Guide to Making a Property Damage Claim in Tampa in 2024

It’s important to know that the laws about how you can make a property damage claim in Tampa have changed in recent years. Stricter deadlines and limits have been placed, so now only homeowners and business owners who have experienced considerable damage to their property can make a claim.

You will be filing a claim against your homeowner’s insurance provider. You will be required to provide supporting evidence.

Follow our guide to understand the key areas of making a property damage claim, so you can get coverage quickly:

1. Notify the Insurance Company

  • Your first task is to notify your homeowner’s insurance provider.
  • Notify them ASAP after the damage has occurred.
  • You can do this by calling them on the number provided on their website or in your policy documents.
  • This is also a good time to ask any questions you may have. They will inform you on what should happen next, such as when an insurance adjuster will evaluate the damage.

2. Consider Contacting a Tampa Property Damage Lawyer

  • If your home has suffered considerable damage, it can be wise to work with a reputable Tampa Property Damage lawyer from day one.
  • We can take care of the stressful communications and ensure you get the coverage you deserve. This is a great way to avoid the common problems of denied or delayed property damage claims in Tampa.
  • Note that you always have the right to work with a property damage attorney – even if your insurer advises or threatens you against doing so.

Do Not Accept a Low-Ball Offer

  • During your initial calls, you may be offered a low-ball offer. Don’t accept it.
  • Be wary of these as they may leave you paying out of pocket if the coverage isn’t sufficient. It’s always best to get a true damage evaluation first.
  • Lowball offers are pressure tactics to get policyholders who fear they’re in a take-it-or-leave-it scenario – you’re not.

3. Know How Long You Have to File Your Property Damage Claim in Tampa

  • In Tampa, you have just one year from the date the hurricane made landfall to give notice of the claim to the insurance company.
  • Many websites may tell you that you have 2-3 years, but they are based on outdated information.
  • For non-weather related property damage claims you have one year from the ‘date of loss’.
  • Supplemental claims can be made for additional loss or damage of the same event, which the insurance company had previously adjusted (or for costs that arose during repair work or replacement). You have just 18 months to make a supplemental claim.

4. Review Your Policy

  • Before the insurance adjuster arrives for your property damage claim in Tampa, or before you have further communications with the insurance company, we advise you to review your policy documents.
  • This will enable you to get a clearer understanding of what you’re entitled to as a policyholder.

Know the Difference Between Flood and Water Damage

  • Water vs Flood Damage in insurance is a very important subject.
  • Why? Because homeowner’s policies in Tampa do not provide flood coverage – an additional policy add-on must be purchased for that.

We often see homeowners denied coverage for flood damage. However, if the water came from a damaged roof or broken windows, then the root cause was likely wind damage – not flooding.

  • Water damage is caused by internal issues within the house, such as plumbing disasters.
  • Flood damage is caused by external damage from mother nature, such as flooding oceans and rivers.

5. Take Photos of the Damage

Regardless of the type of damage your home has suffered, you must document the damage as soon as possible. Do this with photographs and videos. Obviously, the building may not be safe to go inside. But you can take photographs externally too.

  • Take photos of the key areas of damage – such as broken doors, windows and roofs.
  • There is no such thing as too many photos in insurance claims.
  • Take photos of the damage to personal property, such as appliances, furniture, electronics and personal items.

If you have photos of your home from before the disaster, this is especially useful – as they can be used to show the damage was not pre-existing.

Read Related: How to Avoid Pre-Existing Damage Allegations in a Property Damage Claim

6. Make Mitigating Repairs

  • You must make reasonable repairs that mitigate further damage.
  • You are not expected to replace a roof, but you should do things such as tarp the roof, board up windows, doors and turn off water supplies.
  • You can DIY some of this, but you can also ask your insurance provider on how to get a temporary repair team in and those expenses should be later covered in the full settlement payment.

7. Keep Receipts

  • We urge you to keep all receipts related to the disaster, including: repair fees and accommodation fees.
  • These can be covered in the final settlement payment.
  • You should also keep and provide evidence of any receipts of damage to personal property, such as appliances and electronics.
  • For example, if you had a TV damaged by a fire then having the TV receipt available can prove its true cost.

8. Keep Record of All Communications with Your Insurer

  • Insurance companies break promises all the time – remember that they’re for-profit companies afterall.
  • You should ask for the name of any insurance representative you talk to and note down their name and date and time of the call.
  • Don’t delete any emails they send. Safely store all mail correspondence. This can all be used as a paper trail if a problem arises.
  • If they make you a promise over the phone, ask for it in writing or via email.

What Should I Do if My Property Damage Claim in Tampa Is Undervalued, Delayed or Denied?

If your Tampa property damage claim has been undervalued or denied, you still have a chance to fight back. It is within your rights to contact a Tampa Property Damage attorney to help you tackle these daunting insurance companies.

However, things have got harder in recent years when dealing with bad faith claims:

  • Bad faith claims can only be filed if the policyholder has established via ‘adverse adjudication by a court’ that their insurer breached the insurance contract, and a final judgment or decree has been given against the insurer.

If insurers have broken the following deadlines, you can fight back against them:

  • Insurers have just 60 days to pay or deny the claim.
  • Insurers must begin an investigation in 7 days.
  • Insurers must conduct a physical inspection in 30 days.
  • Within 7 days of assisting an adjuster, insurers must notify the policyholder that they can request a copy of a detailed estimate of the loss.
  • The estimate must be sent to the policyholder within 7 days of the request, or 7 days since the estimate was completed.
  • Insurers’ claim records must include various parts of the claim investigation and their dates.

Call Our Tampa Property Damage Claim Lawyers Today

If you’re filing a high-value property damage claim in Tampa, our property damage lawyer team can help. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, we can help file a fresh property damage claim or fix an existing one regardless of whether it’s been denied, delayed or undervalued. We have the know-how and resources to get the settlement you deserve.

Free Consultations!

Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage attorney 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 navigate hurricane insurance disputes.