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Insurance Fraud Has Been Hurting North Port Storm Claims

Recently, North Port residents and other areas of SW Florida have been unpleasantly surprised by announcements such as major insurers leaving the state or even going out of business. This has narrowed insurance options for some residents, which is never a good thing. It can make an already challenging environment even more difficult, especially when it comes time to claim for storm damage.

Unfortunately, it has meant that the remaining insurance companies can sometimes disappoint customers when it comes time to make claims. Mistakes happen, and things go wrong, and not every homeowner is necessarily going to receive the compensation appropriate to the damage a storm has caused. But why is that?

One reason for this is Florida’s unfortunate position as a state where a lot of insurance fraud occurs. And while that insurance fraud centers around home repairs, it’s not necessarily the fault of homeowners but the so-called professionals they hire to repair their homes.

Industrywide Scams Besiege Florida

Florida’s roofing industry has one of the lowest reputations in the country due to unethical and opportunistic roofers who have decided to take advantage of state regulations. To protect residents of areas like Fort Meyers, the government passed laws requiring insurance companies to fully compensate homeowners for whatever costs were needed to repair components of their property, such as the roof. On paper, this was a positive move that should have meant more peace of mind for homeowners.

However, the theory did not anticipate how greedy real-world roofing businesses would be. Seeing an opportunity, a significant number of unethical roofing companies took advantage of these regulations. They would inspect a roof, and even if the damage were minimal and required only some small, basic repairs, they would inform homeowners that the entire roof was in peril and needed comprehensive repair work. The homeowners, often in situations where they couldn’t climb the roof to confirm this for themselves, would take roofers at their word and allow them to charge prices equivalent to a complete re-roofing of a building.

This fraud practice is so widespread that it has made Florida notorious in the insurance industry as a part of the country where widescale fraud is perpetrated on insurers who have little choice but to pay for repairs that don’t even happen as roofers do the minimal work they found while pocketing the rest of the insurance money themselves, leaving homeowners none the wiser.

Be Scrupulous About Your Repairs

The rampant fraud in the roofing industry has, understandably, made insurance companies skittish about storm claims, especially when claims come in that specify an entire roof needs complete replacement. Statistically, this is more likely to be the truth when an area has been at or near the center of a hurricane, as happened earlier this year when hurricane Ian made landfall in the Fort Meyers area in September.

Such an incident would understandably keep roofers busy, and depending on the severity of the hurricane, it’s quite likely that many roofs in the area would need extensive repairs. However, if your home is not in the path of a storm, and the reputation of the roofer you are dealing with is not highly acclaimed, it’s always better to exercise a little more caution and inspect the roof damage for yourself. If you check beforehand and see that you need minor repairs, but your roofer later tells you everything needs to be completely replaced, you may be an unwilling participant in an attempt to scam your insurer.

However, there will be other instances where your claim is legitimate, but your insurer is disputing it. If that’s the case, talk to a storm damage attorney to ensure that your repairs get the appropriate compensation from insurance companies to ensure complete restoration.

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