About Jonathon Douglas

A true Florida native, Mr. Douglas graduated from Northeast High School in St. Petersburg before attending the University of Florida where he earned Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, both with Honors. From there, Mr. Douglas attended Stetson University College of Law where he learned and practiced the art of trial advocacy. Before graduating, Jonathon clerked for the Honorable Shawn Crane and interned at the State Attorney’s Office and Public Defender’s Office. After graduation, he began his work as an Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit and then moved on to defending the rights of the accused in State and Federal Courts as an associate with the Hebert Law Group. While at the Hebert Law Group, Jonathon defended high profile and nationally televised cases.
17 05, 2022

How Do I Get the Most Out of My Homeowner’s Insurance Claim?

By |2022-05-17T12:46:48-04:00May 17th, 2022|Categories: Insurance Claims|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Did you know that insurance companies will do everything in their power to minimize your homeowner’s insurance claim? Undervalued claims will leave you out of pocket if you need to make further repairs. As their customer, you deserve to receive the maximum possible payment.

Whether your home has been damaged by a hurricane, a flood, fire or any other disaster, you must act appropriately. Sadly, you can’t just leave it to your insurer. They’ll take advantage of your backseat approach and undervalue your claim.

As property damage attorneys, we’ve seen it all. Here are our top tips for optimizing your homeowner’s insurance claim:

Tips for Optimizing Your Homeowner’s Insurance Claim

Contact a Property Damage Attorney

All of the steps below are advised, but you can make your homeowner’s claim process much easier and stronger by working with a property damage attorney.

A property damage attorney tackles insurance companies and their tricks every day. They don’t fall for manipulation and know how to negotiate the best settlement offer.

They’ll also remove the stress you’re likely facing by handling all communications, from paperwork to phone calls.

If you run into any disputes with your insurer, they’ll also take the appropriate action. Some common disputes homeowners face with their own insurance companies are:

  • Undervalued Claims
  • Denied Claims
  • Delaying tactics
  • Manipulation or bullying tactics
  • Incorrect policy coverage
  • No or slow responses
  • You’re blamed for the damage
  • They claim the damage already existed.

Retain Evidence

In every homeowners insurance claim, evidence is key. Take pictures. When you’re done, take more.

Take all these photos before you clean the property or make temporary repairs.

There’s no such thing as too much detail here. From cracks in the floor to bowing ceilings and smoke stains, don’t leave anything undocumented.

You should also record detailed notes about everything you remember happening – such as when the disaster started, how long it lasted and what you heard or saw.

If possible, take notes from neighbors, witnesses and fire teams.

Finally, keep all receipts. If it’s safe to do so, that includes the receipts for your appliances. But it also includes repair bills and temporary accommodation expenses.

Remember, that before you make repairs related to mitigation or tear out, many homeowners policies require that they conduct an inspection. If you begin tear out or mitigation work and do not allow the insurance company to inspect before the work begins or tear out of the damaged items occurs, you may be subject to reduced coverage limits. One more reason to consult with a homeowners insurance attorney for your property damage claim.

Identify your Damages

You should first list everything that the incident has damaged and that needs replacing or repairing (such as appliances, furniture and electronics). As it relates to personal property, or “contents”, your list should note the date you purchased the item and the purchase price. Try to note model numbers.

Most homeowners insurance claims however fall under Coverage A, or damage to the actual home or commercial property. Be sure to document damages to your home or commercial property. For example, buckling floors after a water leak, or damaged drywall from water instruction after a windstorm. Being able to accurately show the damage will be critical in building a strong homeowners insurance claim.

Properly File Your Claim

Once you’ve completed the steps above, it’s time to file. Don’t delay. You should file your claim immediately to avoid the insurance company claiming that the delay somehow prevents coverage.

Before making a claim, read your policy to understand your coverage in detail.

Insurance adjusters regularly take advantage of homeowners who don’t know what they’re entitled to. But if you know what the policy covers, you reduce that risk.

It’s also essential that you know all the deadlines and contractual obligations. If you don’t, you could risk causing a delay in the process.

During the call, never accept a low-ball offer. This is not the time to accept an offer, as you haven’t even had the property professional assessed. It’s ok to negotiate a settlement later.

Make Temporary Repairs

Some damage shouldn’t be ignored. For example, a hole in the roof needs immediate work to avoid the rest of the house being damaged by rain and wind.

If you don’t take these immediate steps to make temporary repairs, the insurer may claim you failed to mitigate the damage – which could see your coverage reduced or denied entirely.

For example, if a broken window isn’t boarded up, you may lose your burglary coverage.

Keep all the receipts of professional repairs or materials you purchased to fix the damage. You will be able to include this in your homeowner’s insurance claim later.

Document All Communications

Ask for the insurance agent’s name and title.

If there are any problems or disputes later in the homeowner’s claim process, then this information could be very helpful. You’ll be able to refer back to the agent who previously spoke to you.

You should keep every email, letter or document you are sent. You should also take notes during your phone calls.

Get Independent Estimates

In some cases, it can feel like the insurance company has given an incorrect estimate. They use their own adjusters, so it’s sadly not rare to hear these stories.

In these cases, it can be wise to get an independent evaluation of your property. If you’re working with a homeowner’s insurance claim attorney, they will likely have the resources to help you gain an independent estimate.

You can then use quotes and estimates to negotiate with your insurance company, arguing that their settlement offer is insufficient for the required repairs.

Review Your Policy Again

Adjusters make mistakes. Sometimes these are intentional; sometimes they’re just errors.

If a claim is rejected because the insurer says you don’t have coverage, then dig out your homeowner’s insurance policy and read the fine print.

If you believe the decision doesn’t fit the policy, don’t give up. It’s time to contact a property damage attorney and solve this mess.

Contact a Florida Homeowners Insurance Claim Attorney Today

Free Consultations!

If you need to make a property damage claim or have been unfairly denied, undervalued or tricked by your insurance carrier, then contact us today.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate insurance disputes.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.

19 04, 2022

The Hidden Damages of a Fire Loss

By |2022-04-19T13:19:27-04:00April 19th, 2022|Categories: Fire Damage Law|Tags: , , |

Every fire loss is devastating, but there are often significant hidden damages that insurance companies overlook. While hidden damages of fire loss can be hard to detect with a quick survey, they should never be ignored. First, you’ll need to claim it in your property damage claim. And second, if ignored, they can lead to expensive structural issues or health concerns.

In this guide, our property damage attorneys will explain what to look for, how to deal with it and why. Let’s get started:

Common Types of Hidden Damage in Home Fires

Smoke and Soot Damage

Smoke from a fire is black because it contains particles of what’s been burned. This leaves soot throughout the property. Smoke and soot damage should not be left for long as it can cause respiratory issues, skin damage, eye damage, heart attacks and cancer. It can also have lifelong health consequences for young children.

While soot can easily be cleaned from floors, walls and appliances, it should not be a DIY job if there are large quantities. Your home insurance policy should cover the costs of hiring a professional smoke and soot removal team.

Airborne soot is invisible, so you likely won’t know if you’re breathing it in. Plus, the longer it remains, the more damage it can cause to appliances and electronics. The longer it stays, the harder it becomes to remove.

Be sure to photograph all evidence of soot after the fire to include it in your property damage claim.

Signs of smoke and soot damage include:

  • Black stains
  • Smoke smells
  • Stained fabric
  • Paint discoloration
  • Signs of corrosion and rust to metal objects such as jewelry and appliances
  • Floor damage

Water Damage

After fire damage, the next most common property damage is water damage.

The large amounts of water sprayed by the firefighters can cause havoc throughout your property. From structural concerns to electronic damage, there will be lots to repair. Plus, you’ll likely have lost electronic devices, furniture and important documents to the water damage.

You must address these concerns quickly. If left unresolved, the water can seep into the property’s walls and foundations and continue to damage your home. And then comes the mold.

Mold

Mold is a nightmare at the best of times, but after a fire, it can grow rapidly and spread throughout the home.

Black mold is linked to severe respiratory problems, particularly in people, children and the elderly. Even your pets can suffer.

While you can clean up small amounts of mold yourself, you should call a repair team if the mold is substantial. In some cases, walls, joints and trusses might need to be replaced entirely. Large quantities of mold is also dangerous to remove as a DIY job, because you’ll be at risk of breathing in the spores.

Note: Most people cannot make claims for mold alone. But if there is a bigger problem causing the mold, then you can claim on water damage. Read our guide on whether your mold damage may be the signs of a bigger water damage problem here.

Sewage and Water Pipes

Pipes are not all made of heavy-duty metal; many are made of PVC that quickly melts during fires. Pipes can also leak toxic gasses and carbon monoxide, a lethal risk.

Insurance adjusters might overlook damaged water pipes, leaving you with a hefty repair bill in the future. Ensure that you include any evidence of damaged pipes or faulty plumbing in your fire damage property claim.

Important tip: If you believe your plumbing has been damaged from a fire, turn off your water at the main valve. Avoid using the water outlets until the damage has been assessed.

Gas Leaks

Firefighters will aggressively fight through floors, windows and walls if they need to rescue someone or put out the fire. This can result in accidental gas line damage which can cause dangerous gas leaks.

If you smell a gas leak, evacuate your home to a safe distance and call 911 immediately.

Gas leaks can result in large, lethal explosions.

You can read the Red Cross guide to dealing with dangerous homes and gas leaks after fires here.

Electrical Damage

Electrical damage is another common hidden damage in a fire loss. As the fire spreads through the home, it can destroy junction boxes, leave live hanging wires and melt components. After a fire, you should immediately have the electricity shut off by contacting your power provider.

You may not be able to see the damage unless you know what you’re looking for, but the risks of leaving electrical damage unresolved can be catastrophic. Sparks from damaged wires can trigger another fire.

Electrical repairs should be covered in your home insurance policy. An experienced inspector should check all the wiring in the home to ensure safety. Risks are not worth taking. Live wires can be fatal.

Appliance Damage

Appliances and electronic devices can overheat or melt internally, causing them to become unusable or dangerous. These defects are not often noticeable at first. Ensure you take photos of any potentially damaged appliances after the fire.

Damaged HVAC systems are also a common hidden damage in a fire loss. Ventilation and heating systems can get covered in smoke and soot, which if not cleaned or replaced will result in your entire property being fed toxic gasses, particles and residues.

You might not notice this until months later when the appropriate season arrives to turn the HVAC on. So making an inspection in advance for damage is highly advised.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Fire Damage Claim?

Insurance companies love undervaluing their customers’ claims. They’ll use every possible trick and excuse to make their outgoing costs as low as possible.

As you can see, fire loss can result in various hidden damages. If these are shown to the insurance company, they’ll likely completely ignore that you need financial help to clean up your property.

By working with a property damage attorney, you can ensure you get the insurance payment you deserve.

An attorney will not get manipulated or bullied by the insurance company and, if needed, will hire an independent property inspector and other specialists to reveal the true cost of your fire loss.

Florida Property Damage Attorneys Specializing in Fire Damage Claims

Free Consultations!

If your property has suffered hidden damages from fire loss, then contact our Florida property damage attorney today.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate property damage insurance claims.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.

15 03, 2022

What Your Home Insurance Company Doesn’t Want You to Know About

By |2022-03-15T11:15:52-04:00March 15th, 2022|Categories: Insurance Claims|Tags: |

Did you know that home insurance companies are raising their property insurance rates for property owners in Florida?

Despite what many assume, Florida property insurance rates are not rising due to property value increase (20% within the last year). There’s another reason— the climate crisis.

Climate Change Causing Higher Property Insurance Premiums

What insurance companies aren’t revealing to their customers, is that they’re scared of the increasing frequency of natural disasters. As the climate crisis brings an increase in destruction, insurers are reevaluating their risk. The result? Higher premiums.

High-risk areas are even at the risk of more expensive loans or rejected loan applications, as the weather informs lending decisions.

It’s hard to predict just how high Florida property insurance rates could go, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s new flood insurance rate structure suggests it certainly won’t be going back down again.

Why Are Insurers Raising Premiums?

Insurance companies have always been at risk of making massive losses due to natural disasters. Within recent years, their losses have been high enough to make them panic.

During 2021’s first nine months, the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) recorded 18 major storms – resulting in over $1 billion in losses.

As of December 1 2021, the NCEI also reported that nearly half the U.S. is under ‘moderate to exceptional drought conditions, which is a clear sign that other types of disasters are on the way.

How Are Florida Property Insurance Rates Set to Increase?

FEMA, which manages the flood insurance program, has taken action to improve its balance sheet. The method of rating risk based on whether a house is in a flood zone has been replaced by a new formula which covers:

  • The distance from the property to a flood source
  • The frequency and severity of flooding
  • Property characteristics, including potential flood rebuild costs

Those changes will force 3.3 million homeowners into paying more for their existing coverage.

Insurance Companies Are Desperate

When devastating years occur, insurance industry changes tend to occur.

In 1968, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created to protect property owners from flood damage losses. The NFIP also protects taxpayers who fund the program by reducing Federal exposure.

However, the NFIP requires extra funding from Congress from time to time and after years of inaction, has yet to be reconstituted and remains unable to pay its debts.

How Much Will Property Florida Insurance Rates Increase?

The average NFIP premium is currently priced at $734 per year. FEMA has stated it predicts 77% of flood insurance owners will experience a price rise.

How much? Between $88 to $240 per year! A lucky group will enjoy a lower premium, but the hardest hit will experience an increase spread over a few years.

Will I Be Affected?

So should you be worried? If you own property inside a specified flood zone, you are likely set to experience Florida property insurance rate increases.

However, it’s advised that anyone, especially Florida residents, obtain coverage. Floods can happen at any time and anywhere.

This is especially true for flood coverage. Floods are not covered by homeowners insurance and require a separate policy purchase. Read our guide on the difference between water damage and flood damage insurance here.

“The Insurance Business Is Reeling”

Jennifer Rasumussen, the author of a white paper detailing the future for policyholders, has said,

“The growing number of climate events has left the insurance business reeling. As the intensity and scope of future catastrophes grow, insurance rates for property owners will likely rise significantly.”

  • 39% of all home insurance claims in 2020 were caused by ‘catastrophic weather’
  • The rise in severe hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and other weather events linked to climate change has caused ‘significant risk’ for insurers.

You might assume that it’s just the coastal areas that are affected. But even inland areas are at risk of huge property losses for insurers. For example, in the first half of 2021, winter storms in Texas accounted for 40% of all U.S. total property losses. In fact, Texas has the highest threat level for wildfires – affecting 72% of the state’s population.

What Could the Climate Crisis Trigger?

The climate crisis is also putting a projected 1.2 million extra homes at risk of flooding over the next 30 years.

The mortgage business is extremely nervous about what should be insured and at what cost. The Mortgage Bankers Association is quoted as saying, “lenders will not be spared” by the knock-on consequences of climate change. Physical destruction will affect lenders, investors and loan programs.

Natural disasters could also trigger mortgage defaults and further stress on the housing system.

The Mortgage Bankers Association has said there have been important conversations regarding whether climate-related risks should be incorporated into underwriting decisions.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has informed various entities that they should have climate change as a priority concern when making purchasing decisions.

This could trigger lenders into demanding higher rates for loans on the high-risk property. How? With larger down payments or larger insurance policy costs. Maybe even a disaster policy? Or, at worst, a rejected loan.

Florida Climate Change Predictions:

  • More than 1,000 miles of Florida coastline are at risk from rising sea levels.
  • Increased Florida property insurance rates.
  • Record-breaking hurricanes.
  • Increase in flooding and harmful algals.
  • Tourism, agriculture and real estate development are threatened.
  • Sea level rises to lead to greater storm surges.
  • Billions of dollars of climate-proofing infrastructure will be required.
  • $26 billion worth of real estate is at risk of chronic flooding by 2045.
  • A ‘fully clean, carbon-free energy powered future’ is needed to save Florida’s economy, environment and people.

Source: Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2019 Report

Florida Property Damage Attorneys

Free Consultations!

If your property has suffered damage and you’ve been undervalued, denied or unfairly treated in your claim, then our Florida property damage attorneys can help.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate property damage insurance claims.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.

15 02, 2022

Should Your Mold Insurance Claim Actually Be a Water Damage Claim?

By |2022-02-15T12:37:43-05:00February 15th, 2022|Categories: Water Damage Law|Tags: , |

If you’re looking to make a mold insurance claim, it’s advised to consider making a water damage claim instead as well.

Many people notice mold growth in their homes and quickly jump to file mold insurance claims. The problem you should be worried about may actually be a water issue, which is causing mold growth.

A mold insurance claim alone may be subject to limited coverages and may not ultimately uncover the real source of the problem. This is why filing both a mold and water damage claim may be required.

Mold Insurance Claims vs. Water Damage Claims

What Is Mold Damage?

Mold damage is the presence of mold in a building that causes damage to property, furniture and personal belongings. If left unaddressed for a long time, mold can weaken the structural integrity of the building as it damages walls, floors, roof and wood.

Mold can also be a health concern for inhabitants, as the spores can cause allergic reactions, respiratory problems, respiratory infections or asthma.

What Is a Mold Insurance Claim?

A mold insurance claim is a type of property damage claim that seeks compensation for cleaning and repairs of the mold damage.

However, mold growth claims are usually subject to lower insurance coverage limits. There usually must be a reason for the mold growth, such as a sudden, unforeseen disaster.

Insurance companies will almost certainly not cover a mold insurance claim caused by a preventable issue such as poor maintenance, appliance usage or poor ventilation.

What Is a Water Damage Claim?

Water damage claims seek compensation to cover the costs of repairs for damage caused by water.

Water damage is caused by internal issues such as a plumbing disaster. For example, if a pipe suddenly bursts, then it would cause water damage.

We regularly get calls about minor mold damage, which is actually caused by a far bigger water problem.

Determine the Cause of Mold

In the cases of mold, you may or may not be aware of a water damage-related issue causing mold growth. For example, you may have a damaged pipe inside a wall.

In these scenarios, you should make a water damage claim.

Determining the cause of the mold is the best way to know whether you should make a water damage claim. You may require an inspection of your property.

Possible Causes of Water Damage:

Mold may be caused by water damage problems such as:

  • Ruptured pipes
  • Ruptured water heater
  • Appliance malfunction and leaks
  • Other unforeseeable plumbing issues
  • HVAC systems failing to drain
  • Automatic fire systems

What if Mold Was Caused By a Natural Disaster?

If you have mold following a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, flood or rainstorm, then coverage will come under a ‘flood insurance claim’.

While water damage claims cover accidents caused in the building, flood damage claims cover external events that are unpreventable.

However, coverage will not be applied if you don’t take the necessary steps to minimize the damage by shutting windows.

Read our guide on Water Damage vs. Flood Damage

Possible Causes of Flood Damage:

  • Hurricanes and storms
  • Rainstorms
  • Rivers overflowing
  • Lakes overflowing
  • Flooding from the ocean

How Do I Make a Water Damage Claim in Florida?

After you have determined that you have sustained water damage to your home, you should file a water damage claim:

Document the Damage

Document the damage immediately. Take photos of the damaged areas and evidence of the source of water – such as a damaged pipe, roof damage or water stain on a wall. If you have old photos of the home before the damage, get them ready to send to your insurer as they can show a before and after comparison.

Turn off water pipes and open windows to prevent further humidity issues but don’t clean or attempt to repair anything until an adjuster has reviewed the property – unless it is an immediate emergency (such as severe leaks).

Contact Your Insurance Company

Immediately notify your insurance company about the mold and water damage as soon as possible. A representative will ask you many questions about your claim to determine whether you have coverage under your homeowner’s policy.

It’s important to state you have photos of the damage and that it is caused by water or flooding – to avoid paying two deductibles. If it has been caused by flooding, you may need a flooding policy add-on.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Mold Damage?

Property damage claims can be quite stressful and tiresome. When it comes to mold damage, things can get even more complicated than usual.

Your insurer may try to blame you for the mold damage by saying things like, “The mold wasn’t caused by the water issue”, “You should have fixed it earlier” or “the mold is caused by poor ventilation”.

They may undervalue your claim or even outright deny it. Insurance companies are for-profit and will do everything they can to prevent paying you the money you need. That’s not right.

When you bought the policy, you expected to be protected in scenarios such as these.

As Florida property damage claim attorneys, we know their tricks. Having worked in the insurance industry ourselves, we don’t get bullied or manipulated by insurers. It’s very easy to get pressured into a low-ball offer, but we will communicate on your behalf to ensure you get coverage for the true value of your damage.

How to Prevent Mold Damage:

The best way to prevent mold damage is to prevent its growth. Florida is particularly mold-prone so it’s not unusual to have mold grow without big water or flood problems. You should:

  • Turn off your building’s water immediately if you suspect or see leaking or burst pipes.
  • Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce humidity to 30-60%.
  • Ensure your home is properly insulated.
  • Install extraction fans in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Regularly clean out gutters.
  • Ensure your home has adequate ventilation – by installing ventilation holes if needed and allowing for fresh air.
  • Check crawl spaces, laundry rooms and beneath sinks for mold growth.
  • Replace hoses to appliances every five years to prevent leaks.
  • Remove any standing water immediately after photographing the damage.
  • Dry out any rugs or affected furniture.

How to Spot Mold:

If you’ve recently had water damage or flood damage incident, you may soon start to see mold growth in your home. Dealing with it fast can reduce the damage to your home and health. Here’s how you can spot it:

Smell

Mold has a very distinct smell. It can be compared to rotting leaves or may bring out the smell of paint on your walls.

The smell will be strong in the room where it is growing. If you smell it when you turn on your AC it is likely in that system. If you smell mold but can’t find it, it may be under an appliance, carpet or behind a wall.

Sight

Mold is often obvious and can be seen on walls, ceilings and wood. It will likely start as small black or gray spots or furry textures before growing into large merged stains.

However, sometimes it may be hard to find and be hidden behind furniture, sinks, appliances or in crawl spaces.

Florida Property Damage Attorneys Specializing in Water Damage Claims

Free Consultations!

If your property has suffered water damage or flood damage in Florida, then contact us today for a free consultation.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate property damage insurance claims.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.

18 01, 2022

What Is an Insurance Dispute Lawyer?

By |2022-01-18T13:02:56-05:00January 18th, 2022|Categories: Insurance Claims|Tags: |

Insurance dispute lawyers provide legal assistance when insurance companies fail to uphold their end of the insurance policy deal.

When homeowners purchase a homeowners insurance policy, they expect to be financially supported by the insurer when disaster strikes. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen. In fact, it’s rare that a check with the appropriate figure is simply handed over.

Instead, policyholders’ damages are undervalued, dismissed or manipulated into a lower amount causing the policyholder to miss out on the money they deserve.

An insurance disputes lawyer’s job is to hold insurers accountable and fight for what policyholders are entitled to.

In this blog, we’re going to run through an example of an insurance dispute case, with quotes from our lead Property Damage Claims Attorney, Jonathon W. Douglas.

‘I’m Helping Homeowners Recover What They’re Entitled To’

“When people ask me what a property claim is, it’s better described as an insurance dispute. I’m helping that homeowner recover, from their own insurance company, the benefits and policy proceeds that they’re entitled to.” – Property Damage Claims Attorney Jonathon W. Douglas

Example Scenario:

Imagine, for example, your home is severely damaged in a storm. The roof has been partially torn apart, which has caused interior water damage and physical damage to the exterior of the home. Appliances are destroyed, windows smashed and the home is now uninhabitable.

Disaster. But thankfully, you bought homeowners insurance which covered storms. You’d expect your insurer to step up and cover the repairs and other expenses, right?

So you make a claim, but the figure you’re offered is pathetic. It will only partially cover repairs and leave you significantly out of pocket.

At this point, it is clear that there is an insurance dispute. Your next question might be, “So why do I need an Insurance Dispute Lawyer?”

‘Insurance Carriers in Florida Are Unruly”

“These homeowners insurance carriers in the State of Florida are unruly.

Most of these insurance companies, in my opinion, simply have their own bottom line at stake. They’re not trying to pay what these claims are worth and they’re hoping that their own clients just go away.” – Property Damage Claims Attorney Jonathon W. Douglas.

Example Scenario:

After your claim has been undervalued, you confront the insurance company, claiming their offer is unfair and too small. Sadly, now their games begin. They will try a variety of tricks.

First, they might ignore you, letting weeks or even months go by before you get a reply. The reply is a refusal to re-evaluate your claim. So you ask again, challenging them. They come back claiming the extra coverage you’re asking for is either unnecessary, exaggerated or not covered in your policy.

At this point, many people give up. They are unsure of how to tackle the daunting insurers and may even see deadlines for their claim pass due to delaying tactics from the insurer.

At this point, or ideally far earlier, a professional legal expert can step in.

‘I Know How to Prepare My Clients for Those Tactics’

“My strategy for these clients is like it is for all of my clients – prepare the case for trial from day one and that will achieve an outcome for my client that will not only help them put their house back together but hopefully put their life back together financially.”

“I know the tactics that these insurance companies are using against their own insurers and I know how to prepare my clients for those tactics to set their cases up for success.” – Property Damage Claims Attorney Jonathon W. Douglas.

Example Scenario:

With the help of an experienced insurance dispute lawyer on your side, you go to battle with the insurer fully prepared. Now strong enough to protect your rights in the face of manipulation and other ‘bad faith’ tactics, you can prove the true worth of your damage claim.

“I Uphold the Insurance Policies My Clients Purchased”

“In insurance litigation cases, I will make sure that I do everything I can within my power to hold the insurance companies accountable and hold their feet to the fire for the obligations they are required to uphold in accordance with the insurance policies my clients purchased from them.” – Property Damage Claims Attorney Jonathon W. Douglas

Example Scenario:

Your insurance dispute lawyer holds the insurance company accountable. If they can’t be pressured into doing the right thing through communication, the litigation proceedings begins.

With the constant pressure from your insurance dispute lawyer, the insurance company will be forced to take the full value of your claim seriously.

Note: Although a severely damaged roof in a storm is an extreme example, insurance disputes can arise in all manner of property damage claims – from fallen trees to water damage.

When Is an Insurance Dispute Lawyer Needed?

Contacting an insurance dispute lawyer from day one can help you successfully make a property damage claim without drama and wasted time. However, the following criteria will call for the need of an attorney:

  • Undervalued Claims
  • Denied Claims
  • Insurers use delay tactics
  • Insurers use manipulative or bullying tactics
  • Insurers incorrectly state your policy doesn’t cover your damage
  • Insurers don’t reply to your messages
  • Insurers claim there is a loophole preventing you from receiving the payment
  • Insurers blame you for the damage
  • They claim the damage already existed prior to the incident.

Contact a Florida Insurance Dispute Lawyer Today

Free Consultations!

If you need to make a property damage claim or have been unfairly denied, undervalued or tricked by your insurance carrier, then contact us today.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate insurance disputes.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.

5 01, 2022

Can You Make a Tornado Insurance Claim in Florida?

By |2022-01-05T15:37:46-05:00January 5th, 2022|Categories: Insurance Claims|Tags: , , |

If your property or home has suffered damage from a tornado, we can help you make a tornado insurance claim. Doing so may help you rebuild your home and replace lost items or appliances.

Tornadoes in Florida

Although hurricanes make the headlines in Florida, tornadoes are extremely common, albeit far less severe.

While tornadoes plague the Midwest, Florida has more tornadoes per unit area, but they’re far weaker – at around EF0 or EF1 intensity.

Nevertheless, if a tornado works its way through your street, then it’s likely to cause significant property damage.

South West Florida has recently seen tornadoes cause homes torn apart, trees falling on cars, pool cages smashed and eye-watering property damage bills.

Fear not, twisters are just as valid as hurricanes so yes – you can make a Florida tornado insurance claim.

Here’s how:

How to Make a Florida Tornado Damage Claim:

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tornado Insurance Claims?

Natural disasters like hurricanes, storms, earthquakes and tornadoes cannot be stopped and tend to be covered by homeowners insurance.

However, it should be noted that flood damage (that is, water damage caused by storms and natural disasters) is not usually included in a typical homeowners insurance policy and must be purchased separately.

Click here to see our blog on Flood Damage vs Water Damage.

For example, if your home sustained roof damage from a tornado, your policy would likely cover the costs of repair, but it wouldn’t for the flooding that occurred as a result unless you have separate flood damage coverage.

Homeowners insurance will also likely reimburse any expenses if you cannot safely live in your home due to tornado damage.

Undervalued Claims

Sadly, having coverage doesn’t guarantee your insurance company will hand over a check easily, or with the figure you need on it.

Insurance companies are for-profit. They value their losses more than whether you get enough money.

People making tornado insurance claims in Florida are regularly undervalued. Which is a huge problem when trying to repair or rebuild your home and replace your belongings.

Speak to a Florida Tornado Damage Attorney

Fear not, we can help. As experienced Florida property damage attorneys, we regularly fight on behalf of homeowners to get the money they deserve.

Resolving Undervalued or Denied Claims

When you pay for your insurance, you expect to be protected in these scenarios. If you’ve been undervalued or denied in your claim, we can handle the communication on your behalf.

By presenting the evidence and not falling for their manipulation and tricks, we will bring you the results you deserve.

With first-hand experience of the insurance industry, our Florida property damage attorney team is respected by insurers which will also significantly help as they know we’re not going to be bullied.

Disagreements of Policy Coverage

In many cases, insurance companies try to trick homeowners into misunderstandings about their policy coverage.

For example, they’ll say they’ll fix a portion of your roof but not the entire roof.

In these scenarios, our Florida tornado insurance claim attorneys can help review your policy and handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf.

Disagreements over Damage

Insurers may also claim the damage is less than you think. They might even say the damage already existed.

Our Florida tornado insurance claim attorneys will ensure the truth is respected and that the tornado damage is covered and not dismissed.

‘Bad Faith’ Insurers

If an insurance company unfairly denies, underpays, delays or tricks you it is called acting in ‘bad faith’.

In these scenarios, our Florida tornado insurance claim attorneys will protect your rights and if necessary file a lawsuit.

What If I’ve Already Made a Florida Tornado Insurance Claim?

If you’ve previously submitted a Florida tornado insurance claim then we can still help. Never accept a low ball offer, as we can step in and ensure all the damage is correctly documented and that the true valuation of your damage and repair cost is met.

How to Prepare for a Florida Tornado Damage Claim?

If your home or business has been damaged due to a tornado, then you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file the claim. However, it is always advised that you speak to a Florida property damage attorney first.

You may also have the urge to clean up your property immediately, but this may not be the best idea. An insurance company representative will assess the damage to determine how much they need to pay you, so don’t fix the evidence before that.

Ensure you take pictures of all damage before moving or salvaging anything. Keep notes, receipts, inventory and any evidence that could support your claim.

Florida Tornado Facts:

When is Florida’s Tornado Season?

Tornadoes in Florida form in different ways throughout the year. Most form in the spring or summer months as the strong sea breezes and tropical cyclones collide.

However, John Allen, an associate professor of meteorology at Central Michigan University, says:

“In North Florida, up towards Tallahassee, you can see high-end tornadoes with some regularity, but the further south you go, the less of a chance there is. You don’t have anything to worry about if you’re in Miami.

“You may not get the really high-end tornadoes, but Florida is susceptible to getting a large number of tornadoes up to EF2 intensity along with tropical system and that’s more than enough to kill someone or cause significant damage.”

How Many Tornadoes Are There in Florida Each Year?

  • Florida has an annual average of 66 tornadoes.
  • Florida has the third-highest number of annual tornadoes in the U.S.
  • An average of 1,253 tornadoes occur in the U.S. every year.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Where Can I See Tornado Warnings?

Florida Property Damage Attorneys Specializing in Tornado Damage

Free Consultations!

If your property has suffered damage from a tornado or storm, contact us today to assist with your Florida tornado insurance claim.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate property damage insurance claims.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.

5 12, 2021

What’s the Difference Between Water Damage & Flood Damage?

By |2021-12-05T13:08:13-05:00December 5th, 2021|Categories: Insurance Claims, Water Damage Law|Tags: , , , |

Once hurricane season has done its damage, many homeowners are left confused about what the difference is between water damage and flood damage.

While these may seem like two of the same things, they’re actually completely different in the property damage insurance industry.

Why is it important to know the difference between water damage and flood damage? Because one is often missing from your usual homeowners or hurricane insurance policy – so, if you’re aren’t aware, you could be left paying for substantial repair bills.

Here’s what you need to know:

What Is Water Damage in Florida?

Water damage usually is caused by internal issues within the house, such as a plumbing disaster.

For example, imagine you’re at home, watching a movie with the kids, when suddenly you see water flowing down the stairs like a waterfall because a bathroom pipe has burst.

That’s water damage.

Examples of Water Damage:

  • Burst pipes
  • Toilet overflowing
  • Bathtub or shower leaks
  • Refrigerator or freezer leaks
  • Washing machine leaks
  • Dishwasher leaks
  • HVAC systems failing to drain
  • Automatic fire systems

What Is Flood Damage in Florida?

Flood damage defines damage caused by Mother Nature’s external force. Whereas water damage is caused by plumbing, toilets or human error, Flood damage is caused by natural sources such as storms and rivers.

If a river in your neighborhood rises over its banks into your home, that’s flood damage.

Examples of Flood Damage in Florida:

  • Hurricanes and storms
  • Rainstorms
  • Rivers overflowing
  • Lakes overflowing
  • Flooding from the ocean

What Does This Mean in a Property Damage Claim?

If you don’t have both included in your insurance policy, you’re at risk of not being covered for one of these types of damage.

Usually, Florida residents will have water damage coverage and not flood damage coverage.

Given that Florida is extremely vulnerable to violent storms and hurricanes, having flood damage in your policy is highly advised.

If you’re unsure, pull out your insurance policy document and read over the terms.

Is Flood Damage Covered in Hurricane Policies?

If a hurricane causes flooding in your home, you will not be covered by your hurricane damage policy in Florida.

Sadly, many people make this assumption and are left to cover a huge bill after a hurricane.

A separate flood insurance policy is required to cover all flood damage, even if it is caused by the most violent hurricane in history.

There is usually a 30-day waiting period when adding flood insurance, so it’s always advised to be proactive rather than reactive and buy the additional policy now.

What to Do if My Property Has Suffered Water Damage or Flood Damage in Florida?

File a Property Damage Claim

If your property has suffered water damage or flood damage in Florida, you can file a property damage claim to cover the expenses required for repairs.

However, this is easier said than done.

Property damage claims will require you to communicate and negotiate with insurance companies who have one intention – to pay you as little as possible.

In many cases, we’ve seen homeowners denied completely, as the insurance company claims it was because a window was left open, for example.

Undervalued claims are also a common trick used by insurance companies, as they pressure property owners into a lowball offer.

Accepting these offers leaves the owners without enough coverage for their repairs and they end up paying money out of their own pocket.

Speak to a Water Damage Attorney

That’s why it’s highly advised that you first speak to a Florida water damage attorney. We will communicate with the insurers on your behalf, avoiding their manipulation techniques and getting you the true coverage for your property damage.

Document The Damage

If safe to do so, you should also document the water damage or flood damage as this can become crucial evidence.

Take pictures of the property and keep receipts for appliances and any emergency repairs.

What Damage Is Caused by Water and Flooding?

When disaster strikes, either inside or outside of the home, your property may suffer severe flooding and water-inflicted damage. This can result in catastrophic damage that is expensive to repair and may not be immediately visible. This may include:

Structural and Electrical Damage

Large quantities of water can cause structural damage that can make the property unsafe to live in.

  • Buckling floors
  • Roof damage
  • Foundational cracks and movements
  • Weakened doors and window frames

Additionally, if you notice any broken or frayed electrical wires in your home after a flood, be very careful. These may be lethal and are warning signs to stay out of the home immediately until an electrician assesses them.

Appliance Damage

Appliances are expensive purchases that can be destroyed in seconds by water. Appliances at floor level are usually severely damaged in floods, beyond repair. Appliances are usually covered in flood damage or water damage claims.

Mold and Mildew

Mold can begin to grow on the same day the water or flood damage occurs. Mold can cause health issues and severe damage to building materials, drywall, flooring, insulation and personal property.

Professional mold cleaning and repairs can be covered in a property damage claim.

Septic and Well Water Systems

Septic tank filters can get clogged by flooding debris, limiting its use. Similarly, wells can become contaminated.

Termite and Bug Infestation

Moldy and flooded areas can quickly become the perfect home and breeding grounds for rodents, termites and unpleasant bugs. Cleaning out these will require professional services that should be covered in water damage or flood damage claims.

Recap – What’s the Difference Between Water Damage and Flood Damage Claims?

  • Water damage is caused by internal disasters, such as burst pipes and plumbing accidents.
  • Flood damage is caused by acts of nature, such as hurricanes and flooding rivers.

Florida Property Damage Attorneys Specializing in Water Damage and Flood Damage Claims

Free Consultations!

If your property has suffered damage due to water damage or flood damage in Florida, then contact us today for a free consultation.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate property damage insurance claims.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.

14 11, 2021

What Is Covered In Hurricane Damage Claims?

By |2021-11-14T13:54:31-05:00November 14th, 2021|Categories: Hurricane Damage Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

If your home has been damaged in a hurricane, you might be wondering what is covered in hurricane damage claims?

Florida has already seen four major hurricanes, two hurricanes and various tropical and subtropical storms in 2021 – leaving many homeowners desperate for insurance payments that can help them rebuild their homes.

It should be noted that your hurricane insurance policy may be very different to your neighbors, making it difficult to give a generic amount of compensation you might expect from a hurricane damage claim.

However, most hurricane damage policies are consistent and will cover the following areas of damage:

Types of Damage Covered in Hurricane Damage Claims

Hurricane Damage Is Not Covered in Basic Homeowner’s Policies

First up, it’s important to know that for most Florida residents, hurricane damage will not be covered by basic homeowner’s policies.

You will need to purchase a separate hurricane insurance policy to make hurricane damage claims. Homeowners’ insurance usually only covers water damage from normal rain showers.

Flood Damages Are Not Covered by Hurricane Policies

Many people make the mistake of assuming their hurricane policy will protect them against flooding. Sadly, that is not the case.

A separate flood insurance policy is required to cover any flood damage, even if a category 3 hurricane causes it. In recent years, many homes have been effectively destroyed due to floods, yet the owners were left helpless as they didn’t buy a separate flood insurance policy.

Note that in most cases, adding flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period. It’s always wise to add it right away and be proactive rather than reactive.

Wind Damage to Your Home

Wind damage is usually covered in hurricane damage claims. Hurricane winds can vary from between 74-157 mph, causing violent damage to homes in a matter of minutes.

Roofs, windows and structures are often hit hard, but there have even been cases where homes are ripped off their foundations entirely.

Emergency Repairs to Prevent Further Damage

If wind damage does cause serious damage, then emergency repairs may be required to prevent it from becoming worse. For example, if there is a large hole in the roof or broken windows, then repairs may prevent flooding and further wind damage.

Debris Removal

Hurricanes can cause tiles to fall into the home, tree branches to smash through windows and countless other types of debris to be picked up and land on your property.

Hurricane damage claims can allow you to get professional debris removal when the debris has been caused by hurricane winds.

Replacement of the Damaged Property

If your home has been significantly damaged, your hurricane damage claim may cover you for the actual cash value or replacement value of the damaged property. However, there are an incredible amount of variations in Florida hurricane insurance policies, so speaking to a hurricane damage attorney first is often advised.

Roof Damage

If your home’s roof has been ripped off or hit by a falling tree or hurricane debris, it will likely be applicable in a hurricane damage claim.

Broken Windows

Similarly, windows are frequently smashed in hurricanes as they either get hit by debris or crack due to the movement of the building. Multiple broken windows quickly stack up in repair costs and should be coerced by your hurricane damage insurance.

Smashed Cars

Vehicles damaged by hurricanes may be covered in hurricane damage claims, but this will depend on your policy. If not, cars are usually covered by the comprehensive section of an auto insurance policy m

Interior Damage

Your belongings, electronics, furniture and your home’s interior structure, may have all been damaged due to strong winds. For example, if a locked door is violently pushed open due to the winds, it can cause havoc throughout the home.

Interior damage is usually included in hurricane damage claims.

Cracked Building Foundations

The foundations of a property are essential to safe living. If the foundations are cracked or moved, it may make the building uninhabitable. It should be covered in a hurricane damage claim.

Uprooted Trees and Torn Apart Gardens

Your yard and its trees are just as much a part of your property as your house. If trees are pulled from the ground into windows, roofs or cars, then you can make a hurricane damage claim.

Outside furniture should generally be tied down or safely stored inside, but decks and balconies that are damaged can be claimed for.

Swimming Pools

Similarly, swimming pools contain expensive equipment and designs. If your filtration system, pump or pool’s foundations are damaged due to hurricane winds, then you may be able to make a hurricane damage claim.

Temporary Relocation

Your home may be unsafe to stay in immediately after the hurricane until repairs are made. In this case, your hurricane insurer should cover your expenses for relocation, such as hotel or travel to a friend or family member.

What to Do If Your Home Has Been Damaged in a Florida Hurricane?

If your home has suffered hurricane property damage in Florida, then you should contact an insurance company as soon as possible.

However, without a concrete understanding of your homeowners’ policy, you may be exploited or receive an undervalued claim.

By contacting our property damage attorney, we can review your case and communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. This will protect you from being undervalued, denied or delayed in your much-needed repairs.

Our top tips for hurricane damage claims in Florida include:

  • Speak to a Florida property damage attorney.
  • Investigate the damage, listing all damage from appliances to windows.
  • Take photos of your damage to create proof that it was caused by the hurricane.
  • Contact your insurance company and inform them of the damage.
  • Keep all receipts of damaged items and repair bills.
  • Keep records of which insurance adjuster you’re talking to.
  • Review all documents carefully to avoid being undervalued.

Florida Property Damage Attorneys Specializing in Hurricane Claims

Free Consultations!

If your home or property has suffered from hurricane damage in Florida, then contact us today.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you navigate hurricane insurance claims.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.

2 10, 2021

Florida Hurricane Insurance Claim: Why You Should Contact an Attorney

By |2021-10-02T13:26:29-04:00October 2nd, 2021|Categories: Hurricane Damage Law|Tags: , , , , , , |

If you need to make a Florida hurricane insurance claim, then you may need legal support.

Understandably, you may not know when or why you need a hurricane damage attorney’s help. Many clients come to us in desperation, realizing they’re being manipulated, but they’re not sure what to do about it.

Insurance companies generally don’t care about you and want one thing – to save money. You deserve better than this. Here’s how a hurricane damage attorney can help.

We Fight Difficult Insurance Providers

Hurricanes cause billions of dollars in damage. For example, Hurricane Katrina saw $108 billion of damage.

Insurance companies consistently try to reduce their expenses by using unjust tactics that leave property owners in dire situations. These are called ‘bad faith’ disputes.

Bad faith Florida hurricane insurance claims include:

  • Claiming damage was caused before the hurricane.
  • Delaying claims dangerously close to deadlines, so you can’t make another.
  • Denying repair bills.
  • Demand you to provide additional paperwork, knowing you’ll struggle to provide it or to slow the process.
  • Argue that the damage was not covered in your policy.
  • Undervaluing the value of your claims, with low ball offers.
  • Failure to investigate your claim fast enough.
  • Delaying or denying payment.

Stand Up to Daunting Florida Hurricane Insurance Companies

So what can a hurricane damage lawyer do to help? Firstly, they’ll stand up to the insurers who often have an army of lawyers.

With legal representation on your side, you won’t break under pressure or be forced into a lowball offer. Our hurricane damage lawyers will see through the insurer’s tricks because we’ve seen them a thousand times.

Whether your claim was delayed, denied, underpaid or any other form of bad faith, our hurricane damage insurance claim attorneys hold insurance companies responsible through:

  • Preparation
  • Appeals
  • Negotiations
  • Litigation

Insurance Company Laws

In Florida, the law requires insurers to act in good faith. A hurricane damage attorney knows the law inside out and will hold your insurance provider to that law.

The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights states:

  • You have the right to receive notice that your claim has been received within 14 days.
  • You have the right to receive notice that your claim will be paid, either partially or fully; or is denied; or will be investigated within 30 days.
  • You have the right to receive notice that your claim has been reviewed and that you’ll receive payment or denial within 90 days.

Preparing Your Florida Hurricane Insurance Claim

For anyone who has experienced significant property damage, then it may be beneficial to have an attorney prepare your Florida hurricane insurance claim.

Insurance companies will exploit any weak spots in your claim, or missed information – so your claim must be water-tight.

A hurricane damage attorney will ensure you include all records of expenses, bills and repairs, as well as gathering and including photographic and video evidence of the damage.

They’ll also check the hurricane insurance claim is correctly filed and submitted before any deadlines.

When Is It Time to Contact a Florida Hurricane Damage Attorney?

In almost every case, the sooner the better – to avoid missing deadlines and costly mistakes. Sadly, a denied claim is difficult to fight back against without new evidence. That’s why it’s generally best to get a lawyer’s support as soon as possible.

Insurers are also far less likely to mess around, trick, or deny a claim that involves a property damage attorney.

Being proactive is better than reactive. If your claim is well-prepared and has all the necessary evidence and documentation, then you could save yourself time and money on a long and tiring legal battle.

Key Warning Signs

There are key warning signs that your Florida hurricane insurance claim is being handled unfairly.

The previously mentioned ‘bad faith’ disputes are all red flags, plus:

  • You’re told, “your insurance doesn’t cover that damage.”
  • False or misleading statements made by your insurer.
  • You’re offered a settlement that is significantly less than required for repairs.
  • Slow and difficult processing times with bad communication.
  • Ultimatums and new conditions.
  • Insurers advise against speaking to an attorney.
  • Insurers undervalue damage or ignore it entirely.

Remember – you paid your premiums for moments like this. You deserve better than being pressured into low offers or unfair denials.

How to Hire a Florida Hurricane Damage Attorney?

If you believe you need a lawyer to help resolve a Florida hurricane insurance claim, you should:

  • Find an attorney from a Tier 1 law firm.
  • Ensure there is no fee unless you win.
  • Receive a consultation with the attorney.
  • Ask for examples of successful cases similar to yours.

Is a Property Damage Attorney Worth It?

If your claim is denied or undervalued without a fight back, you will be facing significant repair bills without sufficient insurance payments.

If you hire a property damage attorney who asks for no fees unless you win, then you effectively have nothing to lose – the alternative is a feeble low-ball offer, a denied claim or a missed deadline.

Top 10 Hurricane Damage Costs in U.S. History

($ Millions)

  • Hurricane Katrina (2005) – $65,000
  • Hurricane Sandy (2012) – $30,000
  • Hurricane Harvey (2017) – $30,000
  • Hurricane Irma (2017) – $29,900
  • Hurricane Marla (2017) – $29,670
  • Hurricane Andrew (1992) – $16,000
  • Hurricane Ike (2008) – $18,200
  • Hurricane Wilma (2005) – $10,760
  • Hurricane Michael (2018) – $13,250
  • Hurricane Ivan (2004) – $8,720

Statistics provided by iii.org

Hurricane Damage Attorney in St Petersburg, Florida

Free Consultation Today

If your property has suffered damage and your Florida hurricane insurance claim is being mishandled, contact us today.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you tackle the insurance companies.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.

2 09, 2021

Common Types of Property Damage Claims

By |2021-09-02T09:56:02-04:00September 2nd, 2021|Categories: Fire Damage Law, Hurricane Damage Law, Insurance Claims, Tree Damage Law|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

There are various types of property damage claims in Florida that can help you rebuild and repair following the devastating effects of natural disasters and accidents.

Property damage occurs more often than people think, so it’s important that you have the necessary homeowners insurance. Note that in some cases, you may need to buy an add-on to your homeowner’s policy.

Here are the most common types of property damage claims in Florida and how a property damage attorney can help:

Wind and Hail Damage

The most common type of property damage claim is for those caused by wind (34%). On average, a wind damage claim accounts for $11,200 worth of damage.

These claims cover damage caused by hurricanes, hail storms, tornadoes and other strong storms. Storms bring strong winds that can rip the roof apart or throw debris at your walls, leading to expensive repairs. Common wind damages include:

  • Broken Outdoor Furniture
  • Broken Windows
  • Damaged Air Conditioning Units
  • Damaged Roofs
  • Damaged walls from flying debris
  • Damaged solar panels
  • Fallen or uprooted trees
  • Missing or broken shutters
  • Severely damaged exterior paintwork, stucco or cladding
  • Structural Damage
  • Water intrusion

Water Damage

Water damage causes damage fast. Long-lasting damage too. Whether it’s a broken pipe, plumbing failure, hurricane or flood, these are expensive repair jobs. It’s important to remember that while the extent of the water damage may be obvious, it’s best to get a proper appraisal with the help of a property damage attorney – to ensure you and your insurance company don’t miss anything.

In 2018, 23.8% of property damage claims were for water damage. Common examples include:

  • Damaged appliances
  • Damaged furniture
  • Discoloration on walls, ceilings and floors
  • Mildew
  • Structural damage
  • Termite and bug infestation
  • Weakened foundations

Fire Damage

32.7% of property damage claims come from fires. Fires are brutal. Whether they’re started in the kitchen or lightning strikes, they spread fast and burn pretty much anything in sight. They also spread smoke and chemicals throughout the property. It’s vital that your insurance policy covers fire damage, as they can strike anyone at any time.

Be warned that insurance companies find ways to blame homeowners for fires, from accusations of arson to violating your policy. That’s why you should always contact a property damage attorney to get a fair payment.

On average, this type of property damage claim accounts for $79,785 worth of damage. Examples include:

  • Appliances and electrical items damaged
  • Damaged electrical systems
  • Damaged plumbing systems
  • Destroyed furniture
  • Discoloration of walls and belongings
  • Foundation damage
  • Odor from smoke
  • Roof damage
  • Structural damage

Sinkhole Damage

If you live in Florida, then sinkholes should be included in your homeowner’s insurance policy. There are more reported sinkholes in Florida than in any other U.S. state.

Sinkholes are often hard to detect but can pull your home to the ground. If you see even a small sinkhole, it could signal a bigger problem further below.

In Florida, homeowners are required by law to offer coverage for catastrophic ground cover collapse, but comprehensive sinkhole coverage is optional.

Insurance companies are notorious for working their way out of paying for sinkhole damage, which is why you should contact a property damage attorney to fight for you.

Hurricane Damage

When Florida’s hurricane season hits, property damage claims go through the roof. They become one of the most common types of property damage claims.

Hurricanes are particularly devastating, with even the most robust buildings often suffering some form of external damage.

It’s important to note that Florida’s homeowner insurance covers hurricane damage caused by wind, but flooding is not. That’s why it’s often advised to take out an additional flood damage policy to cover all bases.

Theft Damage

Burglary and theft incidents are frightening but also costly. From stolen items to smashed windows or possessions, you deserve to be compensated for this damage. 1 in 400 insured homes makes a property theft claim every year.

Although these damages are protected under home insurance policies, insurers are often reluctant to pay out the necessary fee. They may blame you for lack of security or undervalue your items. Thankfully, property damage attorneys are experienced and comfortable with taking on these big insurers and proving that you deserve the full payout.

The FBI found that 74% of burglaries occur in residential neighborhoods.

Tree Damage

Florida property owners are well aware of the damages caused by trees in storms and hurricanes. Strong winds can rip trees from the ground, causing them to smash into windows and walls while devastating the yard.

But did you know tree damage can occur naturally too? From encroaching roots to falling tree branches, it happens every day.

Tree damage claims may seem simple, but they’re often complicated. Roots and branches can cross property lines causing confusion and claim denials from insurers.

If your property has incurred tree damage, you should contact a property damage attorney to help make a case that brings you the damage cover you deserve.

What to Do If Your Property Has Been Damaged?

If your property has suffered damage, you can make one of these types of property damage claims to receive financial cover for the losses, repairs and rebuilding.

Sadly, insurance companies do not just hand out money without making it difficult. They have a variety of tricks up their sleeves. They often try to blame you, undervalue your losses, deny claims, use delaying tactics and more – all to pressure you into accepting a low ball offer.

But you deserve better. That’s where we come in. As property damage attorneys, we help fight insurance companies to get you the money you’re owed. We’ll prove the costs of your damages and won’t give in to the tricks and pressures of insurers.

Property Damage Attorney in St Petersburg, Florida

Free Consultation Today

If your property has suffered damage or you’re facing a problematic insurance company, then contact us today.

Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you tackle the insurance companies.

Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.