A reliable roof is essential and the most important part of any house, building, or structure. It is often an afterthought until there is a problem and it needs work. A damaged roof that is left unattended will cause catastrophic damage to the inside of any home or building. As soon as you notice an issue with your roof, you need to act immediately, and you very well may have an insurance claim for your property damage. A Jupiter roof damage lawyer could guide you through this process.
YOUR ROOF IS LEAKING. DO YOU HAVE A ROOF DAMAGE CLAIM?
Possibly—it depends. It depends on the underlying cause of the roof leak. Whether or not your roof damage is covered by insurance depends on the cause of the damage. For example, if there was a storm (hurricane or wind) that caused damage to your roof, resulting in leakage, then your homeowner’s insurance should cover the loss. If the cause of the damage is covered by a peril you are insured against, then you will have a claim that should be covered by insurance. An attorney in Jupiter could help you determine whether filing a roof damage claim is possible.
YOU HAVE A ROOF LEAK, BUT YOUR ROOF IS OLD. CAN YOU MAKE A CLAIM?
Florida is home to many tropical force winds. Even if your roof is old, there is a strong possibility that your roof damage was not caused by normal wear and tear but instead by one of the frequent wind events that occur in Florida. The Jupiter lawyers Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh partner with numerous experts who will determine, for free, whether your roof damage was caused by a wind event or hail storm.
WHAT CAUSES OF ROOF DAMAGE DOES YOUR INSURANCE COVER and NOT COVER?
Every insurance policy is different, but most insurance policies in Florida cover roof damage caused by windstorms, hail, lightning, fire, or hurricanes. These cause the vast majority of roof damage in the state. It was reported by the National Hurricane Center that Hurricane Irma cause over $50 billion in damages.
Similarly, there are certain causes of roof damage that are generally not covered by your insurance. The leading cause of roof damage that is excluded from insurance coverage is damage that results from normal wear and tear. It is important to note that just because your insurance company denies your claim by stating that the damage is a result of normal wear and tear, it does not mean that it is accurate. Our attorneys in Jupiter regularly recommend to our clients to have their own independent expert assess the roof damage to determine the cause.
Unfortunately, your homeowner’s insurance company is financially incentivized to deny claim payments or, in the alternative, make minimal payouts on claims. A skilled attorney can help evaluate your roof damage, your insurance coverage, and your claim to determine whether your insurance company is treating your claim fairly.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THE CAUSE OF YOUR ROOF DAMAGE IS COVERED BY YOUR INSURANCE?
This can be the tricky part. First, you must know the underlying cause of your roof damage. Only once you know the cause of the damage will you then be able to determine if your roof damage is covered by insurance. Even if you know the cause of your roof damage, insurance policies can be extremely lengthy (often around a hundred pages) and confusing.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy provides all the necessary details in these situations. As previously mentioned, these policies can be extremely difficult to decipher. An experienced property damage attorney in Jupiter can review your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if your roof damage is covered by insurance. An insurance agent who sells these policies daily may not even know if your roof damage is covered under the policy. The policies have such nuances that the importance of having a skilled roof damage attorney review it cannot be understated.
HOW LONG DOES A ROOF CLAIM LAWSUIT TAKE?
Once a homeowner starts the claim process by notifying their insurance company they have roof damage, the insurance company has ninety days to investigate the claim and make a determination as to whether the claim is covered or the claim is considered to be denied. However, the insurance company can make their coverage determination in less than ninety days. Once there is a denial, a partial denial, or partial payment on the claim, a lawsuit can be filed on behalf of the homeowner. The time of the lawsuit itself usually takes between six and eighteen months.
WHAT IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A COPY OF YOUR INSURANCE POLICY?
You can contact your insurance agent, and they will be able to provide you with a copy of your insurance policy. If needed, you can go through your insurer directly to obtain a copy of your policy. It is important to note that you want to obtain a copy of your actual insurance policy, as opposed to just the declarations page. The declarations page shows you how much coverage you have, whereas the policy itself is much lengthier and describes in detail what you are insured against.
WHAT IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THE CAUSE OF YOUR ROOF DAMAGE? HOW CAN YOU DETERMINE THE CAUSE OF YOUR ROOF DAMAGE?
It is very common for you as a homeowner not to initially know what causes the damage to your roof. All you know as the homeowner is that your roof is damaged and leaking water into your house. Most of the time, as a homeowner, you will not be able to see the physical damage to your roof that causes the leak.
This is especially true with smaller leaks. Small leaks can be ongoing for months before the homeowner notices the damage resulting from water leaking coming into the home. For example, a small leak caused by damage from a storm can go unnoticed because the water leaks into the attic, where the damage is not visible to the homeowner. Small leaks can result in some of the greatest damage because of the mold that accumulates and the resulting structural damage from the time that the water damage went unnoticed.
Determining the cause of the damage can be tricky, but there are generally telltale signs when the cause of the damage is related to a windstorm or hurricane. For example, on a tile or shingle roof, there are nails that affix the shingle or tile to the roof. Nails are straight and shot straight into the roof. When there is a windstorm or hurricane, the force of the wind causes shingles or roof tiles to lift, which causes the nails affixing them to the roof to bend. An experienced roof damage attorney in Jupiter with the proper experts can help determine the cause of your roof damage.
Once the cause of the damage is determined, the attorney can review your insurance policy and advise whether the damage is covered.
Roof Damage Case Result
We are not afraid to file a lawsuit on roof damage cases and push the case to trial when the insurance company refuses to adjust the claim properly. We recently handled a case in Lake Worth where our client’s roof was damaged by a storm and needed to be replaced. Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company denied the claim. When the lawsuit was filed, the case went to trial nearly eighteen months later. A jury agreed with our clients and awarded them a verdict for everything we asked for in the amount of $75,776.67.
WHAT IF YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY DENIES YOUR ROOF DAMAGE CLAIM?
This is where we can help you. When an insurance company denies a claim when it should be paid out, we file a lawsuit against your insurance company for a breach of contract claim to force them to properly pay the claim. In essence, you obtained and paid for homeowner’s insurance to protect your house, and you submitted a claim when your roof was damaged. Your homeowner’s insurance breached the insurance contract that you entered with them. We file suit for damages. Call an experienced Jupiter roof damage lawyer if your claim was denied.