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Will Post-Irma Regulation Increase Homeowners Insurance Costs in Florida?

Will Post-Irma Regulation Increase Homeowners Insurance Costs in Florida?

Thursday, 14 December 2017 12:20 PM Current | Bio | Archive

While Florida suffered less from Hurricane Irma than did Houston from Harvey and Puerto Rico from Maria, the impact of the storm was still devastating to the state’s infrastructure and housing stock.

Now state regulators are proposing changes to the roofing materials allowed in part of the state which could further affect homeowners’ costs to rebuild, as well as increase insurance costs.

How Would Metal and Concrete Roofing Affect Homes’ Hurricane Resistance?

Specifically, state regulators are exploring making it mandatory that new roofs be made of either metal or concrete. While the current regulation change is only being explored in the Florida Keys, it could make its way to other parts of the state if successful. As a whole, this could have a significant impact on Florida homeowners in the way of increased insurance costs.

When determining insurance coverage, the value of the materials used in home construction is a contributing factor. A more expensive roofing material, for example, can mean an increased assessment in the home’s total value, and therefore an increase in homeowners insurance costs.

Several kinds of roofing are used by Florida homeowners. Asphalt shingles are perhaps the most common roofing material across the U.S., and are also commonly seen in Florida. This construction, metal, clay or concrete tiles, and “built-up” flat roofs of tar and bitumen, are popular in part because they are inexpensive.

What these materials aren’t is especially well-suited to the stress and strain caused by the high winds and heavy rain of a hurricane or tropical storm. Carpentry professionals routinely point to metal roofing as offering the best protection against hurricanes. FEMA also recommends metal roofing for high-wind areas, but does stress that certain roofing design can negatively impact the effectiveness of the roof. As for concrete roofing, most professional organizations rarely specify this material as a preferred option to avoid roof damage during hurricanes. However, government officials in Florida pushing for both metal and concrete roofing requirements highlighted the fact that structures using both types of roofing materials fared best in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

How Much Do Metal and Concrete Roofs Cost?

Pricing can vary, and strict numbers are a bit difficult to come by. However, some estimates place metal roofing anywhere between $100 to $300 a square foot for cheaper materials, or $600 to $800 for some styles. Concrete roofing starts at an even pricier baseline, and could be anywhere from $300 to $500 a square foot. All of these figures are notably higher than those for asphalt roofs, for example. And that’s at current prices. A regulation mandating the use of metal or concrete roofing could drive up the prices of those materials for Florida buyers.

Check With Your Insurance Company for Potential Impacts

If you’re considering updating your home’s roofing material, or you were forced to make repairs after Hurricane Irma, it’s best to contact your homeowners insurance company. Recent repairs may have impacted the value of your home, and you may need to update your policy as a result. If an accident does occur, it’s possible that newer, more expensive roofing materials have raised the value of your home beyond your current coverage. Such an incident would mean Florida homeowners without enough coverage will have to pay more out-of-pocket expenses should an incident occur.

Other Post-Irma Concerns for Homeowners

Florida homeowners may need to worry about more than just mandatory roof replacements and increased homeowners insurance costs. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is set to expire soon. Congress will likely decide to extend the program temporarily, so that they can rework the program. However, changes made to the program may result in increases in premiums for all flood insurance policyholders. Some on the Hill are even pressing for changes to the program that would disallow those who live in high-risk flood areas from participating at all in the NFIP.

For Florida residents, in particular, flood insurance is a often a necessity. An increase in both flood insurance costs—or the complete loss of coverage—and higher homeowners insurance costs due to roofing material mandates could see some Florida residents paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more each year.

Maxime Rieman is Product Manager at ValuePenguin. Educating and assisting shoppers about financial products has been Rieman's focus, which led her to joining ValuePenguin, a consumer research and advice company based in New York. Previously, she was product marketing director at CoverWallet and launched the personal insurance team at NerdWallet.

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Florida state regulators are proposing changes to the roofing materials allowed in part of the state which could further affect homeowners’ costs to rebuild, as well as increase insurance costs.
irma, regulation, homeowners, insurance, florida
Thursday, 14 December 2017 12:20 PM
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