As of recent years, insurance rates in Florida have gone up by double-digit percentages. The new rate increases are the highest in memory, with Florida being the third-largest home insurance market in the United States.
Roof damage insurance claims are common across Florida as a result of storm damage. New Florida law applies new rules for roof damage claims to lessen the cost of insurance for homeowners.
Continue reading to learn more about this new law.
Storm Damage to Florida Roofs
Home insurance in Florida has consistently been difficult because of the state’s inclement weather and frequent hurricanes. Even with the most storm-proof roof, it is bound to incur heavy damage over the years. Since Hurricane Irma struck in 2017, insurance costs and rules have steadily increased.
To properly apply for insurance coverage for fixed roofing, certain inspections must undergo. These include the four-point, wind mitigation, and roof certification. This number of inspections contributes to the complexity of Florida’s insurance laws.
While storm damage is common and understandable among roof damage claims in Florida, it can also become a scapegoat for homeowners looking to replace their roofs. Because of this, insurance rates continue to rise to be able to pay off insurance claims.
Florida Insurance Inflation
Across Florida, insurance rates are skyrocketing. Reasons behind the increase include roof claims that continue to be made due to Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Michael.
Since 2013, 15 billion dollars have been given out for home insurance claims in Florida. In 2019, Florida was part of over 76% of homeowners’ litigation in the entire country.
In some cases, home insurance rates have increased by 20-40% or higher. If these costs continue to grow, the price of insurance could cause homeownership to be so expensive that fewer people would be able to buy a home.
To combat the skyrocketing costs, while still fulfilling roof damage claims, new bills like Senate Bill 76 have passed in Florida.
Senate Bill 76
Senate Bill 76 became Florida law because of Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year, having become effective July 1, 2021. The bill was proposed by Senator Jim Boyd to reduce attorney fees and litigation.
This new bill clarifies the options for roof insurance coverage and creates a specific period to file insurance claims. It also changes how attorney fees are presented in home insurance litigation.
In regards to roof damage insurance claims, the bill creates a scale for replacing roofs more than 10 years old. SB 76 also provides new rules for contractors and insurance companies.
What SB 76 Means For Homeowners
The biggest change for homeowners due to SB 76 is in regards to roofs over 10 years of age. Any roof surface type less than 10 years old is under full replacement coverage. Meanwhile, after 10 years the reimbursement schedule gets a little more tricky.
Roofs that are 10+ years have reimbursement amounts. These are determined by the roof’s age and surface. This means that, depending on the roof surface type, a percentage comes out of the original roofing price for every additional year.
The set reimbursement amounts per roof surface are as follows:
- 70% for metal roofs
- 40% for concrete and clay tile roofs
- 40% for wood shake and wood shingle roofs
- 25% for all other roof types
In the event of a complete loss, the SB 76 reimbursement schedule doesn’t apply but instead gets paid for in full. SB 76 also only allows for two years to file roof damage insurance claims or to reopen a claim.
Ideally, this new bill will reduce the increasing insurance costs for Florida homeowners. It also causes homeowners to be more responsible for paying roof maintenance and replacement costs. It no longer allows them to wait for a storm to further damage their roof to file a covered insurance claim.
What SB 76 Means For Contractors
As a part of Senate Bill 76, Florida Statute section 489.147 prohibits contractors, along with others working as a contractor, to do several things. These new rules for contractors are in place to prevent confusion between contractors, homeowners, and insurance companies.
This statute prevents contractors from:
- Receiving or offering referral fees for any services about insurance claims.
- Interpreting insurance policies or changing a claim on behalf of a homeowner. This does not apply if the contractor is covered under Chapter 626 of the Florida Statutes and considered a licensed public adjuster.
- Giving a contract to a homeowner without first giving an estimate of the itemized price for services and materials for a reparation. This only applies if the work is part of an insurance claim.
- Offering homeowners valuable items such as rebates, coupons, waivers, and gifts of any kind in exchange for letting a contractor either inspect the homeowner’s roof or make a roof insurance claim.
- Creating advertisements such as door hangers, business cards, flyers, emails, pamphlets, etc. that would encourage a homeowner to contact a contractor or public adjuster to make a roof insurance claim.
On top of this, the amended Florida Statutes section 626.854(15) prevents licensed contractors and subcontractors from advertising or providing public adjuster services without a license. This does not prohibit a contractor from advising a homeowner to contact their insurer to determine if the repair is covered.
SB 76 prevents contractors and public adjusters to encourage Florida homeowners to file roof damage claims. Violators of this law can face a fine of up to $10,000.
Reform to Roof Damage Insurance Claims
Florida insurance reform comes through Senate Bill 76 with hopes to lessen insurance costs. While this bill will not be a quick fix to lessen insurance for Florida homeowners, it will prevent lots of new roof damage insurance claims.
In need of Florida roofing services? Contact us to get a roof inspection today.