As I’ve written before, on March 24, 2013, a severe unnamed wind and hail storm hit the Central Florida area. The storm caused significant damage to area homes and businesses. In this case, our clients purchased replacement costs homeowners insurance coverage for their home. Replacement cost insurance coverage pays the cost of replacement if any part of your home is damaged. Replacement cost coverage pays the replacement cost without any deduction for age, and there is no depreciation or pro rata reductions of any sort. This includes the replacement of a roof regardless of age if it needs replacement due to storm damage.
Our clients reported to their homeowners insurance company that they had sustained hail damage to their roof as a result of the March 24, 2013 storm. Their insurance company hired what is known as an outside adjuster to inspect the roof. The outside inspector is not a roofer, contractor or engineer. This outside adjuster confirmed that there was hail damage to the roof but said that less than 25% of the roof had been damaged, and therefore the insurance company denied the claim.
This week we filed a lawsuit against the homeowners insurer for breach of contract.
First, the hail storm did not damage less than 25% of the roof. The entire damage sustained hail damage.
Second, the insurance company is required to replace the roof even if less than 25% of the roof was damaged. In Florida, if part of your home is damage and requires replacement of items and the replaced items do not match in quality, color, or size, the insurance company is required to upgrade the old remaining parts to match the new.
Thus, in this case, the insurance company is agreeing that it must replace some of my clients shingles due to the hail damage. There is no way that the shingles will match the old remaining shingles. Accordingly, under Florida’s “matching” rule, the insurance company is required to replace the entire roof.
Further, it is nearly impossible to spot repair the shingles which the insurance company agrees are damaged. I’ve had many roofers and engineers agree with me that such attempts to spot repair often cause more damage than they are attempting to repair.
If we win this case, the insurance company will be required to pay our attorneys’ fees and costs. And, if we lose, we’ll work for free. Additionally, I will front all expenses for the case. In a case like this, that will include, a roofer, an engineer and a forensic meteorologist.
Always remember, “NO” is not the end of the inquiry. It is just the beginning. In fact, I can’t win your case until the insurance company says “NO.” So, don’t be discouraged or intimidated by an insurance denial. Every case I’ve ever won all have one thing in common – they all started with “NO.”