Flooding is one of the most disastrous occurrences in the country. In fact, most of the disasters declared by the president involve flooding. In 2015, for example, 29 of the 43 major disasters declared involved flooding.
Floods are a common occurrence in Florida, with the state ranking 2nd for this disaster countrywide. It comes with a major loss of property, lives, and health risks, leaving people stranded and in dire situations. Unfortunately, even when insured, policyholders still find it hard to secure the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Not to fret as Klotzman Property Damage Law is here to help. We have been in the property damage field for years and whether your claim has been declined, delayed or the amount does not reflect the damages, we can deal with the insurance company on your behalf. Call us at 954-915-7405 to learn more about your legal options. A Florida flood damage lawyer might be perfect for you.
What Should You Do After a Flood?
Floods can be detrimental and what you do during this moment is crucial to your life, health, and property. Experts recommend the following.
Switch off the Electricity
First and foremost, you’ll want to turn off all electrical systems in your house. However, do not walk through the water to reach the fuse box. If you are unable to reach this unit, seek an electrician.
Evacuate Your Home
If a sewage leak or burst pipe is the source, evacuate your house and seek a dry, safe spot outside. It can be the backyard or your neighbor’s place. Ensure that every inhabitant is accounted for and safe.
If the flood is from a natural disaster, look for temporary shelter, either by listening to the news or calling the authorities. Get everyone evacuated as soon as possible as floods can get worse.
Call for Help
Once everyone is on safe ground, call for assistance. If anyone requires medical attention call 911. Regardless of what is happening with the flooded premises, the damage has already been done and the priority should be the well-being of you and your loved ones. Once everyone is safe, you can begin making calls to the appropriate parties to initiate the recovery process.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Ensure you call your insurance carrier and notify them that your premises have experienced flood damage. Ensure you clarify if you need to wait for the adjuster before the cleanup and repair process commences.
When pondering about what to do next, cleaning up the mess is probably what comes to mind. However, before you do that, ensure you document every detail so that you can show the adjuster the damage extent. Use your phone or DSLR to take pictures and videos of the damage.
The water flooding in your home will likely be contaminated or contain hazardous items. As such, you will want to take extra care when documenting everything. Wear protective gear like waterproof boots and waders.
Begin the Cleanup Process
Flood cleanup is an arduous and time-consuming process. You will have to remove the water and salvage any belonging you can, dry out the space, and disinfect every affected surface and object. Just like the step above, take precautions and wear protective gear.
What is Flood Damage?
Flood damage is defined as the damage or loss incurred as a direct result of floods or flooding events. Simply put, there must be an unusual amount of water to create a flash flood or flooding event. This happens during heavy rainfall or natural disasters like tsunamis. It can also occur if you do not have an ideal slope for stormwater runoff.
What are the Effects of Flood Damage?
Floods can affect you and your property in an array of ways including:
Loss of Life
The loss of life is undeniably the most devastating effect flood damage can have on you and your loved ones. Flash floods are the primary weather-related killer in the United States, taking the lives of people, livestock, pets, and wild animals.
Health and Safety Risks
Flood damage comes with an array of health and safety risks, especially if the water isn’t immediately cleaned. These include:
- Contaminated water
- Structural damage
- Electrical risks and damage
- Non-functioning drainage and sewer systems
- Sharp metals and glasses
- Destruction of roads and bridges
- Sanitary hazards and diseases
Not all insurance providers cover damage resulting from floods. This can put a huge financial strain on you as a victim. If you reside in Florida, you will want to ensure you have adequate flood damage cover for your home or business. Otherwise, it may make years for you to get back on your feet.
Common Reasons for Flood Damage Claim Denial
Even with adequate coverage, you might be left in shock when your claim gets denied. As unfair as it sounds, the insurance carrier has the right to deny a claim for one or more reasons. The common ones include:
Every policy requires that you notify them as soon as possible about the damage. Check with your insurance carrier to learn more about the deadline for filing a flood damage claim.
Your insurance company may also deny your claim if they find out that the loss you filed was not as a result of flooding.
Insufficient Proof of Damages
It is your role as the homeowner to file and prove your claim to the insurer. As such, if you don’t accurately document the damage in a detailed way, the insurance company may have a ground to deny your claim.
The Damage is Not Covered
When it comes to flood damage claims, the loss experienced should be as a direct result of the flooding event. If the damage was due to something like a leaking pipe, then your claim may be denied.
Failure to Mitigate
Following flood damage, you are required to do what you can to prevent further damage to your belongings and mitigate the extent of losses. So, if you do not take reasonable steps to prevent further loss and leave your items exposed, the insurance company may have legal grounds to deny your claim.
How Can a Florida Flood Damage Lawyer Help?
By seeking a flood damage lawyer to help you file or defend your claim, you not only free yourself from the burden but enjoy an array of other benefits. Here’s how a Florida flood damage lawyer can help:
Help You Understand Your Policy
When buying homeowner’s insurance, the agent may fail to tell you that flood damage is not included in the policy. When a flooding event happens, a lawyer will work with you to closely assess your policy with the aim of better understanding your coverage and rights. They will help translate the policy and help you understand between flood and water damage coverage.
Organize & Analyze Evidence
In order to boost your odds of compensation, you’ll have to gather as much evidence as possible. A great attorney will help you know the most valuable evidence and also what it means for your claim. Examples of solid evidence include:
- Videos and photos of property damage
- Invoices, bills, and receipts for property repairs and replacements
- A dated copy of your insurance policy
- Photographs of important documents related to your case.
If you do not have adequate documentation, the insurance carrier may argue that you are overestimating the damages and use it as grounds to deny your claim, even if you are being truthful.
Navigate the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The NFIP is a cooperation between private insurers and the Federal Environmental Management Agency (FEMA), to provide flood damage insurance to regions that are prone to floods. The NFIP is designed to protect homeowners and business owners at a higher risk of flood damage to get back at their feet following a flooding event.
However, this program can be complex and involves going through government red tape. With the help of an experienced attorney, however, you will get to learn the ropes and deadlines. They will also help you file a claim success successfully.
Protect You From the Insurance Carrier
As we all know, insurance companies will use all tactics to avoid making payments. They will take advantage of the desperate, inexperienced, and unaware people making claims, regardless of the policy or field. Bear in mind that they are more interested in protecting their bottom line than your needs. They will even make a quick offer in an attempt to make you settle for a lower settlement.
An experienced lawyer knows all these tactics and will work on your side to help prevent exploitation and manipulation. With legal representation, they won’t be in a position to lowball you.
Hire the Best Florida Flood Damage Insurance Lawyer Today!
The team at Klotzman Property Damage Law is passionate and dedicated to helping Florida policyholders recover fairly. We have been in the industry for years and have the skills as well as resources needed to fight denied flood damage claims. If you need assistance, schedule your free initial consultation today by calling 954-915-7405!