Some homeowners who spent thousands of dollars on improvements to protect their homes against hurricanes and qualify for insurance discounts – only to have them revoked – may score discounts once again.
That’s because the Office of Insurance Regulation has clarified a form home inspectors and insurers use to verify discounts after construction industry officials complained there were too many gray areas that caused homeowners to lose legitimate discounts.
But some inspectors say the new form is worse, and could lead to more discounts being revoked. For instance, they said homeowners would have a harder time qualifying for discounts for hurricane shutters. They said the new form also didn’t eliminate a requirement that inspectors include photos and permits for most upgrades, which inspectors say is difficult and in some cases, impossible.
For instance, it would be impossible in most cases to photograph the secondary water barrier under a roof between it’s under the top layer of the roof.
The Florida Cabinet will consider approving the new form Tuesday.
Several changes to the form are expected to help homeowners qualify for discounts. The new form would effectively:
Allow discounts for tile roofs. For years, insurance companies gave homeowners discounts on their premiums for installing tile roofs but some revoked the discounts in recent years after regulators made changes to the form last year. Some inspectors said the form didn’t include a place for them to report tile roofs were installed on some homes.
Allow more discounts for how a roof deck is attached to the main part of a roof. A roof deck is the layer of roofing material between the main roof and other insulating and weatherproofing layers. The new form would simplify and broaden what qualifies for discounts.
Allow discounts for strong wall materials, even if the home has wood gables. The new from would remove a section on wall construction. Since the section asked inspectors what percentage of the wall was made of wood versus concrete or reinforced masonry, some homeowners were losing their discounts if their insurers or inspectors included wood gables as part of the walls.
Photo: An employee of Category 5 Hurricane Shutters installs shutters on a home in Delray Beach. (Jim Rassol, Sun Sentinel)