Hurricane or Storm Damage: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You
After a hurricane or big storm, homeowners usually check for damages caused by fallen trees, flooding, or debris. Growing up in Florida, I know that the day after the storm, if your power is still on and you don’t have fallen trees in your yard, you think to yourself “I am one of the lucky ones”. However, hurricanes and storms can often cause damage to your roof, seen or unseen.
Sometimes, the damage to your roof can result in an interior leak large enough to be noticeable. Other times, it can be unnoticeable or may appear as a small stain in the ceiling which grows larger over time, or may not result in an interior leak at all. However, many homeowners are unaware that this seemingly insignificant damage could mean much larger problems for your roof. In fact, it is possible that the storm has caused such substantial damage to the roof that it could require replacement of the entire roofing system.
Because most homeowners don’t ever step foot on their roof, they can easily miss the damage. Even when homeowners do check their own roofs after a storm, there can be damage that is not clearly visible from the surface or that you may not notice unless you are a trained professional. It is common for the damage to go unseen for months or years and continue to worsen.
The problem is that you only have three years after a hurricane to report the damage to your insurance company or you will be unable to pursue the claim. Additionally, most policies include language that require prompt reporting of the damage, which means that you need to report it as soon as you become aware of it. The more time that goes by between the storm and reporting it to your insurance company, the more likely your insurance company will use the “prompt reporting” language as an excuse to deny your claim.
For these reasons, it is critical to have your roof inspected by a professional following a hurricane or other large storm. If damage is found, we can assist you in reviewing your policy and recovering the money you need to make necessary repairs to your property.
– Natalie Adarve, Esq.