ORLANDO, Fla. - A Cocoa man claimed his insurance company would not cover $50,000 in damages from a hail storm two months ago.
His contractor documented roof and siding damages, so he never expected a big fight over repair bills. He turned to Action 9 Consumer investigator Todd Ulrich for help.
Terry Holzhausen’s home took a pounding when a hail storm hit in late March.
He still can't believe it. “I never knew hail could do such damage in such a short period of time,” Holzhausen said.
His new metal roof has dozens of dents. Hail sliced through his vinyl siding and the thermal insulation behind it.
“When I went into the attic and saw daylight through the side of the house, I knew there was an issue,” Holzhausen said.
He contacted a general contractor who repaired his home before.
“When you get up there and start checking, there's damage everywhere,” said Troy Morgan, owner of Elite Restoration Group.
Morgan’s estimate for repairs is $51,000.
About a third of the estimate is for replacing siding and the rest of the estimate is for a new metal roof.
“There's so much damage across this roof that partial replacement won't work,” Morgan said.
According to Holzhausen, his insurer, Heritage Insurance in Clearwater didn’t respond. After he complained, the insurance company only agreed to pay for half of the repairs.
Holzhausen said appeals got him nowhere.
“Calling, leaving messages, emails to everybody,” Holzhausen said.
That's why he contacted Action 9 two weeks ago to review his damages, estimates and denial.
Ulrich had a roof consultant lined up to inspect the house for hail damage. As it turned out, the consultant wasn't needed.
Holzhausen said the morning Ulrich was supposed to arrive, insurance company managers told him they would reconsider.
“I told them we were going to continue with the interview with you and eyewitness news. Next thing I know, mysteriously, I got an email stating I would get a full offer,” Holzhausen said.
Heritage Insurance told Ulrich that Holzhausen’s repair estimate was too high and his contractor was not willing to negotiate. But the insurance company confirmed his $51,000 in damages is now fully covered.
“Everybody else in the neighborhood is already taken care of and I had to fight for it,” Holzhausen said.
If your homeowner’s insurance claim is denied, consider hiring a private appraiser or insurance adjuster for a second opinion.
You can also send a dispute to Florida's Department of Financial Services.
Heritage Insurance response:
Mr. Holzhausen submitted a hail claim for the damage to his roof and was paid for the initial damages. His roofing contractor submitted an estimate much higher than our original estimate and was unwilling to negotiate to a fair price. It appears that Elite roofing contracted to replace several of the roofs in the neighborhood. We ultimately negotiated and settled the claim in full to Mr. Holzhausen’s satisfaction.
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