How Does Florida’s 25% Roofing Rule Work?

By Mario E. Lopez Esq. 

For South Florida homeowners, the peril of roof damage is a constant concern. From tropical storms, hail, downed trees, to major hurricanes, all types of natural hazards can cause leaks and severe damage to your home. Whether you are a home or business owner, it is crucial you inspect your roof for damage after a major storm or hurricane. You can either inspect the roof yourself or hire a trained professional. Once you’ve had your roof examined for any damage, you should immediately report any claim to your insurance carrier. A common issue that many homeowners face is when their insurance carrier acknowledges that a portion of their roof was damaged by a covered loss such as a hurricane, but then declares that the rest of the roof is either undamaged or damaged by an excluded loss such as wear and tear, lack of maintenance, etc. This is only worsened when the homeowner then goes to apply for a building permit with the local building department to repair the roof, only to be denied a permit because their entire roof needs to be brought up to code. Additionally, if the roof on your home is 15 years or older, your claim may even be denied. Insurance companies do this because they do not want to pay the cost of replacing a roof that is likely near the end of its life expectancy regardless of whether it sustained covered damage.

Very few homeowners in Florida are aware of Florida’s 25% roofing rule which can be found in Florida’s Building Code for residential and commercial properties. This rule can affect how much your home insurance company will pay to compensate you for damage to your roof after a storm or hurricane. The rule basically states that not more than 25 percent of the total roof area or roof section of any existing building or structure shall be repaired, replaced or recovered in any 12-month period unless the entire roofing system or roof section conforms to requirements of the Florida building code. If you find this confusing, you are not the only one (and your insurer is well aware). This blog post will discuss what Florida’s 25 percent roofing rule means for your roof damage claim. The Florida Building Code contains what is commonly referred to as the 25% roofing rule. The rule applies to both residential and commercial buildings in the state of Florida. Here is the specific text of the rule:

Not more than 25 percent of the total roof area or roof section of any existing building or structure shall be repaired, replaced or recovered in any 12-month period unless the entire roofing system or roof section conforms to requirements of this code.

If more than 25% of the roof is damaged by covered events, then the rule entitles you to a full replacement of the roofing system in your home or business, with a few exclusions. The rule indicates to a roofing structure as the two slanted segments covering the home. In cases where you have different segments of roofing, where there is more than one section of two slanted areas over the home, then the rule determines what is replaced. For instance, if your home or business has two slanted roof segments over the home and more than 25% of the shingles are torn off during a tropical storm or hurricane, the rule would allow you to have the entire roof replaced and brought up to current building codes and standards. If your home or business has several roofing segments and only one segment sustained damage greater than 25%, then only the portion of the roof in that segment is replaced and brought up to current building codes and standards. In cases where only a minor portion of the roof is damaged, then the 25% Rule is routinely cited by home insurers when denying roof damage claims. For example, if a large tree falls on your home or business during a hurricane or storm and damages a small portion of your roof, it is likely that a home insurer will try to deny your claim and only pay to fix and repair the damaged portion. This portion would be the only part of the entire roofing system brought up to current building codes. The rest of the roof would not be replaced.

Was Your Roof Damage Claim Denied?

Insurers deny roof damage claims for a variety of reasons including age of roof, pre-existing damage, wear and tear, or faulty maintenance etc. If your roof damage claim was denied or you are getting ready to file a roof damage claim or another type of insurance claim with your home insurance company, it is highly recommended you consult with one of our insurance claims lawyers first. In the aftermath of a hurricane or big storm, insurance companies are inundated with claims. When filing a roof damage claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy, you should always be cognizant of the rules contained in Florida’s Building Code. Although your home insurance company may cover all or at least a portion of the damage, this isn’t always the case. Before you resolve your insurance dispute, consider speaking with a lawyer. An insurance claim requires a detailed analysis of your policy, the circumstances of your claim, and the law. Without legal representation, you may make costly mistakes or undervalue your claim. An experienced insurance claim lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected. Contact one of the attorneys at Farrell, Patel, Jomarron & Lopez! FPJL will aggressively represent you to ensure you get the money you are owed without any further delay by the insurance company.

Contact our law firm today at (305) 300-3000 for a free consultation!