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Inspection form causing insurance discount headaches (p. 1)

We were talking about the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf the other day. Someone suggested it was really a metaphor for homeowners and hurricane insurance coverage in Florida. The pigs are the homeowners, and each used different building materials for their little houses. The wolf represents a category 5 hurricane that the pigs hope their homes will survive.

We're not sure we want to go there. What we know, though, is that metal and concrete barrel tile roofs are the strongest and can withstand hurricane-force winds much better than other roofs.

Asphalt shingles, for example, didn't fare well in Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Asphalt and clay tiles were responsible for much of the damage caused by the storm. They had a tendency to fly off and let water in. Wood shingle roofs aren't that common in South Florida, so any evaluation of their storm-worthiness would be speculative.

But concrete barrel tiles are the material of choice for many properties in Florida, especially upscale developments. Why, then, would there not be an insurance discount for this roof?

When the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation released the updated inspection form last year, the form didn't include the concrete barrel tile roof as an option for hurricane-proofing discounts. Because it's not on the form, inspectors are reluctant to recommend it, and that means the homeowner who installs a new concrete barrel tile roof won't get the discount.

These discounts can save homeowners as much as 10 percent on their insurance premiums. That can mean hundreds of dollars a year in South Florida.

We'll continue the discussion in our next post.

Source: Sun-Sentinel.com, "Tile roofs don't qualify for insurance discounts under new rules," Julie Patel, 06/20/2011

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