By Casey Crowther
Florida law gives commercial and residential property owners up to three years to file insurance claims for hurricane damage.
Why so much time?
Some damage isn’t immediately discovered after a hurricane or tropical storm.
In fact, the team of Haag-certified inspectors at Target Roofing & Sheet Metal is still finding evidence of unreported damage from Hurricane Irma, so we are documenting evidence to help property owners file insurance claims before it’s too late.
Irma hit Southwest Florida on Sept. 10, 2017, so the statute of limitations is set to expire in September 2020.
Target Roofing’s emergency response team repaired and replaced hundreds of roofs in the days, weeks and months following Hurricane Irma. Certain types of hurricane damage was easy to spot — flooding, fallen trees and blown-out doors or windows. Unless your roof had a gaping hole caused by flying debris or falling limbs, however, you might not have noticed damage that could potentially be compromising your roof.
A tattered TPO membrane on a flat roof, broken tile or shredded shingle can break the watertight seal that protects a property. Flashing, which helps direct water off a roof, might have been compromised and now contributes to ponding after a rainstorm. Leaks initially might be isolated to attic or crawl space, or only noticeable during intense thunderstorms, but leaks never go away — they only grow larger over time. Water intrusion can damage insulation and drywall, as well as contribute to mold growth. Water also presents electrical hazards.
After two-plus years, it might seem like a stretch to prove a direct link between Hurricane Irma and roof damage. That’s why it’s critically important to have a certified, experienced roof inspector complete a thorough exam before the statute of limitations expires. A qualified opinion from a Haag-certified inspector carries weight with insurance companies. In fact, it can make or break an insurance claim by connecting the dots between the force of a hurricane and its resulting damage.
The key for any property owner is to be proactive. Don’t wait for water to start dripping overhead before calling a roofing professional. Leading roofing contractors offer annual preventative maintenance plans, essentially a roofer on retainer that ensures your roof remains in tip-top shape despite everything Mother Nature throws our way.
A new roof can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, so a small investment in a thorough roof inspection could be the key to having an insurance company cover some or all of your roof’s hurricane-related damages … provided you submit a claim before Irma’s statute of limitations expires in September.
About the Author
Casey Crowther is president of Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, a licensed and insured commercial roofing specialist based in Fort Myers. For more information, visit TargetRoofers.com or call 239-344-7496.