HELP! I JUST discovered a leak. When is “too late” to file a hurricane roof damage claim?

HELP! I JUST discovered a leak. When is “too late” to file a hurricane roof damage claim?

Is it too late to file my roof leak damage claim?

Depending on the type of roofing material and the type of damage to your roof, it may take weeks, months, or even years for the effects of hurricane damage to become noticeable. 

Florida statute 627.70132 (i.e. “Notice of Windstorm” or “Hurricane Claim”) states that you have up to three years from the date the hurricane crossed land to file your initial claim, supplemental claim, or reopen a claim. 

If you’re just now discovering brown water spots on your ceilings or suspect there may be mold damage in your walls, months or years later you may be panicked and frustrated with yourself for not recognizing the damage sooner. Rest assured, this is a normal and common and common scenario. 

A single shingle or tile displaced by the storm can gradually erode into a much larger damaged area and subsequently cause it to leak. If the initial damage was caused by the hurricane, it can still be attributed to the storm that initially caused the damage.

View a list of Florida hurricanes and windstorms here

The next “surge” of homeowner claims will happen long after Ian passes

We in South Florida experienced a huge surge of roof damage and hurricane damage claims immediately after Ian from homeowners with obvious, undeniable damage. In the months and years to come, other damages will begin to reveal themselves. 

While these claims can be trickier to verify and defend, they are by no means a lost cause. In our years of serving the South Florida communities, we’ve successfully won claims from countless homeowners when damage presented itself long after the event itself. Roof damage including missing or broken shingles, holes, and leaks – even if not caught right away – can still be defendable.

This is something you can do yourself or you can hire a professional. There is no “magic” or “guesswork” involved. If you are well-versed in the letter of the law and understand how the claims process works, there are standard practices by which many of these claims can be argued and won. 

What to do if you discover late surfacing roof damage 

It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to initially deny a roof damage claim soon after the event and certainly more likely as time passes. 

“I had a 6-year-old roof in excellent condition that Hurricane Ian ripped up and the insurance company has now declined my claim stating it did not look like storm damage. This is a roof with NO trees and nothing to fall on it from anywhere. It was in excellent condition and never had a leak prior to the hurricane.” Link

  • If you’re noticing damage now that you suspect may be attributed to a storm that occurred months or even years earlier, it’s important to notify your insurance company as soon as you become AWARE of the problem. It may have been 5 months since the hurricane – regardless, notify them as soon as you become aware. 
  • DO take steps to prevent further damage and get the leak under control. However, do not complete any restoration until the adjuster has assessed the situation. 
  • Gather evidence – photos of the roof and area of damage at different time intervals before and after the hurricane.
  • This is the point at which you may consider contacting a public adjuster. A public adjuster isn’t going to charge you to discuss and evaluate the situation. 

Hurricane property damage doesn’t need to be catastrophic to file a claim. However, it does need to be addressed. Small damage now can result in big damage later – especially in the case of water damage claims. One way or another, these types of claims need to be addressed, either by paying for the repair yourself or by filing a claim. You DO HAVE RIGHTS under Florida’s Windstorm and Hurricane provisions. 

Special cases division for Hurricane Ian Damage Claim Victims 

If you’re confused about the process, that’s understandable. We are South Florida public insurance adjusters serving our community. We have set up a special division to provide information, answer questions, and assist you in navigating the hurricane insurance claims process – regardless of whether or not you hire us. 

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