Last June 2021, Gov. Ron DeSantis enacted bills that Florida legislature passed to institute changes aimed at overhauling existing home insurance regulations. The need to do so came as a result of the rapid increases in insurance premiums and growing number of lawsuits over denial of coverages for roof repairs.
The final provisions that overhauled Florida’ governments homeowner insurance laws, also include changes that aim to reign in overzealous roofing contractors. The contention is that many profit-driven contractors influence homeowners to agree to unnecessary roof repairs, which policy holders claim as part of their insurance coverage.
The revised law also tackled procedures home insurance policy holders must follow when making legal claims against insurance providers who refuse coverage of roofing repairs.
Worsening Weather Disturbances Causing Rapid Deterioration of Roofs in Florida Houses
Florida has always been prone to natural disasters, which makes it important for homeowners to make certain their roofings are maintained in good condition. While roofers urge residents to have roofs inspected regularly, the increased strength, intensity and harshness, as well as the frequency of the weather disturbances occurring in the Sunshine State have caused the rapid deterioration of roofings in many Florida homes.
As a result, insurance companies have been constrained to increase premiums and in some areas, reduce the coverage of insurance policies. However, some insurance providers refuse to pay for insurance claims that their adjusters deemed as unnecessary. In such cases, home insurance policy owners file lawsuits. They pay attorney’s fees based on the outcome of their legal case in order to avoid costly legal fees.
Yet most Florida homeowners deem it best to have their roofs inspected immediately after a critical weather disturbance in order to keep roof repair costs at a minimum and within basic insurance coverage.
After all, letting roof problems remain unchecked could result to serious damages that call for roof replacement, if only to ensure the integrity of their roofs. That way, there is peace of mind that one’s home is adequately protected against the devastating effects of hurricanes, tornadoes and tropical storms.
Overview of the Final Additions and Amendments to Florida’s Home Insurance Laws
The final version of the laws revising the state home insurance regulatory policies and as signed by Gov. DeSantis, include the following :
1. Insurance providers must respond in writing to claims for insurance stating whether they accept, deny or continue the coverage.
2. While insurers can assert the right to re-inspect the premises covered by an insurance policy, they must have a set of procedures for analyzing and investigating the notice of claim.
3. When undertaking a re-inspection, the task must be completed within 14 business days from the date the right to reinspect was invoked.
4. Following the insurer’s re-inspection, a decision to accept or to continue denying coverage must be made. If the insurer does not make a formal statement denying the coverage, the insurance provider must respond to a notice of claim; or offer an alternative dispute resolution. If agreed upon by the insurer and policy holder, the alternative resolution must be completed within 90 days. Otherwise, the policy holder making the claim can immediately file a lawsuit after the lapse of the 90-day timeframe, without need to give the insurer additional notice about the lawsuit actually filed.
5. On the other hand, if an insurance claimant fails to comply with the mandatory pre-suit notice that gives time for insurers to respond accordingly, a legal suit filed in court may be dismissed outright and without prejudice.
6. The claims deadline or period within which a policy holder must file a claim has been reduced to two years.
7. As for roofing contractors, the revised law bars them from offering pre-adjusting services along with offers of incentives to have a property inspected.
It is now mandatory for professional roofers entering into a contract with an insured homeowner, to present a detailed estimation of the cost of labor and materials for the roof repairs specifically agreed to in the contract.