For South Florida homeowners, the threat of roof damage is a persistent concern. From downed trees to tropical storms and hurricanes, all types of natural hazards can cause leaks, damage and total destruction.

When seeking coverage under your homeowner’s insurance policy for roof damage, it is important to be aware of one unique aspect of Florida’s Building Code. Section 611.1.1 of the Building Code states:

“Not more than 25 percent of the total roof area or roof section of any existing building or structure shall be repaired, replaced or recovered in any 12-month period unless the entire roofing system or roof section conforms to requirements of this code.”

If you find this confusing, you are not alone (and your insurance company knows it). Here is what Florida’s 25 percent rule means for your roof damage claim:

1. If more than 25 percent of your roof was damaged, you may be entitled to a full replacement.

First, let’s start with a scenario where more than 25 percent of your roof was damaged, as many Florida homeowners experienced with Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew last year. Florida’s Building Code states that if more than 25 percent of a roof is damaged, then the entire roof must be brought up to code. Roofing standards change regularly; so, for homeowners with older roofs, this often means a full roof replacement.

However, in some cases the Building Code will divide a roof into multiple “roof sections.” If your roof has multiple sections and only one suffers greater than 25 percent damage in a storm, then only the affected “roof section” needs to meet the current building standards.

2. If less than 25 percent of your roof was damaged, the rest of your roof is unaffected.

What if less than 25 percent of your roof is damaged? If this is the case (for example, if a tree fell on one corner of your house), then Building Code Section 611.1.1 does not apply. Only the damaged portion must be restored in accordance with current Building Code standards.

3. Insurance companies will try to minimize roof damage in order to avoid costly replacements.

Under Florida’s 25 percent rule, homeowner’s insurance companies are incentivized to minimize policyholders’ roof damage claims as much as possible. If an insurer can claim that less than 25 percent of a roof was damaged, or claim that only one “roof section” suffered damage, then it will not have to pay out as much as if a full roof replacement were required under Building Code Section 611.1.1. This is an issue that homeowners need to watch for during the insurance claim process. If your insurance company attempts to provide you with only a partial roof replacement, it may be handling your claim in bad faith, and you may benefit from hiring a public adjuster to assess the damage.

Contact the Broward County Insurance Claim Lawyers at Saavedra | Goodwin

If your roof was damaged in a storm and you are struggling to obtain full coverage from your insurance company, the attorneys at Saavedra | Goodwin can help. For an initial consultation, please call (954) 7667-6333 or inquire online today.