Friday, September 18, 2020
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The Villages

‘Free’ roofs could be costly in the end

To the Editor:

In our area of The Villages there are a lot of new roofs being put on houses.  This is fine because the houses around here are about 20 years old and so are their roofs, and these roofs were designed to last 20 years.  What is not fine is that everyone who has homeowners insurance will eventually have to pay for these worn out roofs.  This is how I think this is happening.
Someone has a home with a 20 year old roof with 20 year old shingles.  An inspector comes to them and says that he will inspect their roof for free.  The homeowner says fine go ahead and have a look.  The inspector of course finds that the roof should be replaced and tells the homeowner that it was damaged by a storm some time in the past and that his homeowners insurance will buy him a new roof.  The homeowner is delighted and calls his insurance company to report the storm damage.  The insurance company sends out an insurance adjuster who confirms the findings of the original inspector.  The insurance company the authorizes a roofing company to put on a new roof and writes a check to pay for it minus the deductible on the homeowners policy.  The homeowner is happy that he got his old worn out roof replaced for nearly free.
Back in January a Villager that I know, was aware that his roof was 20 years old and decided that it was time to replace it. He got bids from half a dozen roofing companies and wound up paying $8,900 for his new roof. Another Villager who lives nearby, in a similar size house, had a roof that was also 20 years old and needed replacing, however he decided to have his roof inspected and have his insurance company pay for it. Even though his house is the same size his roof cost $15,000.
This makes me wonder why the insurance company paid so much more for the same size and kind of roof and where that money went? For that matter why did the insurance pay for it at all? The roof was worn out and needed to be replaced as a part of normal maintenance. Could there be some corruption here?  Maybe some insurance fraud?  Is this kind of thing legal?  Does anyone in the insurance industry or government know about this or even care?
Who is the victim here? On the surface it looks like the insurance company is the victim. But, is the insurance company going to absorb the cost of replacing these roofs? No, they are not. The insurance premium of everyone who has homeowners insurance is going to have to pay for the hundreds of new roofs being replaced. So brace yourselves because the cost of all these roofs will show up on your future insurance premiums.
Maybe the state could pass a law that stops this or maybe it is already against the law and someone in government should investigate this and stop it.  Or at the very least when the insurance companies raise the rates on their customers they will only raise them on the people who got “free roofs.”
This would be similar to how they raise your insurance premium after your get in an at fault  wreck with your car. They decide you are a bad driver and are a greater risk so they raise your rate.

John Hunter
Village of Santiago

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