After a hurricane damages your home, the second nightmare is dealing with a property insurance claim. Homeowners insurance companies often make it difficult to recover fair financial benefits for hurricane damage and flood damage. There are many problems you may encounter during a claim, including the insurance company intentionally trying to take advantage of you. The best way to tackle these problems and protect your rights is by hiring a storm damage insurance lawyer in Tampa to represent you.
Lack of Flood Insurance
Flooding from a hurricane is one of the worst types of property damage. Flooding can compromise the foundation of a home, causing wood rot, extreme water damage and dangerous mold growth. Unfortunately, the average homeowners insurance policy does not cover flooding. To receive flood damage coverage after a hurricane, you will need to have an additional flood insurance policy in Florida.
Lack of Damage Mitigation
Many homeowners don’t realize that they have a responsibility to try to mitigate, or minimize, the amount of damage caused by a hurricane. Immediately after a hurricane strikes, once firefighters have cleared you to return to your home, do your best to prevent additional damage.
Remove any standing water, for example, and use fans to dry it out and prevent mold growth. If any of your windows are broken, cover them to prevent further storm damage. If you do not take any steps to try to mitigate the damage to your property after a hurricane, the insurance company can use this as a reason to reduce your financial benefits.
More Proof Needed
As part of the investigative process, an insurance company will request evidence of your losses and property damage. If you do not submit enough evidence in your initial claim, you may be contacted by the insurance company with requests for more information. Start documenting your claim right away with photographs of the damage, even before you make temporary fixes. Maintain a detailed and accurate record of everything that was damaged or destroyed by the storm. You can strengthen your case by collecting as much evidence as possible of how much the hurricane damaged your home and the total value of your losses.
Arguments About Fallen Trees
A hurricane’s strong winds can knock down trees that cause additional property damage, such as by falling on your home or crushing a fence. Depending on where the tree was located, you may encounter a liability dispute between your homeowners insurance company and your neighbor’s. If the tree was technically on your neighbor’s property, he or she should file the claim. If you try to file with your own homeowners insurance company, your claim may be denied.
Many homeowners are surprised to find that they have extremely high deductibles for hurricane damage claims. A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance company will cover the rest. Many insurance companies in Florida charge higher deductibles on hurricane claims than other types of claims. Make sure you understand the rules of your policy so that you aren’t surprised by a high deductible.
Insurance Bad Faith
Insurance bad faith means the homeowners insurance company is not handling your hurricane claim as it should by law. Rather than processing your claim in a good-faith attempt to resolve it, the insurance company is treating it in bad faith. Examples of insurance bad faith are frustrating claim delays, misinformation about exclusions and what is covered, unfairly low settlement offers, and wrongfully denied claims. If you believe you are the victim of insurance bad faith, you may be able to file an additional claim against the insurer.
Has Your Home Insurance Company Denied Or Undervalued Your Property Damage Claim In Florida?
If your insurance company is dragging their feet regarding your property damage claim you should speak with an experienced insurance claim lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Tampa, Florida law office directly at 800.451.6786 to schedule your free consultation. We help Florida residents just like you fight the big insurance companies who fail to abide by their own policies. Remember, we work on a contingent basis, meaning you don't pay us anything until we win your case.