If you live in Hollywood, FL you probably understand that you might possibly have to deal with hurricanes at some point. Hurricanes often come with heavy rain and high winds that can wreak havoc on your home. That’s why you probably rely on your property insurance to provide you with a financial safety net in case your home suffers hurricane damage. If that fails, a Hollywood hurricane damage attorney to right the wrongs of your claim.
Insurance companies, unfortunately, are often unwilling to compensate homeowners adequately so that they can recover from hurricane damage. Hurricane damage insurance coverage isn’t always straightforward, which allows insurers to take advantage of loopholes and avoid full payment. If that happens to you, it’s time to consult a hurricane damage lawyer.
At Klotzman Property Damage Law in Hollywood, FL, our property damage lawyers assist homeowners that may be emotionally fragile and desperate after a hurricane wrecks their home. You don’t need to put up with insurance company tactics to avoid payment on your claim. Instead, you should let our hurricane damage lawyers go to work for you.
Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options moving forward.
What Should I Do After a Hurricane Has Damaged My Property?
If you live in Hollywood, FL, then you probably know just how devastating a hurricane can be and attest to the emotional and financial hardship these storms can bring. Tropical force winds and rain can rip apart the exterior of your home and flood its interior.
Having to deal with the aftermath of a hurricane is often stressful and overwhelming, especially if your property has suffered serious damage. If a hurricane has damaged your property, you may be wondering what to do next. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind in the aftermath of a hurricane:
- If You Can No Longer Live in Your Home, Find Temporary Residence: You may have to temporarily relocate to a hotel while your house is undergoing repair.
- Take Safety Measures: Open doors and windows and turn off all utilities at the main switches or valves if the authorities advise you to do so.
- Protect Your Property and Document Your Efforts: Your insurance policy likely requires you to prevent additional damage to your property, and you need to document your efforts immediately after the hurricane strikes.
- Take Photos and Videos: Document all damage, which includes structural problems and personal belongings damaged or destroyed by rain, wind, or flooding. If you can, take photos while it is still raining or immediately after it stops to show that the storm caused the damage.
- File Your Insurance Claim Promptly: You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim for damages caused by the hurricane. You also need to submit your proof of loss within the shortest time possible.
- Cooperate With Your Insurance Provider: Give your insurance provider all the documentation they ask for as soon as they ask for it. Keep in mind that they are handling hundreds, if not thousands, of claims. Make it a bit easier for them to compensate you for your losses.
- Contact a Lawyer: If a hurricane caused damage to your home, you should consider calling our Hollywood, FL hurricane damage lawyers at Klotzman Property Damage Law to guide you through the claim process and help you get a fair settlement.
What Is the Difference Between Hurricane Water Damage and Flood Damage?
Water and flood damage may seem like two of the same things, but they are actually completely different from the insurance company’s perspective. It is important to know the difference between the two because one is often missing from your typical homeowner’s or hurricane insurance policy.
Water Damage: Water damage is usually caused by internal issues within the house, such as a plumbing disaster. Examples include:
- Toilet overflowing
- Burst pipes
- Automatic fire systems
- HVAC systems failing to drain
- Dishwasher leaks
- Washing machine leaks
- Freezer or refrigerator leaks
- Shower or bathtub leaks
Flood Damage: It is damage caused by natural sources such as storms and rivers. Examples of flood damage include:
- Storms and hurricanes
- Overflowing lakes
- Overflowing rivers
- Flooding from the ocean
What Does This Mean in a Property Damage Claim?
If you don’t have both water damage and flood damage included in your insurance policy, you are at risk of not being covered for one of these types of damage. Usually, Hollywood, FL residents will have water damage coverage and not flood damage coverage.
Considering the fact that Florida is extremely vulnerable to hurricanes and violent storms, it is highly advised that you have flood damage in your policy. If you are unsure, you can pull out your insurance policy document and read over the terms.
What Is Covered Under Homeowners Insurance in a Hurricane?
Homeowners insurance usually provides coverage for damage caused by hurricanes, but deductibles work differently than they do for other types of claims. A hurricane insurance deductible is sometimes higher than your policy’s standard deductible.
The compensation that you get from your Homeowners insurance in a hurricane will depend on your damages as well as the nature of your policy. Still, you can expect it to cover the following expenses and losses:
Cost of Repairing Your Home
If a hurricane damages areas of your house, you may be eligible for compensation to pay the expense of restoring your home to the pre-hurricane state, which includes repairing or replacing the roof, treating mold, replacing windows, and landscaping elements.
If you and your family are no longer able to live in your Hollywood, FL home after the hurricane passes, your insurance policy may cover relocation and housing fees, which include rent, hotel fees, and meals while away from home.
Personal Property Replacement
You may be eligible for getting compensation for all the damaged items in your home, which includes electronic devices, appliances, toys, clothing, and furniture. However, expensive items, such as jewelry or art may not be covered without a rider.
Cost of Securing Your Home and Property
Failure to secure your home after the storm has passed can result in additional damage. To mitigate the damage, policies often cover the cost to secure your home. Your insurance policy may cover the costs of boarding your windows and protecting your home from future floods.
The damages that you are eligible to recover in the aftermath of a hurricane will depend on the coverage you have. Our Hollywood, FL hurricane damage attorneys at Klotzman Property Damage Law can review your coverage and help you understand the compensation that may be available to you.
You Will Only Be Covered for Things You Can Prove You Lost or Got Damaged
Property policies usually require a sworn proof of loss summarizing the amount and extent of the loss or damage. Your insurance provider may require this proof of loss within a specified timeframe although it isn’t uncommon for insurers to agree to extend this deadline.
To prepare for an insurance claim after a hurricane, you can do several things. Take photos and videos of both the interior and exterior of your home routinely (every 6 months to 1 year) to document what your home looks like and what is in it.
If you have undertaken major repairs or renovations, you should also make an inventory of that and upload all of the documentation to the cloud where you can easily access it remotely even if your house is damaged in the storm.
It could take time for an insurance adjuster to inspect your home after a storm, which is why you should document everything again as soon as you can. It is advisable to have your own documentation since you will only be covered for things you can prove you lost or got damaged.
Places You Need to Inspect on Your Property
If you need to inspect your home after a hurricane or related event, here is a checklist for you to consult:
Stand back from your house and look for any displaced shingles. If it is safe to do so, get on a ladder to take a closer look. Gaps or holes left behind by shingles that have been blown off the roof can allow water to infiltrate your roof, which is why the missing shingles need to be replaced quickly.
High winds can pull sections of your guttering away from the roofline and/or cause the gutters to sag. Ensure that you inspect your gutters thoroughly and ensure that any repairs to these components are done before the next storm hits.
Fresh buckling or cracks at your foundation could have occurred when the storm hit, particularly if there was substantial flooding. Inside your house, you need to watch out for any uneven floors or buckling that was absent before the hurricane struck.
Your home may already have had cracks in its walls or ceilings, but a major storm can cause them to further lengthen, to the extent that they may require repairs. You should pay special attention to the areas around doors and windows.
Once water services have been restored, systematically test every toilet and faucet in your house. You should not only ensure that they are all working properly but also check for evidence of leaks in pipes that may have been cracked or jostled during the storm.
Closets and Crawl Spaces
After you finish inspecting the plumbing, look into every closet, storage cabinet, pantry, and crawl space in your home. You may have water damage or other problems in those rarely used places that may go undetected if you don’t take the time to check.
How Can a Hollywood Hurricane Damage Attorney Help Me with My Claim?
Insurance companies make money through the collection of premiums and paying out the least amount possible in the event of a hurricane damage claim. Fortunately, you have recourse against such dirty tactics. With the help of our lawyers, you can not only reject lowball offers but also appeal denials.
Our hurricane damage lawyers at Klotzman Property Damage Law in Hollywood, FL can ultimately help you obtain the compensation you need. Here are the various ways that our legal team can assist with your hurricane damage insurance claim:
Taking Control of the Claims Process: Our legal team can assume control of the claims process and communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. We ensure that the claims process keeps moving forward.
Proving Causation of Damage: Our legal team will gather evidence to prove that it was actually the hurricane that caused the damage. This is important especially when your insurance provider disputes the fact that water damage was suffered after the hurricane.
Favorable Scope of Loss: Estimates for rebuilding or replacing your home or any parts of it are set forth in a document known as Scope of Loss. Our legal team can work with a contractor to prepare a Scope of loss, which can be helpful in obtaining a favorable insurance settlement.
Legal Action: If the insurance company denies or delays your claim unfairly, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against them for bad faith or breach of contract. Your insurance company is legally obligated to handle claims promptly and reasonably and you can take them to court for not fulfilling those duties. We can also help you file an appeal in case your original claim is denied.
Contact Our Hollywood, FL Hurricane Damage Attorneys!
If your Hollywood, FL home has suffered hurricane damage and your homeowner’s insurance claim has been denied or undervalued, you can always count on our experienced hurricane damage attorneys at Klotzman Property Damage Law to help.
We will conduct a thorough investigation, gather evidence to back up your claim, and work tirelessly on your behalf to negotiate a fair settlement amount and, if necessary, file a lawsuit to fight for the coverage that you deserve.
Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free consultation with our lawyers to review your legal options.