Insurance Law/Roof repair

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Question
On June 29th an el derecho storm blew through the mid-Atlantic region. As I live in Maryland, I had a 60 - 70 foot pine tree snap off and hit my  house, damaging my house and my roof.  My insureance company, Allstate, says that they do not have to cover the reshingling of the entire front of my roof becauee there is a line of sight issue.  My current single is no longer in production, the new shingle and the old shingle will be visible 100% along my property line though the entire roof cannot always be seen at certain spots along my property line.
Is Allstate misapplying this line of sight restriction, or am I misunderstanding that if any of my roof isn't visible from any part of my property line, then the line of sight restriction applies?
Thanks,
Kevin

Answer
Kevin,

Sorry to hear about your problems.

The language of your homeowner policy likely states something along the lines of: "We will pay for direct, physical damage to the covered property listed in Schedule A" (or something like that). What you WON'T find anywhere in the policy is a reference to "line of sight". Where that argument comes in is in the principle of "indemnity" ... which means putting you back into the position that you were in prior to the occurrence. That is a common law principle and has different ramifications as this issue is generally specifically addressed by the language of the policy contract.

Courts have addressed this issue and generally found that the Carrier is only required to repair or replace the actual damages. (Greene v. United Services Auto. Ass'n, 936 A.2d 1178, 1186 (Pa. Super.)

What you generally will find is that this subject becomes a combination of "cost-analysis" and a "customer service" decision. IF the damages to the front slope are substantial enough to require the replacement of the entire slope, that may be all that they are required to do ... BUT they have to take into consideration the age and condition of the roof prior to the event and determine IF the roof is actually repairable in the first place. Also, if there are valleys that tie into that main slope, do the shingles from the main slope extend through the valley and under those on the other slopes? If so, you can't tear off the main slope without affecting the other slopes.

Allstate can't treat you any differently than they do other policyholders so if you can show that they have replaced other people's roofs with the same general conditions, you may have a better argument. If the amount of area to be replaced is 51% or more of the entire roof, they usually will go ahead and replaced the entire roof.

Hope this helps.

Kevin Hromas
JD, EGA, RPA, PLCS, HCRI-R/C, CPIU, WINDŽ Umpire
Kevin Hromas & Associates
... A Division of US Insurance Information LLC
www.KevinHromas.com

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Kevin Hromas

Expertise

I am a licensed, executive general adjuster currently holding a Texas resident P&C license (614250), New Mexico non-resident all lines license (248774), Oklahoma non-resident P/F/M license (A299561), Florida non-resident P&C license (E117051) and a National Flood Insurance Program certification (06040100). My areas of expertise involve property and casualty issues in both residential and commercial policies with regards to claims practices and issues. I deal extensively with Lloyd's of London commercial policies and various domestic carriers for residential policies.

Experience

After a 20 year career as a General Contractor, I was employed by Allstate Insurance as an adjuster in Texas, holding various postitions within the property claims department. After leaving Allstate, I specialized in handling losses associated with major catastrophes through-out the country. (Hurricanes Isabel, Charlie, Wilma, Katrina, Ike, etc., hail storms, floods.) I am currently retained as an expert by multiple insurance defense firms in Texas for issues in litigation. I am also a certified Umpire for formal appraisals.

Organizations
Member - Society of Registered Professional Adjusters Fellow - Council on Litigation Management Member - Property and Casualty Association Member - Texas Independent Insurances Adjusters Association Member - National Association of independent Insurance Adjusters Member - Houston Claims Association

Publications
Claims Magazine (www.ClaimsMag.com and then search 'Kevin Hromas' for a full listing of articles and quotes.) www.ClaimsPages.com, www.ProAdjuster.org, www.KevinHromas.com

Education/Credentials
JD - University of Houston Law Center - 1992 BA - Southwest Texas State University - 1980 AA - South Plains College - 1977 PLCS - Personal Lines Coverage Specialist

Past/Present Clients
Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, Fulbright & Jaworski (Law Firm), Bracket & Ellis (Law Firm) Thamm & O'Briant (Law Firm) Sheehy, Ware & Pappas (Law Firm) Walker, Wilcox and Matousek (Law Firm) Financial Guarantee Underwriters

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