Not long after moving into their dream home, Albert and Michele Arias were contacted by their insurance agent. Before they moved in, the home had passed an inspection, but their agent called to tell the couple that the roof had maintenance damage and would need to be replaced.
Most insurance companies do not cover issues in roofs that are caused by wear and tear or lack of maintenance. Indeed, because this particular damage had occurred over time, their insurance did refuse to cover the cost.
“It’s frustrating that this whole thing is happening,” Albert says.
The insurance company had contacted them just a few days after they moved in, asking if they would like to file a claim since a small hail storm had hit the area. They took the advice and filed the claim, but when their roof was inspected, the insurance adjuster found no hail damage and told them the roof did not in fact need to be replaced.
The couple then contacted the insurance agent to let them know about these developments. They were told that it did not matter, and that they were expected to make plans for a roof replacement by the end of the month or the company would drop their insurance coverage altogether.
“What is the reasoning by having us do that?” Michele asks. “I mean, yeah, there might be minor damage but we can fix that.”
Replacing their roof will cost about $10,000 by Albert’s estimate, and the couple simply does not have the money to take on such a project.
“It just feels like they put me in a spot where we either pay a lot of money or lose everything,” he said.
Their insurance company, Allstate, was contacted about the claim, but their spokesperson says they are unable to comment on any specific claims. They did, however, release a general statement to a Denver news station.
“Upon a new policy being issued, insurers regularly inspect and underwrite property to ensure that we are aware of any pre-existing conditions that may pose an immediate risk, whether they be worn roofs or general maintenance concerns,” the statement said. “In roofs for example, when there are shingles that are worn and/or damaged, we will ask that the customer replace those individual shingles as part of normal preventative maintenance to their home and to ward off as much risk in the future as possible.
“It’s standard across the industry that homes, and roofs in particular, are inspected at the point of new business,” the statement continued. “Keep in mind too, roofers and insurance inspectors assess roofs from a different perspective.”
Nonetheless, the couple is in the process of switching to another insurance company. They say they are afraid, though, that they will now be forced to replace their roof no matter what at this point.
“It’s hard,” said Michele, “this is a home that I wanted and I got it and I’m happy and it’s working out and then all of a sudden you’re going to destroy that for me. It’s not okay.”
Roofing is essential to any home or business for that matter, so when there are legitimate issues, they should, of course, be fixed right away. Several regions across the country have experienced severe weather, with damages far worse than the Arias couple has had to face. Last week, high winds tore the roof off of the Mount Peyton Hotel in Quebec, and Fort Worth saw considerable damage following a twister.
It is quite likely in the Arias case however, that they are not in the wrong. It is their hope that by switching to a new insurance company, they will not only avoid the replacement, but get more accurate coverage in the future.