Storm Damage…Who Should Pay?
You send your insurance premiums in on a monthly basis. In return, you rely on these payments to keep the policy in force that would protect you should the unfortunate occasion arise. You hunker down when a storm arrives with a sense of protection knowing you have insurance. Unfortunately, when your roof is damaged from a hail or wind storm, your insurance company will most likely find a way to avoid paying. They will classify your damage as a “non-covered occurrence” so that they can deny payment on your claim, leaving you and your home exposed.
What is a Non-Covered Occurrence?
Let’s say a strong storm has ripped through your neighborhood and your shingles are flapping up and down in the wind. This is storm damage. It is related to a storm that has now, damaged your home. Now, we know that this is the result of the storm, but your adjuster has been trained to see this “damage” differently and might say the flapping shingles are instead, the result of them being improperly installed by your roofer years ago. You know what comes next…your dear insurance company calls you to say that “improper installation” is not covered under your policy since it is a “non-covered occurrence”.
This does not have to be the case. A denial from your insurance company does not have to be the final decision for you. Hiring an attorney to advocate for you and your claim is the best way to guarantee you get the repairs you are owed. It is unfortunate, but this denial or underpayment of roof claims by insurance companies is a very common event here in Florida.
Role of an Adjuster after Storm Damage
When a storm blows through, claims come in. Storm damage is now your new reality. Your insurance company will send out an adjuster to inspect your damage. Mind you, this is an adjuster that has been hired by your insurance company. Adjusters have been trained to look for ways to deny the claim. Maybe they will claim your roof damage is the result of old age. Maybe the denial will be the result of a lack of maintenance on your part. Or better yet, some mysterious cause which is, as I explained before, not covered under your policy.
Whatever the reason, these adjusters are being paid to find these reasons. They do this to give the insurance company a way to deny the claim for the storm damage. It is our experience that the adjuster will most likely recommend the cheapest repairs possible. Oftentimes, if they do offer compensation, they will only offer to pay for a portion of the roof. If not a portion, the minimum amount to keep rain from soaking the inside of your house. This is not in your best interest but, definitely, in the insurance company’s best interest!
Dont always accept what you are being told by your insurance company or adjuster. Your policy most likely provides for more than just patchwork when a portion of your roof is damaged. In fact, it is probable that they have the obligation to fully restore your roof to a pre-loss condition. Furthermore, most times, this means the full replacement of your roof.
Speak with an Attorney for Professional Guidance
If you attempt to go against your insurance company on your own, I can almost guarantee you will be unsuccessful. Hiring an attorney levels the playing field with your insurance company. They are no match for the law and in most cases, the Florida law requires they pay for, in addition to your roof claim, your attorney’s legal fees and costs should you prevail on the case. So, there is no reason to put off obtaining an attorney to help you with your claim.
Don’t just give up when you are told your roof damage is not covered. Instead, seek the assistance of an attorney and make sure you receive the coverage you are owed.