My client purchased a standard Florida homeowners insurance policy when she bought her home in 2006. At the time of the purchase her mortgage company required a home inspection. The home inspection revealed that the roof was in good shape with no noticeable damage. In 2010, she noticed that several of her neighbors were having their roofs replaced at the same time. She asked one of the roofers performing the work to inspect her roof. The roofer found that her roof had substantial hail damage.
Although she does not know when the hail storm occurred, we know it was after she purchased the home, and that she had the same insurance company the entire time she has owned the home.
She reported the claim to her homeowners insurance company which sent an inspector out to look at the roof. The insurance company’s inspector determined that there was no hail damage. (An inspection of the roof reveals that there is indeed hail damage.)
Today, I filed a lawsuit against her homeowners insurance company to require them to replace my client’s roof. I have been successful on claims like this even when we cannot pinpoint exactly when the storm occurred. However, in this case, I suspect I will be able to determine when the storm occurred from either a neighbor, or retaining the services of a forensic meteorologist. I routinely utilize the services of a forensic meteorologist to determine when a home or business has been hit by hail or strong winds.
Although my client’s roof is almost 20 years old, there is no such thing as “pro-rating” a roof. Most homeowners policies in Florida are for “replacement cost.” Thus, if the roof is storm damage and needs to be replaced then the insurance company owes to replace the entire roof with no deductions for age.
I always front all the costs involved in cases like this, and if I am successful, the insurance company will have to pay my fees and costs, and if I lose, I’ll work for free.
Also, please remember that I will look at any insurance denial for free!