Florida offers a tropical atmosphere, beautiful evenings, and warm sunshine. However, it also sometimes experiences tropical storms, hurricanes, hails, as well as other weather hazards that can lead to serious rain and wind damage.
Purchasing insurance coverage for this possible damage may either be needed or at the very least, heavily recommended. If you end up suffering damage from a weather-related natural disaster, however, you may find that filing a claim is often more difficult than you expect.
Insurance companies often look for ways to avoid paying out claims. In fact, this has been very common with hurricane insurance claims, because your homeowners’ insurance provider may claim that your policy doesn’t cover damage from a storm surge caused by the hurricane.
If you’re having problems with an insurance claim after experiencing hurricane damage, our experienced Miami hurricane damage attorneys at Klotzman Property Damage Law can help. We know how insurance companies operate and can help you submit a claim, negotiate with your insurance provider, fight a denied claim, and if necessary, take the matter to court to help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Should I Do After a Hurricane Has Damaged My Property?
Immediately after a hurricane has hit your area, the first step should be to put your hurricane emergency plan into motion and be ready for an evacuation if necessary. Once the storm passes, you can get started on preparing your insurance claim.
Cover Up Any Damaged Property
Use tarps to cover any damaged property to prevent any additional water damage. The insurance company may try using any reason it can to avoid paying you.
If your property suffers damages after the hurricane has passed, the insurance provider may try shifting the blame to you by claiming that the damage was actually your fault or undervaluing your claim since all the damage wasn’t the result of a hurricane.
Review Your Policies
Review your homeowners’ insurance policy as well as your flood insurance policy to identify procedures for reporting losses. It is likely required that you report any losses promptly. The insurance company may try using any delays on your end as justification for denying your claim.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Notifying your insurance provider early on of the damage ensures that work on your claim starts as soon as possible. This gives you a vital head start at a time when thousands of other claims will likely be made all at the same time.
Document Losses and Property Condition
Besides making spreadsheets of lost property, it is also important to take photos of all damaged items and record a video walkthrough of your entire property. When taking photos, ensure that you document each side of your house. Start outside and take photos of each wall of your home and ensure that your entire home is in the frame.
Make Only Temporary Repairs
Avoid making any repairs to your hurricane-damaged property that aren’t truly necessary before the damage has been assessed by a representative of the insurance company. Necessary repairs are those geared towards securing your property, preventing further damage, and/or preventing injuries.
Take photos of the damage before you perform the repairs since this will be beneficial for your insurance claims.
File Your Claim
You should file your insurance claim as soon as you gather the necessary information to prove your losses. You don’t want the insurance company to argue that you failed to report the claim within a reasonable time. It is also advisable to retain the policy number, claim number, as well as a written copy of your claim for your records.
Call Our Miami Hurricane Damage Lawyers
Unfair denials, underpayments, and delays are all common problems that policyholders face, many of whom aren’t aware that they can fight back against insurance companies that act in bad faith.
If your insurance provider refuses to pay for damages, you should consider hiring Klotzman Property Damage Law. We can advise you on your next steps. Call us today at 954-915-7405 to set up an appointment.
What Is the Difference Between Hurricane Water Damage and Flood Damage?
People often assume that flood damage and water damage are one and the same thing and that both terms can be used interchangeably. When it comes to insurance companies and repair coverage, they are quite different.
Water damage is usually caused by plumbing issues, such as an overflowing washing machine, a flooded air-conditioning unit, or backup from a toilet. Flood damage, on the other hand, is usually caused by water that originates from a hurricane, natural disaster, or heavy rain event. It may include sump pump failure, flash flooding, or prolonged roof leaks.
What Does Homeowners’ Insurance in Florida Cover?
Homeowners’ insurance in Florida is a package policy that combines more than one type of insurance coverage in a single policy. Coverage varies greatly depending on the policy you get.
It generally covers 4 areas: personal property, dwelling, personal liability, and loss of use. Within these 4 categories, there are variations according to the extent of coverage, the covered perils, and specific situations covered.
What Is Covered Under Homeowners’ Insurance in a Hurricane?
Homeowners’ insurance covers hurricane damage in almost all instances. If your home is located in an area prone to hurricanes, such as Miami, you will typically have a separate hurricane deductible and your insurance provider may have stipulations on your policy excluding damage from strong winds.
Here’s what is covered under homeowners’ insurance in a hurricane.
- Dwelling coverage applies to the structure of your home and everything that’s integral and attached to it, which includes the flooring, roof, and windows.
- Personal property coverage protects belongings that you keep inside your home as well as on your home’s property, which includes furniture, clothing, etc.
- Other structures coverage applies to structures on your property that are not attached to your home, which includes a carport, shed, and fence.
- Loss of Use coverage reimburses you for additional living expenses in case your home is damaged and you have to move out at least temporarily.
- Liability and medical expenses insurance covers medical bills and legal expenses in case a guest is injured on your property and you are found liable.
If you own a home, business, condo, or other property in Miami, chances are your insurance policy automatically covers wind and hurricane damage, at least to an extent. However, almost all standard homeowners’ insurance policies typically don’t cover damage caused by flooding.
Flood insurance is usually a completely separate policy aimed at protecting your residence and personal belongings in case they are damaged in a flood. To determine the actual perils that are covered, you need to read your policy in its entirety.
You Will Only Be Covered for Things You Can Prove You Lost or Got Damaged
Insurance companies will only compensate you for the things that you can actually prove you lost or got damaged in the hurricane. That’s why it is always advisable to have some type of inventory of your possessions if you live in a hurricane-prone area such as Miami.
You may consider taking photos or videotaping your possessions before something happens to them. If you don’t have actual receipts, insurance companies will generally accept owner’s manuals, warranties, photos, servicing agreements, credit card receipts, canceled checks, or bills as proof of ownership.
Places You Need to Inspect on Your Property
The first step should be to check the entirety of the property for any signs of damage, which means that once the hurricane has passed and it’s now safe for you to go outside, ensure that you inspect the following places on your property for potential problems.
The roof is specifically intended to keep the elements out, but it is still susceptible to damage. Ensuring the excellent condition of your roof should be a top priority because even seemingly minor damage to the roof decking or shingles may lead to serious problems in the future.
Check the crawl spaces underneath your house wherever possible for any pooled water, since this may indicate a more serious problem with your drainage. If you find any standing water, use a sump pump to remove it quickly.
Hurricanes typically bring about high winds and water pressure that can put excess strain on your entry doors. If your entry doors fall off their hinges or sustain cracks or holes, they can easily serve as an opening for moisture, water, and other unwanted elements to get inside your home.
Hurricane damage to the stucco or siding isn’t easy to notice, which is why you need to be careful when you inspect the walls of your home. Solid materials such as bricks can also suffer from damage, so it is always advisable to examine your walls closely after a hurricane.
Driveways and Walkways
Hurricanes can cause concrete and other walk/driveway materials to crack, chip, and split. Damage of this type of damage can pose a serious safety hazard, so always take immediate measures to fix the driveways and walkways around your home after a hurricane.
How Can a Hurricane Damage Lawyer Help Me With My Claim?
The experienced Miami hurricane damage attorneys at Klotzman Property Damage Law can help you understand your insurance policy and navigate the complicated claims process. We help you pursue the settlement you deserve based on your insurance policy.
Here are the specific ways we can help with your claim.
Evaluating and Interpreting Your Insurance Policy
We first evaluate your insurance policy and explain the details of your overage. Insurance companies may sometimes deny that you have coverage or claim that your policy doesn’t cover your specific losses. We will ensure that you have a clear understanding of your policy and what can be included in a claim.
Investigating and Documenting Your Claim
We will then investigate your claim carefully, identify your covered losses, and document each one. That way, we are able to build the strongest claim possible on your behalf and help you recover a fair settlement for your damages.
Handling Communications With All Involved Parties
We will handle all aspects of your claim, which includes communicating on your behalf with other lawyers, the insurance company, and all other parties associated with the claims process. That way, you can focus on getting your life back to normal within the shortest time possible.
Preparing and Filing Your Claim
We will document your damage, calculate the value of your losses, and submit the claim to your insurance company. We will then negotiate with the insurance company and its lawyers, if applicable, to help you recover a fair settlement within the shortest time possible.
Providing the Information and Answers You Deserve
Our legal team is always available to answer all your questions and provide information about your claim. We will work to obtain a speedy resolution and ensure that you receive updates for all critical developments and milestones.
Disputing a Hurricane Claim Denial
If the insurance company has denied your claim, we will provide additional documentation and information as is necessary to prove that your losses are covered under the terms of your insurance policy.
Hire the Best Miami Hurricane Damage Attorneys!
Homeowners throughout Miami are under the assumption that insurance companies exist to protect the interests of policyholders in case there’s an unforeseen or unpreventable disaster. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Insurance companies are in business to generate profits. Whenever they are required to pay out on a claim, their profits suffer. Due to this reason, insurance adjusters will do anything in their power to devalue or deny valid claims.
Experienced Miami hurricane damage attorneys such as those at Klotzman Property Damage Law have experience working with insurance adjusters and can use their expertise to negotiate a full and fair settlement.
If you feel that your insurance provider is treating you unfairly or giving you the run around, you should not hesitate to call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free initial consultation where we can discuss your options moving forward.