We have just entered the month of June, which, as most Floridians know, is the start of hurricane season. For the next several months we will all be closely watching the weather and the endless news coverage of every named storm in the Atlantic. Last year was record setting in this regard with 30 named storms, 13 of which became hurricanes. These storms battered the southeastern United States and caused billions of dollars of damage. As the 2021 season gets started, most Floridians are considering their levels of storm preparedness, from stockpiling canned goods to finally investing in a generator. We are here to focus on a specific facet of storm preparedness: the roof.
Before we get too far along into hurricane season, it is important that you evaluate your roof’s preparedness, as roofs are one of the parts of the home that are most prone to damage from hurricane or tropical storm force winds. The roof is at the forefront of any home’s weather defense system. To evaluate your roof’s preparedness we advise that you take two steps, both discussed below.
Step 1: Determine Current Condition
Your first step should be determining the current condition of your roof. First, determine how old it is. Most shingle roofs reach their life expectancy at about 15-20 years. Tile and metal roofs may last up to 30-40 years without need for repair. Every roof, however, is different. In addition to finding out how old your roof is, you should give it at least a cursory ground level inspection. Are there any missing or broken shingles or tiles? Check from the interior as well. Inspect all your ceilings to check for any leaks, including dark spots that may indicate a leak is starting. If you see a leak on the inside, broken or missing roofing pieces on the outside, or any other indication of damage, it is imperative that you call a roofing specialist.
Roof problems do not fix themselves, and they inevitably get worse over time. If a roof is already compromised, any upcoming storms could cause major damage to the exterior and potentially the interior of the house. Plus, most roofing contractors offer free estimates, so there is no downside to talking to a professional and getting their evaluation. Roof inspections can cost money, so make sure that you ask for an estimate, not an official inspection. If you do not see any problems but are not confident in your evaluation, or if your roof looks ok but it is approaching its life expectancy, it is best to consult a professional. Again, you have nothing to lose and it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you do call a roofer, and they recommend roof repair or replacement, give this serious consideration. You may want to first take the step of contacting several companies and getting a second, third, or fourth opinion. If all the contractors you call give you the same evaluation, this is a good time to take the step of replacing or repairing your roof to make sure that you are protected in the case of a storm. Because roofing is expensive, cost may be prohibitive in this case. There is good news, however. Most contractors, like Florida’s Best Roofing, offer financing options at little or no interest. Additionally, your roof damage may be covered by insurance, which brings us to step 2.
Step 2: Check Your Insurance Policy
This is also a good time to verify the details of your home insurance policy. Do you have one and is it current? Does it cover your roof and dwelling at replacement cost? What is the deductible? Check this carefully, because most insurance policies have a separate deductible for all named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) called the hurricane deductible. The hurricane deductible may be $500 or $1000, but most often it is 2-5% of Dwelling A coverage, which in turn is 80% of the property’s estimated worth. This means that often the hurricane deductible is upwards of $4000 and sometimes even upwards of $10000. It is important to know this number as it will be the out of pocket cost you will bear in the case that a hurricane or other named storm damages your property.
You also need to look into your responsibilities in filing a claim. Usually, this involves noting the date of the damage and taking care to prevent further damages by taking mitigating steps, like tarping a leaky roof. Furthermore, it is important to know the number to call in the case that you need to file a claim. This is not your insurance agent’s number with whom you typically communicate about your policy. Instead, it is the number of the insurance company’s claims department which can generally be found at the top of the policy and on the company’s website online. Finally, make sure to find out if you have any wind or weather damage on your roof prior to the occasion of any named storm hitting the area. If you do, then you may need to file a windstorm claim for that damage before a hurricane hits. This way you will be prepared with a stronger roof for hurricane season and you may not have to pay the hurricane deductible, since in the case of un-named storms the regular, other perils deductible applies, which is typically much lower.
Please take a moment to check your roof preparedness as we enter hurricane season. If you have any questions about your roof, your insurance coverage for the roof, or want a free estimate for your roof in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give Florida’s Best Roofing a call at 386-263-7906!