Just like roofers have contracts so do insurance companies. Everyone’s policy is a contract.
These contracts state you must make your claim within a reasonable time frame. They state that a homeowner has certain rights during certain periods of time.
An insurance policy has a whole list of duties that a homeowner with which a homeowner must comply. Otherwise, they have grounds to decline the claim.
Does the delay in reporting prejudice the insurance company? If in your scenario, the claim happenned in 1994 and they just got around to it, then, the insurance company gets prejudiced because of 15 years of increased material and labor costs
It would be similar to you giving me a quote for my roof 10 years ago and then I come to you today and say put my roof for this price that you quoted.
If a homeowner has damage they need to report it and report it timely. The insurance company, in a long delay, loses the opprtunity to inspect the damage when it is initially occurred and the chance to evaluate the claim at that time.
Otherwise, one could live with damage for a prolonged period of time and then when true failure occurs, then, they could submit their claim on an open ended basis.
There is no way for an insurer to charge a proper premium if loss costs can be open ended as this essentially makes an insurance policy a maintenance policy. If that ever happens, then very few people will have insurance and you and i would not be having our enlightening discussions!