Roofs are necessary to protect your home, and you, from the elements. Even minor roof damage can cause significant property damage to the interior of your home. Living in Florida, with strong winds and hurricanes, roof damage is pretty common. It can also be very expensive to repair. Here are the steps that you should take if a storm has caused Florida roof damage. 

Prevent Damage Before a Storm

The first steps should be taken well before there is any storm. There are numerous things that you can do to minimize damage before a storm blows through. Remember, even if your insurance company covers damage, they may reduce or deny a claim based on problems that you did not remedy. Here are some things that you can do to minimize damage before that storm damages your roof:

  • Replace any worn or damaged shingles
  • Remove dead trees and any dead limbs off of trees
  • Hire a professional to identify hazards 

Even if you are covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy, you will likely save a lot of time and money if you do what you can to prevent roof damage before it occurs rather than respond to roof damage after the fact.

Document What Has Happened With Your Roof Damage

When it is completely safe to do so, take photos of any damage that has occurred. Be sure to get exterior and interior (if applicable) photos of the home. Take pictures of items that were damaged. It is helpful if you have photos of the property before the roof damage occurred, too. 

Contact Your Homeowners Insurance Company

It is imperative that you contact your insurance company as soon as possible about the roof damage and begin the claims process. Try and do this immediately when it is safe to do so. Be sure to contact them before making substantive repairs. Document all of your interactions with the homeowners’ insurance company. Here is more information on how to file a property damage claim.

Minimize Damage After the Storm 

You have a duty to mitigate damage. That means that an insurance company is liable to cover the damage that is a true accident. If you cause more damage to your property through your inaction, it would not be fair to have the insurance company cover that. For instance, suppose a storm comes through and blows off part of your roof. Obviously, water and debris can come into your home, causing significant damage to your walls and floors as well as your possessions. You might need to tarp your roof or otherwise temporarily patch it to prevent further damage from occurring.

Call a Local Roofer

Consider contacting a local roofer to come look at the damage and give you a recommendation about the right course of action. They will give you an estimate for the repair. During their inspection, roofers will identify any damaged areas, including areas where there are missing shingles. From there, they will get an estimate of the square footage of necessary roofing material, as well as the labor cost involved. Oftentimes, people will eyeball the roof from the ground and decide whether or not to file a claim based on whether they can see if shingles are missing or not. This may be a bad strategy, as you could have significant damage that you are unable to see until you are up there.

There May Be Long Wait Times

If there was a large storm in your area, you should expect that others in your area are also filing insurance claims with their insurance companies. It should not surprise you, then, that insurance companies may take a while to respond to your claim. To avoid long wait times, try and contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Keep reminding the insurance company about your claim by staying in frequent contact with them.

Don’t Accept the First Number the Insurance Company Gives You If It Is Unfair

Insurance companies operate by being profitable. Insurance adjusters will try their best to honor your contract, but you may be presented with a number that is much smaller than what you need to repair your roof. If there is evidence to show, for instance, your roof needs to be replaced rather than merely repaired, now may be the time to advocate. 

Be Prepared for Denials, Too

Roof damage is typically covered by homeowners insurance policies. This does not mean, however, that all claims will go through smoothly. Some insurance adjusters may claim that the roof damage occurred through poor maintenance and being in a state of disrepair. In situations where homeowners recently had some roof work done, or if they are in new construction, they may want to consider whether they have a construction claim.

Be Careful About Fixing the Damage

Be very careful about who you hire to fix your roof. Do your research. Try and get someone who is reputable or even known in your area to fix your roof.

Get the Help You Need from a Skilled Attorney

Contact our office today for help if you’ve sustained roof damage — we are here to assist and explain your legal rights and options. We present the material contained on our website for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal advice and does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you need legal or other professional advice, you should consult with legal counsel about your particular facts and circumstances. Call 321-415-9012 or contact us online to see how we may be able to fight for your claim!