Hurricane Ian was a powerful and destructive storm that impacted many parts of the country. While the immediate aftermath of the storm is often the most visible, it’s important to remember that the effects can continue to be felt for months or even years afterward. As rainy season starts to swing into full gear and Hurricane Season is on the horizon one common problem that homeowners may begin to notice is leaking from their roofs.
DAMAGE IS NOT ALWAYS APPARENT RIGHT AFTER THE STORM
Roof leaks can be caused by a variety of factors, but one of the most common is damage from wind or falling debris during a hurricane. While some leaks may be immediately apparent, others may take time to develop as water seeps through small cracks or damaged areas. Additionally, as Hurricane Ian hit at the end of September Florida is not getting as much rain fall between September and May as it does during the rest of the year. Leaks usually start to present themselves during rainy season especially when there are multiple days of rainstorms in a row. This is because as the sun is not able to heat up the house’s attic space during the cloud coverage from the storm the water has more time to get to the areas of the attic that will be noticeable from the inside of the home.
Homeowners who may have experienced roof damage during Hurricane Ian should be on the lookout for signs of a leak, including:
- Water stains on the ceiling or walls
- Dripping or pooling water in the attic or crawl space
- Buckling or warping of roof decking or shingles
- Mold or mildew growth on surfaces inside the home.
YOU MUST MITIGATE YOUR DAMAGES
If any of these signs are present, it’s important to take action promptly to prevent further damage. Insurance companies can typically deny coverage for “neglect” or “failure to mitigate” as it is a common policy exclusion. This means that you must take steps to prevent your property from being damaged further. This may include contacting a roofing contractor to perform repairs or putting tarps on your roof.
AN INSURANCE COMPANIES FAVORTIE POLICY PROVISION
Additionally, there is typically a provision in the policy called “Prompt notice.” This provision essentially requires you to make the claim as promptly as possible. However, this is a favorite exclusion of the insurance companies once several months have passed since a storm. The policy never defines prompt notice so the insurance companies can use that ambiguity to improperly deny legitimate claims.
This means that homeowners who have not yet reported roof damage to their insurance company may be at risk of having their claim denied. It’s important to review your policy and understand the reporting requirements so you can act quickly if necessary. If you’re unsure about the specifics of your policy or whether you’re at risk of a denied claim, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney or professional for guidance. Attorneys and Public Adjusters can actually call in the claim for you.
In summary, homeowners who have experienced roof damage during Hurricane Ian should be vigilant for signs of a leak and take action promptly to prevent further damage. Additionally, it’s important to understand your insurance policy’s reporting requirements and act quickly to avoid a denied claim under the “prompt notice” provision.
After a hurricane damages your home, the quickest way to get paid is to have skilled property claim attorneys working hard to fight the insurance company on your behalf.
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