If your roof springs a leak, the water damage could be enormous. Flooding due to a roof leak could cause thousands of dollars in damage to your roof, ceiling, insulation, wood, furniture and floors. If you have homeowners insurance, your first thought may be to file a claim for financial benefits so you can receive coverage to repair the damage.
In some situations, however, your homeowners insurance may not cover a roof leak. Learn how to avoid a denied claim for a roof leak in Tampa.
Storm and Hurricane Damage
Most homeowners insurance policies offer coverage for damage from natural disasters such as storms, flooding, hurricanes, wind, fallen trees and fires. If one of these perils in Tampa caused your roof to leak, your insurance company will most likely accept your claim and offer payment to cover related property repairs. The same is true if a storm, flood or hurricane causes foundation damage, wall splintering, electrical problems, destroyed landscaping and other damages.
To receive compensation for a storm-related roof leak, you must file your storm claim promptly. Take photographs of the damage you suffered due to the roof leak. Document the pieces of property the leak destroyed and their pre-incident values. The insurance company may send an agent to your home to evaluate the extent of the damage. Always request a copy of the estimate a contractor gives you to repair your home. The insurance company should then offer a settlement amount that is reasonable according to your losses and the language of your policy.
Lack of Roof Maintenance
Your home insurance company may not cover a roof leak, however, if it stemmed from something other than a natural disaster, such as lack of proper roof maintenance. It is your responsibility as a homeowner to adequately take care of your roof. This entails regular roof inspections from a professional, roof maintenance, and repairs when you have an issue such as worn or damaged roof tiles. Your homeowners insurance company expects you to keep up with roof maintenance to reasonably prevent related leaks and property damages. Failing to do so may make you ineligible for insurance benefits.
Most homeowners insurance providers do not offer compensation for roof leaks if an investigation shows the homeowner reasonably could have prevented the damage through adequate roof maintenance but negligently failed to do so. The company may send an inspector to your home to identify the cause of the roof leak. If the agent finds that the cause was something you reasonably could have prevented, such as a hole from regular roof wear and tear, the insurance company may deny your claim. You will then have to pay to repair roof leak damage out of pocket.
The average asphalt roof has a lifespan of about 20 years. Other types of roofs can last longer, from 30 to 100 years or more depending on the material. It is up to you as a homeowner to keep up with the age of your roof, as well as to schedule annual inspections. Old age can make your roof prone to problems, including leaks or lost tiles. If an insurance company investigation finds you reasonably should have replaced your roof prior to the leak, it may deny your damage claim.
The best way to ensure your homeowners insurance company will accept your roof leak claim is to keep up with roof maintenance, repairs and replacement. Although your insurer should cover roof leak damage from rain, wind, hail or a hurricane, it most likely will not cover property damage from a maintenance-related roof leak. Schedule regular roof inspections with a professional roofing company to keep your roof in the proper condition to protect your home.
Has Your Home Insurance Company Denied Or Undervalued Your Property Damage Claim In Florida?
If your insurance company is dragging their feet regarding your property damage claim you should speak with an experienced insurance claim lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Tampa, Florida law office directly at 800.451.6786 to schedule your free consultation. We help Florida residents just like you fight the big insurance companies who fail to abide by their own policies. Remember, we work on a contingent basis, meaning you don't pay us anything until we win your case.