Storm damage is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. The devastation caused to property by the high winds and storm surges can be financially crippling. This is a particularly grim reality for those residing in Florida. According to various reports, Florida leads the country in the number of thunderstorms per year. It experiences up to 100 thunderstorms days per year.
While homeowners find comfort in knowing that they will be covered by their insurance in the event of storm damage, this is not always the case. It is important to note that while insurance companies are meant to compensate you for damage caused by a covered event such as a storm, they don’t have your best interests at heart. They will actively seek ways to devalue and even deny your claim.
To protect your legal rights and ensure maximum compensation, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced Fort Lauderdale storm damage lawyer.
Our highly skilled and knowledgeable storm damage attorneys at Klotzman Property Damage Law have years of experience representing victims of storm damage throughout Florida. We will help fight for your rights and secure maximum compensation to help you restore your life.
What Types of Storm Damage Are There?
Storms often leave a trail of devastation whenever they hit. The type of damage caused typically falls under the following categories.
The wind is known to lift and rip off roof shingles and when strong enough, the wind can cause tree limbs and even the entire tree to break and fall on your property. Wind also carries debris that can cause damage to other parts of the house such as windows, doors, and interiors.
If your roof is showing signs of aging or weakness, it can be affected by heavy rains. Not only can the large amounts of water damage your shingles, but moisture can also leak into weak spots including loose flashing, small cracks, and vent seams, and cause damage major damage indoors.
Trapped moisture also promotes mold growth which can lead to serious respiratory issues.
Hail damage is another common type of damage associated with storms. Hail can crack and damage shingles leaving them susceptible to leaks, damage your siding, and bend roof vents and piping.
Ice and Snow Damage
Winter storms can wreak major havoc on your property. The weight of accumulated snow and ice can cause the roof or entire structure to collapse. Also, the extremely low temperatures can cause water to freeze on your roof and under the flashing causing damage. Ice damming can cause damage to your gutters and roof.
Lightning strikes can cause serious damage to your property. They can cause fire outbreaks and affect electrical appliances, telephones and cables, and electrical wiring.
Do I Need to File a Storm Damage Claim With My Insurance?
Most causes of storm damage are covered under the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. In the event that you suffer storm damage, you need to report the property damage as soon as possible. Keep in mind that almost all insurance companies have strict time limits as to when you should report the property damage claim.
Storm damage can lead to heavy financial losses. To ensure that you are duly compensated, you will need to promptly investigate the damage and report it to the insurance company.
How Do I Prepare for My Storm Damage Claim?
In the aftermath of a severe storm, you may be confused as to what you need to do. There are some key steps that you need to take to ensure that your claim is filed successfully and that you are fairly compensated.
Here is what you need to do after suffering storm damage.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible after suffering storm damage. You will need to provide them with your policy number and contact details. Be sure to provide them with an accurate and thorough description of the extent of your property damage.
Document the Damage
Your next step should be to take photos and videos of the damage caused and also document details of the lost/damaged items mentioning their worth and value. If you can, gather all purchase receipts to help support your claim.
Do Not Throw Away Any Damaged Items or Materials
Do not discard any damaged materials before checking with the insurance company. You will need to show these items to the insurance adjuster. If local municipality laws require you to get get rid of certain items for safety reasons, take photos of them to show your adjuster.
Sign Up for Text and Email Alerts
Your insurance company will most likely use text and/or email message alerts to notify you of the status of your claim.
Contact a Storm Damage Specialist
A storm damage contractor will help determine the extent of the damage caused and help you restore your property. It is also wise to have a contractor available during the insurance inspection to ensure that you are not taken advantage of by the insurance adjuster.
Keep a Record of Your Claim
You will want to keep track of your claim for future reference. Keep a record of all people you talked to in regard to your claim, their names, title, and contact details. Also, note the date, time, and issues addressed.
Is Storm Damage Covered Under a Homeowner’s Policy?
Understandably, you might be wondering whether your homeowner’s insurance policy covers storm damage. The last thing you want is to be caught unprepared. Well, storm damage typically falls under ‘Acts of God.’ These are events that cannot be predicted or avoided and can’t be blamed on any one person.
Most causes of storm damage are covered under the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. These include:
- Wind, hail, and fallen trees
- Lightning strikes and power surges
- Water and ice damage
However, flood damage is usually not covered under storm damage. You will need to check your insurance policy to find out what types of storm damage are covered and those that are not covered.
Are there Deductibles and Limits for Storm Damage?
A deductible is the specified amount that a policyholder must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Under Florida law, hurricane deductibles only apply in instances where the hurricane has been declared by the National Weather Service. These deductibles are applied when property damage occurs after such a warning is issued up to 72 hours after the warning ends.
It also applies when hurricane conditions exist throughout the state. The hurricane deductible is typically a percentage of your dollar amount limit of liability on your Coverage A dwelling. Your coverage will also have a limit. You will need to check your policy to find this out.
How Can a Storm Damage Lawyer Help With My Claim?
There is nothing more frustrating than dealing with an insurance company after storm damage. Keep in mind that the insurance is a business and paying your compensation hurts their finances.
The insurance adjuster is not your friend and is determined to minimize the financial impact on the insurance company. The insurance company will result to a wide range of tricks and tactics to minimize or completely avoid paying.
- Denying your claim on the basis that the event is not covered while it is covered
- Undervaluing the extent of your losses
- Partially denying claims that should be fully covered
- Delaying the process by asking for additional unnecessary evidence and paperwork
- Pressuring you to accept low ball offers
- Not returning calls or emails or being generally uncooperative
Many homeowners don’t know their rights when it comes to storm damage claims and insurance companies are keen on taking advantage of this. It is highly advisable that you reach out to an experienced Fort Lauderdale storm damage lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected.
An attorney will help you file your claim, handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf, and even represent you in court should your case be taken to trial. An experienced attorney is your best bet for full and maximum compensation.
Reach Out to an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Storm Damage Lawyer!
In the unfortunate event that you suffer storm damage, you may experience heavy financial losses and the potential loss of a place of residence. Your homeowner’s insurance policy is in place to cover you against this type of loss.
However, insurance companies are not always willing to meet their end of the deal and will be determined to make things difficult for you. As an average homeowner, it may be difficult to determine the full extent of your losses and recover the money you deserve. This is where a Fort Lauderdale storm damage lawyer can help you.
Our storm damage attorneys at Klotzman Property Damage Law have years of experience handling storm damage cases and have a proven track record of helping clients secure hundreds of thousands in compensation. We can do the same for you.
Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free consultation.