Home Owner Insurance

Learn about home owner insurance regulations in Florida, Roofing, Construction, Home Owner

Home Owner Insurance

Florida is well-acquainted with natural disasters, and homeowners in the state are particularly concerned about safeguarding their properties during hurricane season. Among the various damages that can occur due to hurricanes or severe thunderstorms, roofing damage poses a significant problem. This issue is exacerbated by the turbulent home insurance market in Florida, where the state's home insurance roof requirements have become a noteworthy concern for both insurers and homeowners.

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In early 2022, numerous news reports emerged revealing that insurers were dropping homeowners and refusing to renew their policies solely based on the age of the roof, disregarding its actual condition. This poses a major problem for homeowners with mortgages, as lenders often require insurance coverage. In a state prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, going without insurance is a risky proposition. Consequently, new legislation has been enacted, sparking increased attention and concern from homeowners and insurers regarding roof requirements for homeowners insurance in Florida. Here's what you need to know.

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Recent Roofing Concerns and Legislation In response to a growing number of insurance policy cancellations and refusals based on roof age, the Florida state legislature introduced new roof requirements for homeowners insurance in May 2022. Under these regulations, insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage solely due to a roof's age if it is less than 15 years old. For roofs older than 15 years, insurers must allow homeowners to have a roof inspection before denying coverage. If the inspection indicates that the roof has at least five years of useful life remaining, the insurance company cannot reject coverage based on age. Additionally, the legislation updates Florida's home insurance roof requirements by allowing roofs that comply with the state's 2007 building code to be repaired instead of requiring full replacement, even if the roof is more than 25 percent damaged. This change is made possible by a new exemption added to the building code.

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The legislation also addresses the financial impact on insurers, many of whom suffered significant losses due to fraudulent or unnecessary roof replacement claims following hurricane season. A $2 billion reinsurance program aims to protect insurers from hurricane-related losses. Furthermore, grants of up to $10,000 can be provided to homeowners meeting specific criteria to strengthen their properties against hurricane damage. Overall, the legislation aims to improve conditions for both homeowners and insurers. Insurers are prevented from dropping homeowners based solely on roof age, while also receiving financial protection against losses. Reducing the incidence of unnecessary roof replacements by promoting repairs can lower costs for both homeowners and insurers.

Prior Legislative Actions These recent legislative actions are not the first changes to roof requirements for homeowners insurance in Florida. In July 2021, a law was introduced to combat fraudulent roof replacement claims. The concern was that after a storm, roofers would go door-to-door persuading homeowners to file insurance claims for complete roof replacements, even when not necessary. The 2021 legislation prohibited door-to-door marketing by roofers and banned incentivizing homeowners to request roof replacements. The law also updated claim requirements for property owners, stipulating that roof-related claims (including supplemental and reopened claims) must be submitted within two years. If a homeowner decides to file a lawsuit against their insurer, they must provide a written notice 60 days in advance.

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Additionally, the 2021 law revised the roof coverage options available to homeowners. Property insurers can now offer homeowner's policies that adjust roof claims to actual cash value if the roof is older than 10 years. Insurers can also provide homeowners the option to purchase a stated value limit for roof coverage. Insurers must use a "roof surface reimbursement schedule" for policies covering roofs older than 10 years, with full replacement coverage for roofs less than 10 years old. The reimbursement schedule sets minimum amounts for repairs based on the type of roof material. For instance, metal roofs have a reimbursement amount of 70 percent.

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