AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Since 1989, roofing contractors have been able to waive or absorb the cost of insurance deductibles for roofing jobs. However, a new state law will soon outlaw that practice.
Here on the High Plains, it is no secret that hail and high winds cause plenty of roof damage. Soon, consumers will have to pay their insurance deductibles out of pocket to fix it.
House Bill 2102, also called the “payment of insurance deductible law,” will go into effect on Sunday, Sept. 1.
“The homeowner or the business owner who has a damaged roof will then have to write a check for the amount of that deductible and prove that in fact it had been paid,” said Marty Rowley, a local attorney.
In the past, many contractors absorbed or waived deductibles to stay competitive, especially in return for free advertising.
Don Tipps, a local State Farm agent, said HB 2102 simply redefines an old, poorly written law.
“It just closed a loophole to where the verbiage is more enforceable…roofers can’t waive that deductible anymore,” Tipps said. “It’s very cut and dry. It’s more black and white now, where before it was gray at best.”
Rowley said he believes insurance companies will benefit more than consumers.
“That business owner and a homeowner is going to have to look real hard at whether or not they want to go ahead and pursue that claim and get their roof repaired or whether they think they can just kind of live with the situation, even though they’ve got a damaged roof,” Rowley added.
Cecil Price, the owner of Price Roofing, said he thinks the new law will be positive and keep contractors honest.
“There will be some homeowners that will choose to forego their claim. We hope that’s not the case,” Price said. “The bill does provide for financing in a [sic] installment plan option…There will be options for them to pay that over time.”
If the law is not followed, both the roofing contractor and the consumer could face charges of fraud.
Contractors caught waiving deductibles could face a Class B misdemeanor, a $2,000 fine, and up to 180 days in jail. If the insured party is aware, they could face punishment as well.
Tipps said insurance companies are taking the new law seriously and expect to see strict enforcement.
HB 2102 was passed back in June with bipartisan support. MyHighPlains dug through the voting records and found our only local state representative who voted against the measure was State Rep. Ken King of Canadian. Reps. John Smithee and Four Price voted for the bill.