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homeowners and insurance

Probably one of the most common questions I hear is “ How much should I insure my screen enclosure for?” First of all, let’s make sure  your screen enclosure is even covered! In response to the rich history of hurricane and tropical storms in the State of Florida, many insurance companies no longer even ensure screen enclosures. And if they do, there are certain guidelines and restrictions they follow. Before we can answer questions about how much, let’s look to see what most insurance carriers require to even cover a screen enclosure:

Pool Cages, What’s Covered and What’s Not?

Insurance coverage varies from company to company, and policy to policy. You will want to check with the agent of your homeowners policy to check what exactly your policy entails regarding your screen enclosure. Some homes are built so that the roof that covers the home extends over the patio, most commonly with one side of the porch being a wall. These types of screen enclosures are typically, but again not always, covered by Florida homeowners insurance policies. A pool or patio cage constructed of an all aluminum panel roof that has been added on to the home  that expands out with aluminum beams and screen material, or one that is built of all aluminum supports, are usually not covered in homeowners policies, unless an additional ryder has been purchased…

And for the structures that are covered by insurance, Florida insurance companies have imposed strict limits for coverages. Many are strict on damages imposed by hurricanes, wind/and or storms, while others will only provide the depreciated coverage based on the materials used to construct the enclosure. One thing all policies have in common is the need for an ‘event’ – an event that cause damage.  Damages that occur over time are considered maintenance and won’t be covered.

It is also important to know that when homeowner insurance companies do cover a claim, they usually only offer coverage for the actual cage or aluminum framework itself, not the screen material that comprises the majority of the enclosure. It is a very rare case that the insurance company will cover the total replacement cost unless there has been an additional insurance ryder is purchased, and even in that case, the enclosure must be kept in top notch condition at all times with screens intact, all fasteners in place, with no rust or mold.

Here’s an important tip based on my experience with insurance claims on pool cages: ALWAYS make sure the fasteners are kept to meet their original specifications (aka, replace them with a higher grade fastener that will last).  As I mention on other parts of the site, some steel fasteners can lose as much as 75% of their original strength in the first 12 months.  So guess what the FIRST thing the insurance adjuster will look at when a claim is filed for pool cage insurance???  You guessed it; the fasteners.  I’ve seen dozens of insurance claims denied because the insured did not adequately maintain the pool cage and keep the materials up to their original specifications.  And righteously so, as the insurance company is basing their risk on what the structure was rated for in its originally engineered condition.  So while the pool cage may have originally been rated for 150mph, as the fasteners degrade, it can only withstand a fraction of that wind force.

It is very important to explore all options when looking into screen enclosure insurance as you do not want to be caught unprepared or under insured. Make sure that you have the coverage that you are comfortable with, and that you keep  your screen enclosure up to par.

What is the Recommended Coverage for a Pool Cage?

When that call comes into our office about how much to insure a screen enclosure for, our professional opinion would be to have it insured for 3 times the price that it is worth, so that you can be compensated for the actual cost if would take to repair or replace the structure. To avoid any conflicts with claims, keep your structure in good condition by changing panels and fasteners when needed, repainting when it is necessary, and making sure all structural beams are securely fastened.

 

Kenneth Wilson
February 16, 2018

Kenneth Wilson

I can build it, and I can help you get the patio enclosure you want! I got my start in the Florida patio industry back in the 70s as a young general laborer looking for something to make a few bucks. At the time I never thought it would end up as my career. Over the years I grew beyond the laborer position, becoming a foreman, superintendent, and then into executive management for some of the largest patio contractors, and material vendors. Now into retirement and slightly bored, I offer consulting services to new and existing contractors, and publish this website to help the people who love their patio's and screen enclosures the most - YOU!

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