.
In this article, we outline what to do if insurance denies your roof claim and the steps you can take to strengthen your claim to get the compensation you deserve.
At Tighe, P.A., we know how devastating a damaged roof can be to your home and life. Our experienced property damage lawyers can help you file your roof claim and advocate for you if your insurance company gives you the runaround.
Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.
Roof Damage Insurance Claim Steps
Insurance companies are legally obligated to act in good faith regarding the people they insure. Despite this obligation, insurance companies sometimes fail to do the right thing when faced with roof damage claims.
That said, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of getting your roof insurance claim approved.
Step 1: Document the Damage
You should take photos and videos of the interior and exterior damage to your roof and submit them with your insurance claim. This photo evidence will help support your roof claim, as it will make it easier to prove the extent of damage and your losses.
Step 2: Review Your Insurance Policy
Before filing a roof claim, review your insurance policy to ensure roof damage is covered. You should also review your policy for specific exclusions or language regarding how to submit your roof damage claim. If you are unsure, contact your insurance company for clarification regarding your policy.
Step 3: Call Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company immediately after discovering roof damage. Be sure to provide them with all the necessary information and documentation. If you fail to notify your insurance company of your roof damage claim, they may deny coverage by arguing they were prejudiced due to being unable to investigate your claim promptly.
Step 4: Work With Reputable Repair Contractors
If you must make emergency repairs, work with a reputable roofing company. Make sure to hire licensed and insured roofers for any repairs or roof replacements.
Step 5: Keep All Receipts
Keep all receipts related to your roof repairs. This included receipts for materials, labor, and any other expenses related to your roof damage claim. These receipts will help support your claim with your insurance company and ensure you are properly reimbursed for your roof damage.
Why Do Roof Damage Claims Get Denied?
Property insurance companies earn more money when they deny or underpay claims. An insurance company will often search for reasons to deny otherwise valid roof damage claims, from normal wear and tear justifications to bad faith actions.
Normal Wear and Tear
Very often, people buy houses with older roofs that were not properly maintained. Naturally, these roofs deteriorate over time due to exposure to the elements. Insurance companies may deny a roof claim if they determine the damage is due to normal wear and tear.
Hurricanes regularly strike Florida and cause roof damage, so it is possible a prior event or storm caused the damage to your home’s roof. Consequently, your roof claim may be denied if your insurer claims that the roof damage occurred before you purchased your insurance policy.
Partial Roof Damage
Insurance companies may deny a roof claim if only a portion of the roof is damaged, as opposed to the entire roof. This type of denial is likely to increase as Florida recently passed a law that modified the Florida Building Code, which previously stated roof replacement is necessary if 25% is damaged.
If the damage to your roof is the result of a manufacturer’s defect, your insurance company may deny your roof claim. Specifically, your insurance company will argue the contractor who built your house failed to install or build your roof properly. If this denial is valid, you must sue the contractor for breach of warranty.
Improperly Filed Claim
Some insurance policies contain language specifying how long a person has to file a roof damage claim. Additionally, insurance claims require certain information, such as the date of the accident or the nature of the damage, to process a roof damage claim. Filing an incomplete, inaccurate, or untimely roof claim can lead to a denial.
Bad Faith Actions
Insurance companies have a legal obligation to act honestly and fairly. If your insurance company summarily denies your roof claim, fails to investigate your claim, or engages in unfair trade practices, they may be acting in bad faith. Under Florida statute 624.155, you can file a bad faith lawsuit against your insurance company on the basis of your denied roof damage claim.
How to Appeal a Denied Roof Damage Insurance Claim
An insurance policy is essentially a contract, and an insurance adjuster will be sent to evaluate your roof damage and decide whether to accept or deny your claim. Some insurance companies provide claimants the option to internally appeal a denied roof damage claim. However, if that’s not the case, it’s time to hire an insurance lawyer to advocate for you.
File an Appeal
If your homeowner’s insurance company has an internal appeal process in your insurance policy, you should consider an appeal for your denied roof claim. This may be faster and cheaper than litigating your denied claim in court. However, you should still retain a property damage insurance attorney before pursuing an appeal for your roof claim.
File a Formal Complaint
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you can file a formal complaint with the Florida Department of Financial Services. By filing a complaint, you are allowing your insurance company to amend their bad faith violation for your roof damage claim. You must file an insurance complaint before pursuing a bad-faith lawsuit.
Get Help With Your Roof Claim from Tighe P.A.
If your insurance company denies your roof damage claim, hire Tighe P.A. Our experienced property insurance lawyers in Florida are not afraid to fight powerful insurance companies on your behalf. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation and to learn how we can help you prepare your roof claim or file an appeal.