State lawmakers Friday night unveiled proposed legislation that would allow homeowners with older roofs to still get property insurance and create a fund for Floridians who want to upgrade their homes.
Under a policy plan unveiled three days before lawmakers return to
And for roofs that are older than 15 years, insurers would have to allow homeowners to have an inspection on the roof’s condition before refusing coverage. If the inspection shows the roof has five or more years of useful life left, the insurance company could not reject coverage simply because of age.
The ideas are meant to halt one of the worst side effects from the state’s insurance crisis. As insurance companies have seen a rise in roof claims, they’ve refused to insure homes with older roofs, shedding policies and forcing homeowners to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new roof just to get coverage.
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The proposals were announced after weeks of negotiations between leaders of the
In addition to roofs, lawmakers are proposing:
Creating a host of limits on attorney’s fees in lawsuits against insurance companies. Insurers have blamed lawyers for causing double-digit rate increases for most Floridians.
Allowing Floridians to receive up to
“The proposal balances fair costs and protections for consumers,” Sen.
Lawmakers would also keep a closer eye on insurance companies that fail. Within two months after an insurer is ordered into insolvency, the state would have to conduct a report about why the company failed. Earlier this week, the Herald/
Lawmakers are being recalled to
While the changes announced this week could quickly address one aspect of the crisis — denials for older roofs — it remains unclear whether the changes will result in serious relief for Floridians experiencing double-digit rate increases.
For months, observers and analysts have been warning that without significant reforms, the property insurance crisis would pose a terrifying threat to homeowners.
“They’re going to lose their homes. They’re going to be forced to sell their properties,”
The proposed legislation would create an exemption in the state’s building code, so that roofs that are more than 25% damaged but already comply with the 2007 building code may be repaired instead of being required to be replaced.
Insurance companies would also be allowed to offer policies with a separate roof deductible that would not exceed 2% of the policy dwelling limits or 50% of the roof replacement costs. Homeowners would be required to get a discount for selecting that policy, and the deductible would not apply if the home is a total loss, or damaged by a hurricane, a fallen tree branch or a roof loss requiring a repair of less than 50% of the roof.
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