Tampa Flood Insurance Claim Attorney
Aggressive Flood Insurance Claim Litigation For Policyholders Throughout Florida
At Williams Law, P.A., our lawyers simply believe in what is fair and just. As an insurance policyholder, you agreed to pay your premiums on time. You follow the terms of the contract, and you have the right to expect the insurance company to do the same. Unfortunately, when it comes time to file a claim, too many policyholders discover the playing field isn’t level.
Our Tamps insurance claim litigation attorneys at Williams Law, P.A. have earned the reputation of being one of the most recognized names in insurance litigation services for policyholders throughout Florida. Our founding attorney, K.C. Williams III, has represented insurance policy holders throughout Florida for over 20 years and has a reputation of aggressively pursuing his client’s claim – both in pre-suit negotiations and all the way through jury trial.
Why Clients Choose Us
Our firm knows what is at stake when an insurance company denies a client’s claim and we are familiar with the strategies insurance defense lawyers resort to when trying to minimize the insurance companies exposure to a large settlement or jury trial verdict. They hold you to the terms of the policy. We make them uphold their four corners of the contract, as well.
Insurance Policyholders and Water Damage Protection in Florida
Our firm has worked hard to ensure our clients the maximum recovery from their insurance company and we have earned the reputation of preparing every insurance dispute from the very beginning as if we are destined to argue our client’s insurance claim dispute in front of a jury of their peers. Insurance companies know that when we sit down to talk about a fair settlement for our clients, we have our evidence in order and our case clearly stated for a judge and jury.
When to Hire a Tampa Flood Insurance Claim Attorney
You do not need to hire an attorney if you have a simple or straightforward claim and the insurance company is treating you fairly. If a flood caused only minor property damage and you’ve been offered an appropriate settlement, for example, you may not need legal representation. Unfortunately, many flood insurance claims are made more complicated by insurance companies trying to save money on payouts.
If you encounter any complications or roadblocks while trying to obtain fair and full compensation for your flood damage, contact a Florida insurance claim attorney for a consultation. You may need an attorney to take over negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. If the insurer is wrongfully denying your claim or offering less than you believe you deserve, an attorney can help you fight for a better outcome.
A lawyer can provide many important services during a Tampa flood insurance claim, such as arranging an unbiased damage assessment, accurately evaluating the cost of the damage, negotiating with a claims adjuster on your behalf and even taking your case to trial, if necessary. If you are in a dispute with the insurance provider, a lawyer can represent you to fight for a positive outcome.
What Is Covered by Flood Insurance?
The average homeowners insurance policy does not include flood insurance. Flood insurance is a different type of policy that must be purchased separately. In Tampa, most homeowners need flood insurance, as Hillsborough County is full of flood zones and at risk of flooding in storms and hurricane damage. Flood insurance is often required by mortgage lenders, homeowners associations and landlords in Tampa.
If you purchase flood insurance, it should cover all of your direct losses from flooding. This includes:
- Water damage
- Home and landscape damage
- Damaged crops
- Decks and patios
- Swimming pools
- Wood rot
- Structural damage
- Electrical damage
- Mold or mildew
- Sewer backup
Flood insurance often covers damage from different types of floods, including flash floods, urban floods from heavy rain, coastal floods and storm floods. Read the language of your flood insurance policy to find out what it covers. Your standard homeowners insurance policy will cover other types of damage if the flood was part of a storm, such as broken windows or roof damage.
Flood vs. Storm Damage Insurance
As a property owner in Florida, it is important to understand the nuances between flood damage, water damage and storm damage insurance. Florida experiences an average of almost 54 inches of rainfall per year and 10 to 15 named storms (both hurricanes and tropical storms) during its six-month Atlantic hurricane season. The odds of experiencing property damage from water are relatively high as a property owner in Florida.
Insurance companies differentiate between water damage caused by storms and that caused by flooding. Storm damage is typically covered under the average homeowners insurance policy in Florida. Flood damage is not. Insurers define a storm as a weather system characterized by strong winds, rain, hail, lightning or cyclones. A flood is typically defined as water that is released from a body of water, such as a lake, river, dam or ocean.
According to Florida Statute 627.715, a flood refers to the “general and temporary complete or partial inundation of two or more normally dry acres of land or two or more properties,” caused by a tidal surge, the unusual and sudden accumulation of surface water runoff from any source, mudflow, or the collapse of land along the shore of a body of water. If your water damage falls under this definition, expect your claim to be denied unless you have flood insurance.
Most insurance companies classify water damage from rain as storm damage, thereby covering it under a homeowners insurance policy. Flood damage specifically, however, is excluded. If you purchase flood insurance to cover this type of disaster in Tampa, there is typically a 30-day waiting period. This means you cannot use this insurance to cover flood damage that occurs in the 30 days after you purchase the policy.
What Types of Flood Damage Claims Does Williams Law P.A. Represent?
At Williams Law P.A., our lawyers have been representing clients in Tampa, Hillsborough County and throughout Florida for many years. In that time, we have handled a variety of complex water damage insurance claims on behalf of our clients, including many flood, storm and hurricane cases. Our lawyers can provide aggressive legal representation to maximize your insurance recovery as a:
- Renter or tenant
- Business owner
- Commercial property owner
- Condominium owner
- Hotel owner
We can help you navigate your insurance claim as any type of property owner in Florida with water damage. Our lawyers will not leave you to deal with a complicated flood insurance case alone. We will provide the legal advice, resources and advocacy that you need to stand up against an insurance corporation and demand fair recompense. No matter what type of damage you suffered or type of property you own, we can help.
How to File a Flood Insurance Claim in Florida
If your home, business or property gets damaged by a flood in Tampa, contact your flood insurance provider to file a claim right away. Most insurance companies require claimants to report damage as soon as possible. Take the following steps to file:
- Give prompt written notice of any damage to your home and property. Contact your insurance carrier using the phone number given to you by the insurance company.
- Take photographs. Take photographs and videos of the flood damage. This includes structural damage to your home, water damage and damaged items.
- Write a list of everything you can see that suffered flood damage, including items that you plan on throwing away or removing. It is important to document your losses in detail.
- Mitigate storm damage. If the flooding was part of a storm, you have a responsibility to mitigate further damage, such as by patching up broken windows to prevent further water damage.
- Negotiate your claim. The insurance company will send an inspector to your home to evaluate the damage. Then, you will negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster to resolve your claim.
Before you begin the insurance process, check the language of your policy. Make sure you understand what your policy does and does not cover. If the insurance company is making it unnecessarily difficult to recover fair compensation for flood damage, consult with an attorney in Tampa before settling. You may be the victim of insurance bad faith and need an attorney to represent you for a just outcome.
Can You Appeal a Flood Insurance Claim Denial?
If your flood insurance claim in Tampa gets denied, you may be able to file an appeal to dispute this decision with assistance from a lawyer. If you disagree with your insurer, you can file an appeal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You must file this type of case within 60 days of receiving the insurance company’s written decision to reject benefits. In your appeal, you or your lawyer must include:
- The name of the policyholder
- The policyholder’s phone number or email
- The address of the insured property
- The flood insurance policy number
- A copy of the insurance company’s written denial
- Documents and evidence that prove the claim
You can mail your packet of information to the FEMA office in Washington, DC at 400 C Street SW, 6th Floor SW or send it via email to FEMA-NFIP-Appeals@fema.dhs.gov. Your lawyer can submit the required appeals paperwork for you, including photographs, repair estimates and other proof of your losses. Once your appeal has been filed, FEMA will review the case and determine if the insurance company was correct in denying your claim. If not, it can reverse the insurer’s decision.
Signs of Insurance Bad Faith
Insurance bad faith means that an insurance company is not fulfilling its responsibility to properly process a claim in a good faith attempt to resolve the dispute. If an insurance company is engaging in bad faith, it is intentionally or carelessly mishandling the claim. Insurance bad faith tactics are often a ploy to save an insurance company money, such as by offering less than the claim is worth or wrongfully denying benefits.
Examples of flood insurance bad faith include:
- Ignoring your claim or not communicating properly
- Rejecting a claim without a valid reason
- Misinterpreting the language of your policy or the law
- Delaying an investigation
- Not investigating thoroughly
- Undervaluing your losses
- Offering an inadequate settlement
- Only offering partial benefits
- Delaying your payment
If you suspect an insurance company of bad faith during your Tampa flood insurance claim, contact an attorney. You do not have to tolerate an insurance company trying to take advantage of you or making the claims process more difficult than is necessary. A bad-faith lawsuit can protect your rights. You may be entitled to compensation as a penalty against the insurance company in addition to fair benefits for your flood damage.
Legal Remedies for Insurance Bad Faith During a Tampa Flood Insurance Claim
Hiring a flood insurance claim attorney in Tampa can ensure that your rights and interests are protected during the claims process. Your lawyer can negotiate with the claims adjuster on your behalf, taking over communications so that you can focus on your family and future. Simply implying that the insurer is committing bad faith is often enough to inspire quick action by the insurance company. If not, your lawyer can take your claim to the next stage.
You are entitled to file a civil lawsuit against a flood insurance company for bad faith in Florida. A Tampa bad faith insurance attorney can search for evidence of bad faith or a breach of contract, such as failing to provide the benefits for flood damage that you are due under your policy. Your lawyer can bring a lawsuit against the insurance provider for bad faith in pursuit of financial compensation for not only your original losses, but also interest against unpaid benefits and payment for bad faith. You may also be able to pursue punitive damages if the insurance company acted with fraud or malice.
Contact a Tampa Flood Insurance Claim Attorney Today
A Tampa flood insurance claim attorney from Williams Law P.A. can review your case and protect your legal rights. Call us to discuss any type of dispute you are having with your insurance company, including:
- Commercial property damage and business interruption
- Homeowners insurance disputes
- Automobile insurance claim disputes
- Water leakage damage claims
- Flood Claims
- All other insurance claim disputes between a policy holder and their own insurance company.
Contact us today or call us directly at (800) 451-6786. Our firm offers free consultations and represents clients on a contingency fee basis. There are no fees or costs to you unless we win your case.