Flooding events are some of the most common and severe natural disasters around the world. There are more than 14 million homes in the United States with an increased risk of flooding. Homeowners spend more than $5.2 billion on floods each year. There are also at least 80 deaths each year caused by flooding. It’s a disaster that every homeowner wants to avoid. But, if this disaster does happen to you, be sure that a Hollywood flood damage lawyer can get you the compensation you deserve.
Unfortunately, the unpredictable nature of floods makes it nearly impossible to always be prepared. It only takes one aggressive storm front to cause extensive flood damage to your Hollywood home. That’s why every resident should consider a specific flood insurance policy to protect their estate’s from serious financial loss. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage and the property damage can be extensive.
If your insurance policy covers flood damage but the insurance company is trying to avoid payments, then you will need to fight back with legal assistance. Our attorneys at Klotzman property law understand the complex nature of these claims and how to settle them properly. Call us today at 954-915-7405 if your claim has been denied.
What Should You do After Experiencing a Flood?
Being in a home during a flood can be a terrifying experience. But the dangers don’t end just because the flooding stops. There are still potential dangers in the home even after most of the flood waters subsides. It’s very likely there was structural damage that could make movement in certain areas risky.
You can begin your claims process after the authorities state it is safe to return. Keep in mind that there are still dangers present. You should report the incident to your insurance agent as soon as possible. This will officially start the recovery process. This includes scheduling an appointment for an inspection.
You can help the inspection run smoother by gathering as much evidence and information as possible beforehand. Take pictures of all the visible damage in the home. Document any damaged household items with as much information as possible. You can also gather samples of damaged décor items. The more information you can provide the easier it will be to secure your claim.
How is Flood Damage Defined?
The term flood damage is often mistakenly used in place of water damage. While there are some similarities, the two are different in a financial and legal sense. It’s very possible for an insurance policy to cover water damage but not to cover flood damage. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to have their claims denied because the inciting incident was not considered a flood.
A flood is a temporary event that most often affects more than one property. The source of the water is usually a natural disaster like a hurricane or a severe storm. Excessive flood waters can also lead to sewage backups, which are covered by most flood insurance policies.
The Effects of Flood Damage
Flood damage can affect your home, your wallet, and your health. A lot of flood damage is hidden beneath the surface, which makes it even more dangerous.
1. Health Risks
One of the most serious long-term health risks of flood damage is mold exposure damage. There are multiple types of harmful mold that can grow in Hollywood, FL. The most dangerous of these is the Stachybotrys chartarum or the “black mold”. Black mold can cause rashes, chronic sneezing, respiratory irritation, and chronic fatigue. It is even more dangerous for family members with asthma.
The structural integrity of your home poses another great health risk. Prolonged flood damage can weaken supports and cause floors to buckle. These potential dangers should be identified, documented, and replaced as early as possible.
2. Financial Impacts
Cleaning, repairing, and remodeling after flood damage is always an expensive endeavor. You will need to replace building materials, carpets, furniture, decorations, and anything else that was damaged. Reliable flood damage insurance is the only way many people can afford the rebuilding. But most insurance companies are eager to deny claims in any way possible. That’s why we’re here to help.
Common Reasons a Flood Damage Claim Might Be Denied
Big insurance companies want to keep your money in their pockets. They will search for any possible reason to deny a claim. It’s not difficult to have that decision appealed once we force them to look at the evidence. Here are the most common excuses they use to deny a claim:
1. It Wasn’t Caused by a Flood
Arguing over the inciting incident is one of the most common defensive tactics for an insurance company. In this case, they are arguing that the water damage in the home was not caused by a flood. There are generally accepted standards and even guidelines provided by FEMA, but insurance companies will still use this tactic to avoid payment. Luckily, it’s not usually difficult to prove that a flood occurred.
2. Insufficient Proof of Damages
This common cause for denial is exactly why it is important to document as much as possible in regard to the damages. It is always good to have more evidence than you actually need. It is still possible to document the damages even after receiving this denial. It is often ideal to have the home inspected again by someone who is experienced with flood damage.
3. Late Claim
Every home insurance claim must be filed within a specific window of time. These deadlines vary from one state to the next. In Florida, you have four years to file a claim. We recommend filing the claim immediately. Waiting for this deadline only makes it more likely your claim will be denied.
4. Pre-existing Damage
The insurance company may claim that the damage was pre-existing so that it is no longer covered by the policy. They may only deny certain damages in the claim or they may deny the entire claim outright. However, this claim can be challenged. This is often a delay tactic used by insurance companies and it is not difficult to refute with the right evidence.
5. Failure to Mitigate
The insurance may try to show that some or all of the damages could have been avoided with ordinary prudence. Once again, they will have a difficult time proving these claims. This is most often used to delay the claim and payment for as long as possible.
How Can a Flood Damage Lawyer Help My Claim?
In an ideal world, your insurance company would honestly assess your claim and provide you with the compensation you have been paying for. Unfortunately, that rarely happens in the real world. You may have your claim unfairly denied for any number of reasons. That’s when you need to call a Hollywood flood damage lawyer. We help our clients in many different ways at every step of the legal process.
Help Interpreting the Terms of Your Policy
The legal jargon included in flood insurance policies can be confusing to anyone. These companies want the terms to be confusing so that clients will trust the company’s interpretation. Having a legal professional on your side to help you fully understand the terms takes that power away from the insurance provider. Now, the insurance company knows that they can’t bend the rules to deny a claim.
Negotiate On Your Behalf
It’s hard to know when your rights are being violated if you’re unfamiliar with the legal system. It’s always better to have someone with legal experience handle the negotiations on your behalf. We work through tough negotiations, cut through all of the deceptions, and fight for the resolution you are owed. The insurance company is also more likely to approach negotiations seriously if you have an attorney involved.
Assess Damages and Gather Evidence
We can locate an independent expert to provide an assessment of the flood damages if necessary. This is one of the many different ways that we can start gathering evidence in preparation for the case. Many of the reasons used to deny a claim can be refuted with the right pictures and receipts.
Guidance Throughout the Case
Insurance claims are always slow to resolve and you could spend months waiting for a resolution. Your attorney can help you understand how to protect your home from further loss without interfering with the ongoing claim. Insurance companies are more than willing to drag on claims for as long as possible regardless of the damage it might cause.
Call a Hollywood Flood Damage Lawyer to Get Help
Flooding events can happen almost anywhere at any time. If you live in high-risk areas, then your mortgage provider might have required that you get flood insurance before providing the loan. Flood insurance is a smart investment for many homeowners because their regular homeowner’s insurance will not cover flood damage.
Appealing a flood damage claim in Hollywood requires a specialized attorney who understands how insurance companies think. We know what it takes to prove a claim and what it takes to have a denial appealed. Most denials are easily appealed so don’t let a denial deter you from further action. Just pick up the phone and call our flood damage attorneys from Klotzman Property Damage Lawyers at 954-915-7405.