Hurricane season is now underway and lasts through November. Here are three key roof-related tips to follow before and after any big, bad hurricanes come calling in your Tampa, Clearwater, or Oldsmar, Florida, neighborhood.
1. Consider Retrofitted Wind-Mitigation for Your Older Roof
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tampa rates as one of the top five U.S. cities at risk of serious impacts from hurricanes. Wind-related damage to your roof is a very distinct possibility on the west coast of Florida.
Newer homes built in Florida’s most wind-borne-debris regions generally have roofs that were installed to withstand high winds. If you live in an older structure, a roofing contractor can possibly retrofit your older roof to lower the potential wind damage your home suffers during high-wind events.
Homeowners have two options when it comes to basic wind-mitigation for their older roofs. The first wind-mitigation option is to replace the entire outer roof covering (shingles, clay tiles, or other roof coverings), install and/or improve the roof underlayments, and improve/re-install the roof covering.
The second wind-mitigation option is to have the roof deck secured without removing shingles or other roof coverings. Additional water barriers are provided for existing roofing components with products including foam adhesive.
Both wind-mitigation options must include the following upgrades to secure the roof to the home:
- Fortifying roof and soffit vents
- Strengthening soffit materials
- Reinforcing overhangs on gable-end walls
- Protecting exterior doors and windows
Some older homes can’t be retrofitted with wind-mitigation methods. Homes that don’t qualify for retrofitted roofing enhancements generally need extensive repairs, which may include installation of new trusses, rafters, or roof decking.
Homes that won’t qualify for wind-mitigation include homes with the following issues:
- Roof framing spaced at intervals greater than 24 inches on center
- Roof framing members less than 2 inches in width
- Roof slope less than 2/12 pitch
- Wood roof decking material thinner than 7/16-inch
- Gable-end walls higher than 16 feet
- Gable-end wall panels thinner than 7/16 inch
- Weighty roof-mounted equipment (e.g. solar panels or HVAC units)
An older home with any of the above issues needs extensive roof remediation to protect the contents of the residence from hurricane-related damage.
2. Keep Re-Entry Tags in Your Evacuation Vehicle
After a hurricane, if your roof is damaged from hail, flying debris, or high winds, professionals need to examine your roof to determine the extent of the hurricane-related roof damage and the estimated cost to repair your roof. Your personal appraisal of your roofing situation is not enough to get help from your insurance company or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after a hurricane.
However, your curiosity may get the better of you if you live in an evacuation zone and want to return to your home to assess the losses to your roof. If you want to check out your Tampa home’s damage after a storm, remember to keep your official hanging car tag in your vehicle. Hanging car tags give you permission to enter secured areas of Tampa after hurricane events.
If you live in one of the City of Tampa’s evacuation zones, hurricane re-entry car tags were mailed out and otherwise distributed earlier in the year, but you can still obtain one of the tags for a small fee from the City of Tampa. Other barrier islands along the coast offer similar re-entry tags.
Re-entry tags allow you to meet with on-site, credentialed roofing contractors, insurance adjusters, and agents from FEMA without having to produce documents you may not possess after a hasty hurricane evacuation. You can also escort your non-credentialed roofing pro, insurance agent, or other helpers to your property in most cases as long as you have your re-entry tag displayed on your vehicle.
3. Understand Florida’s Insurance-Related Roof-Damage Laws
According to Florida Statute § 627.70132, you have three years from the date of hurricane-related roofing losses to make a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company. Be aware that the three-year deadline doesn’t protect you if you know about roof damages far earlier than three years after a hurricane strikes your home.
For example, if you fail to report roof damage a month after a hurricane rips a hole in your roof, don’t expect your insurance company to cover the cost of household furnishings you allowed to become damaged by spending three years under a leaking roof.
Report storm-related roof damage to your insurance agent as soon as possible after you realize there’s a roof problem. If repair costs for your roof-related insurance claim are denied or otherwise delayed by your insurance company, the amendment to Florida Statute § 95.11(2)(e) gives you a five-year deadline (from the date when claim-related roof damages were first noticed) to sue the insurance carrier.
The amended Florida statute changes the former rule that allowed homeowners to sue insurance companies up to five years after roof-damage claim-denial dates.
Hire a competent, established roofing company to assist you in making your roof-related hurricane damage claim. Established Florida roofing companies work with insurance companies and understand Florida’s complex roof-related laws and codes.
If you live in Tampa, Clearwater, or Oldsmar, Florida, contact Acoma Roofing Inc. today to retrofit your roof or give your home a complete roofing makeover. Keep our contact info close for post-hurricane roof-damage appraisals, too.