There are a handful of factors that should likely guide your decision making on roof repair versus roof replacement:
Does the damage compromise the stability or water resistance of your roof? Will repairs be enough to prevent additional damage? Relatively minor damage on a newer roof likely won’t justify the cost of replacement. Serious damage on an older roof that can’t be reliably repaired may warrant a roof replacement.
Florida building codes require roof sections be replaced rather than repaired if they have suffered more than 25 percent damage.
How Florida insurance companies feel about your roof is complicated. On the one hand they don’t enjoy paying out claims for roof replacement. Repairs result in lower claim payments, which is good for your insurance provider.
On the other hand, if they don’t adequately repair your roof, you will inevitably have more claims in the near future. It’s possible those claims will cost even more.
If they don’t pay to replace your roof and then the next hurricane causes water to leak into your home, they may end up having to foot the bill for all kind of additional repairs or personal property replacement.
The public outcry over homeowners insurance premiums in Florida has led local legislators to look for ways to get insurance companies to drop their prices. There’s a tradeoff for cheaper insurance – less coverage. One of the new laws on the table would force policyholders to pay most of the roof replacement cost if their damaged roof is more than 10 years old. One of the latest proposals would require claim filers to pay:
Shingles do fade over time, which means when you replace shingles torn off by wind or damaged by falling tree limbs, the new shingles might not perfectly match the surrounding shingles. How much this bothers you or whether it’s a problem at all depends on the age of your roof, where the shingles are located and your own personal preferences. This is mainly a problem on older roofs, which would likely benefit from replacement anyways.
Yes – it may be possible to replace just the damaged section of your roof. Reroofing a section of your roof is more expensive than replacing some shingles, but it still costs less than a total tear off and reroof.
This is frequently the solution preferred by the insurance company since it’s generally cheaper than replacing an entire roof for isolated damage. Whether partial roof replacement is a viable option depends on the size of the damage and the age of the roofing.
Oftentimes it is more affordable to do a whole roof replacement all at once. Some of the labor costs and fees will be the same whether your full roof is being replaced or just half the roof is being replaced. While the amount of material used and the hours it takes to install will be less on a partial roof replacement, the team still may need to haul out gear, set up the job and clean up afterwards. Only needing to pay for all those costs once is generally less expensive than having to pay for it on two separate partial reroof jobs.
You should talk with a roofing contractor and a public claims adjuster before threatening to sue the insurance company. Homeowners insurance policies in Florida are complicated and certain roofing materials or damage types might not be covered by your policy, or you might have a higher hurricane deductible.
However, it’s important insurance companies are held accountable when they breach their duty of good faith and fair dealing. If you believe you were misled about what would and wouldn’t be covered when you signed your insurance contract, or if they’re denying or delaying a legitimate claim payment, you may want to speak with an attorney or public claims adjuster. Not every claim denial is bad faith, but you still deserve answers.
Insurance companies in Florida have some justification for wariness when it comes to roof replacements. In the past there have been roofing contractors who promise to pay the homeowner’s deductible, meaning they were essentially offering free roofs on the insurance company’s dime.
Florida Statute 817.234 False and Fraudulent Insurance makes it illegal for roofers or any contractors to pay your deductible:
“A contractor, or a person acting on behalf of a contractor, may not knowingly or willfully and with intent to injure, defraud, or deceive, pay, waive, or rebate all or part of an insurance deductible applicable to payment to the contractor, or a person acting on behalf of a contractor, for repairs to property covered by a property insurance policy.”
In 2019 Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 7065 which changed the way “Assignment of Benefits” work in Florida. It’s now harder for contractors to trick homeowners and insurance companies into paying for unnecessary repairs and roof replacement, but it can also sometimes make claims more difficult for people who need money to rebuild after hurricane damage.
Be careful of who you work with, but don’t back down if you believe your roof damage claim is being wrongfully denied. It may be in your best interest to speak with a public adjuster and a roofer you trust.