Matching Roof Tiles – Can your insurance carrier force you to make mismatching repairs?
The majority of hurricane damage cases at our firm concern repair versus replacement of tile roofs. In many cases insurance carriers attempt to force homeowners to use mismatching roof tiles in an effort to avoid paying for a complete roof replacement and instead attempt to pay for a minor repair. Fortunately for Floridians the law is on the side of the policyholder and policyholders do not need to settle for mismatching repairs.
As background, it helps to understand a little about roof tiles. All roof tiles are not made alike. In fact, every roof tile has a unique shape and locking mechanism. The best way to think of roof tiles is like children’s blocks, where only the same brand and same size will fit together.
Over time, manufactures modify the design of roof tiles and stop making old models. For older homes, this means that tiles that are the same shape and size are not available for a repair. Thus, there is no way to fix a roof and the only option is replacement. In fact, making repairs with tiles that are not a proper mechanical fit is a safety issue and these improper repairs can quickly fail in a wind event. Due to this widespread problem, the Tile Roofing Institute published a list of obsolete roof tiles (click here for TRI letter). If your tile is on this list you may have been entitled to a complete roof replacement by your insurance carrier.
Thus the $64,000 question is why did my insurance carrier not pay for a complete roof replacement and only pay for a repair? The short answer is money. We believe that after Hurricane Irma insurance carriers underpaid roof claims in Florida by between $500 million and $1.5 billion. It is easy to see that insurance carriers have significant financial incentive to underpay your claim.
The good news is that the law in Florida is on your side. Florida Statute Section 626.9744 provides in pertinent part:
When a loss requires replacement of items and the replaced items do not match in quality, color, or size, the insurer shall make reasonable repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas. In determining the extent of the repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas, the insurer may consider the cost of repairing or replacing the undamaged portions of the property, the degree of uniformity that can be achieved without such cost, the remaining useful life of the undamaged portion, and other relevant factors.
This is often referred to as the Florida Matching Statute and it protects homeowners in Florida. Floridians do not need to settle for mismatching roof repairs. Not only can it be a construction hazard, it also diminishes the value of a home.