As more homeowners see their insurance rates continue to go up, many people are surprised by the number of roofing scams that have been happening in Sebastian and Vero Beach.
The insurer usually covers the cost for roof repairs commonly caused by storms, but there’s been an ongoing issue with roofing companies conducting fraud schemes, which is another reason why homeowners pay a higher cost to have insurance.
The scam occurs when a roofer knocks on your door and promises you a new roof that your homeowner’s insurance will cover. The roofer then goes after the insurance company to cover the costs, even if the homeowner didn’t need a new roof.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law that forbids contractors from soliciting homeowners to file roofing claims. The law also narrows the time frame in which homeowners can file claims.
Some analysts call it “assignment of benefits” when homeowners sign their rights away to a roofing company. The roofer then goes after the insurance company for all they can get.
The recent uptick in roofing scams has forced many insurance companies to change their policy forms to prevent a roofer from using the scheme to take advantage of the homeowner.
Roofers are no longer allowed to solicit door-to-door, which is critical to the scammer’s marketing plans, according to the Florida law.
However, a federal judge halted part of the law citing it violates commercial speech rights and the First Amendment. The judge found that the section of the law that bans “written or electronic communication that encourages, induces, or instructs someone to contact a contractor or public adjuster for the purpose of filing an insurance claim for roof damage” violates the First Amendment of contractors.
The judge agreed fraud is a serious issue for the state but said the Legislature failed to address these concerns within the bounds set by the Constitution.