How old is your roof? Insurance companies could void your coverage – WFTV
ORLANDO, Fla. — Residents of central Florida are suddenly seeing their homeowners insurance canceled or not renewed.
9 Investigators have looked into why it has become so difficult to obtain new insurance.
Channel 9’s Jeff Deal discovered that many homeowners had to pay out of pocket for a new roof just to insure their homes.
Paul Alexander has been an owner for over 25 years and has lived near downtown Orlando for nine of those years.
He said he never had his home insurance canceled until the middle of last year.
It has now been canceled three times, most recently due to the age of its roof.
“It’s the slope – that goes into a flat roof,” Alexander said.
Read: ‘An absolute nightmare’: Homeowner struggles to get new roof fixed
He realizes that at 15, the roof is reaching the end of its life.
“But there was never a leak, and I never had a problem with the roof,” Alexander said.
He is not alone.
Landlords across the state have received notices of non-renewal or cancellation.
“It’s been overwhelming, Jeff, for the past two years. And I’ve tried to warn so many people of what’s to come,” said Diana Giron of Universal Insurance Agency.
Read: ‘It’s almost certainly a trap’: Roofers are using new tactics to control insurance claims
She said she received daily phone calls from customers about the issue.
Giron said there had been a flood of claims, mostly for new roofs and lawsuits against insurance companies.
Some of these claims come from storms, but some come from roofers going door to door, notifying homeowners they have damage and convincing them to file claims for roof replacement.
The lawsuits then come after the claims have been dismissed.
“There are more than 380 lawsuits filed every day against home insurance companies in the state of Florida,” Giron said.
Read: ‘They want me to pay $4,600 so they don’t do anything’: Risky home repair contracts can be expensive
Lawyers who win cases can collect up to 30 times the amount of the claim in attorney’s fees.
Giron said that has put some insurers out of business and others pulling out of Florida or looking to limit their risk, especially on roofs.
“People don’t get renewed, or they’re told, ‘Did you replace your roof before renewal?'” she said.
She said that some companies will no longer insure a house with a roof that is more than 10 years old.
Roofing experts see it too.
“I’ve inspected over 50,000 roofs and I’ve stopped counting,” said Doug Wallace, who started his roofing consulting firm WJA Consulting 35 years ago.
Read: ‘Absolutely shocked’: Homeowner captures what should have been a roof inspection on camera
What is happening now is unprecedented.
With genuine claims for hurricanes and other storms and what Wallace considers many fraudulent rooftop claims in recent years, he understands why insurers do what they do.
Ultimately, however, he sees it as hurting the owners.
“We watch them all the time,” he said. “They don’t need to be replaced. They have at least 5, 6, 8 years left. And people are put in a financial situation where they have to come up with $15,000 to $20,000 for a roof.
Alexander said he will have to pay out of pocket for a new roof immediately so he can find a company to insure his homes.
“I just signed a contract yesterday to buy a brand new roof, and I’m trying to get it done as soon as possible. So hopefully I can stay insured,” he said.
Giron said paying out of pocket for many is difficult, but said rising real estate values in Florida may help some.
For people who have been in their home for a while, she recommends considering refinancing to see if taking out the cash will help cover the cost of a new roof.
Once a new roof is in place, she recommends doing a wind attenuation inspection to further reduce the cost of home insurance.
Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV, and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.
©2022 Cox Media Group