Hurricane Michael Damage and the Building Moratorium

Hurricane Michael Damage and the Building Moratorium

As Hurricane Michael damage recovery moves into the new year, we continue get deluged with property insurance claim questions from frustrated policyholders. Right now, we seem to be at the stage where policyholders have received settlement offers they feel are too low to fix their damage or where property owners feel their insurance company is not being responsive. This is especially true with commercial claims and the business community in the Panhandle as evidence in this article Local Businesses Say Insurance is Taking Too Long on Claims. Now there’s a good way to kill off the small business community! To top it off, several of the Panama City area counties are revising their building codes and have put a moratorium on issuing building permits! See Article 1, Article 2. Another blow to those trying to recover and rebuild. Policyholders need to be careful accepting final settlement offers until they understand the ramification of these new building code requirements, if they have coverage under their policy and how it could impact their construction costs.

Here’s a recent policyholder question:

Q. We have a new home bought in June 2018. We sustained minimal damage to our roof from Hurricane Michael. We have been told by roofers that the roof warranty is now void because of the high winds and the whole roof should be replaced. The insurance company is saying only a ridge cap should be replaced. Is this something you can help determine?

A. Sir: I suggest you find the warranty and see what it says regarding damage by a peril like a hurricane. I would then contact the installer/manufacturer and get them to provide you something in writing regarding their position. You need this in writing. If they tell you the warranty is void but will not give you something in writing, write the person back and confirm what they said verbally to you. I would send this letter via certified mail.

If the warranty is void, then you have a loss and it should be covered by your insurance company. Insurance companies do not like to pay for this but if you push hard enough, they may concede coverage. In the past, I have seen insurance companies assume the warranty, that is to say they will cover any issue the original warranty would cover for the time that is left in the original warranty. Be persistent.

If you have questions regarding any property insurance related issue caused by Hurricane Michael please call 800-321-4488 or contact a licensed Florida Public Adjuster to submit a question to one of our insurance claim experts.

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