You know the roof on your second home is original and is approaching 30 years of age. There has never been any water intrusion, but by the same token, you have concerns about the upcoming hurricane season which is only a few months off, and the cold hard fact of the matter is that your roof was not designed to last forever. You bite the bullet and decide to stay ahead of the curve and replace the roof. You organize the trip, do your due diligence garnering first-hand recommendations from people you know and trust, you check references, and you interview and select a contractor. You don’t necessarily go with the lowest bid because you are willing to pay for a top quality job. You organize the demolition and installation dates, everything goes exceptionally well and ultimately you are ecstatic, the contractor did a beautiful job and the new roof looks terrific. The last of the tiles on the peak of the roof are being installed as you rush out to grab your cab to fly back to work in Washington, DC. That sounds as if things could not have gone better, but hold on, let’s flash forward ten and fifteen years.
Ten years after the roof was replaced you decide to add a bedroom and bath to the house. That project also goes up without a hitch, your current contractor is able to match the new and the old roof tile perfectly, and he is extremely complimentary about the previous contractor’s work. Five years down the road you receive a notice from your insurance company that they want to come and physically inspect the house – yep, you have a renewal coming up in a few months. That kind of notice always makes the hair on the back of your neck rise, but you know you have also replaced all of the windows with hurricane proof high impact glass. You tell yourself to relax and not to worry unnecessarily; the house has stood its ground for forty-five years without so much as a single claim.
On the day of the inspection a polite young woman arrives dressed in nicely pressed khaki pants, a golf shirt embroidered with the company logo, her identification and letter of introduction, and her measuring tape and tools. You are actually impressed with her thoroughness, and you even help out with the search for various details that need to be checked off the list; you never know, you might get points or dispensation for being helpful and courteous. The inspection takes about two hours to complete, you sign an acknowledgment of the visit and you actually do relax because the inspection was painless and seemed to go very well.
Two weeks later after fifteen good years of a worry free co-existence with your new barrel tiled roof you open the notice that arrives from the insurance company only to learn that you are being hit with a huge increase on your annual premium. You wonder, how in the world could that be, and then you move to the highlighted explanation: Original roof, 45 years of age.
After several agonizing and frustrating calls to the insurance agency you realize that you failed to double check that the roofer had in fact applied for the proper permit from the county. You call directory assistance and ultimately learn that the roofer is no longer in business. You have no recourse, as far as the insurance company is concerned your roof is original and forty-five years old. The roof is only halfway through its expected lifespan of 25 to 30 years. It is a no win situation, spend the money now to replace the roof with a permit from the county, or take the hit of the annual premium increases which will only increase each year after year. Note to self: Slow down and pay attention. Never knowingly, or unknowingly do a major renovation of any kind without the proper permits, you will always pay for your mistake in the long run.