2 08, 2022

10 Signs That Your Insurer Undervalued Your Property Damage Claim

By |2022-08-02T08:53:00-04:00August 2nd, 2022|Categories: Insurance Claims|Tags: , , |

An undervalued or underpaid property damage claim can force you to pay the remaining repair bills yourself, which could be thousands of dollars.

Insurance companies are notorious for doing everything they can to minimize their outgoing costs. Remember – they’re for-profit and care more about their finances than your stress levels or bank balance.

But that doesn’t mean you have to accept their low-ball offers. You should, as a paying customer, receive the maximum possible settlement.

Here are the top red flags that your insurer has undervalued your property damage claim:

How to Know If Your Insurer Has Undervalued Your Property Damage Claim

1. Their Estimate Seems Too Low

If you feel that the estimate is too low, trust your gut and intuition. More often than not, if you suspect it’s too low, then it probably is.

A good way to be sure is to gather as much evidence and information about the damage from day one. Gather receipts and independent quotes to repair the damage.

If the insurance company’s estimate doesn’t come close to yours, they may have been acting in bad faith or made careless errors. In which case, it’s time to act and contact a property damage attorney for swift legal support.

2. The Insurance Adjuster Rushed the Property Inspection

Soon after you open your claim, an insurance adjuster will visit the property to assess the damage and determine what needs repairing or replacing. Sometimes, these adjusters will rush their job.

Whether they’re careless or have bad faith intentions, it can leave you with a lower settlement offer than you need.

If you experience an adjuster quickly walking around the property without paying attention to the details, then alarm bells should be ringing.

3. Your Insurance Claim Is Being Processed Quicker Than Expected

While everyone wants quick service after a disaster, a big red flag is if things go unusually quickly. For example, you might be given an offer the same day you call them. This might also come in a ‘take it or leave it’ style of offer.

Your settlement should cover the true value of the property damage and nothing less.

4. Damage Was Overlooked

Review the insurance settlement document carefully to ensure all damaged elements are covered under the policy.

If damage has been overlooked in your settlement offer or communications with your insurance company, you need to act.

The insurance adjuster may have made a mistake or acted in bad faith, forcing you to pay out of pocket to repair your property.

5. Part of Your Claim Was Denied

Similarly, if any part of your claim was denied, then your property damage insurance claim may be undervalued.

Denial of claims can come in all sorts of forms (which are mentioned below) and are commonly used to save insurance companies money.

If your property damage claim has been denied or partially denied, it’s not game over. The case can be reopened. Contact a property damage attorney as soon as possible.

6. You’ve Been Offered the Actual Cash Value, Instead of Replacement Costs

Your insurance carrier may also offer to pay the actual cash value instead of the full cost required to replace or repair the property.

‘Actual cash value’ is what the property or appliance is worth today, not what it will cost to replace or repair it.

7. They Claim You Caused Damage

If your insurance carrier believes or accuses you of causing damage (or failing to mitigate damage), it’s a common sign that they’re cutting out parts of your claim. For example, they may say water damage was because you left a window open – when in reality, you didn’t.

8. Repair Quotes Are Less Than Expected

It’s advised that you receive an independent quote from a contractor for repairs, so you can ensure you’re not getting undervalued by your property damage claims insurer.

If the repair quotes are less than expected, it’s time to call an attorney to avoid covering the remaining bills.

9. You’re Told Not to Contact an Attorney

If you’re warned that you can’t contact an insurance lawyer without voiding your insurance policy, then do the exact opposite!

This threat is nonsense and hints that the insurance company wants to hide its bad-faith tactics. They may be lowering your settlement payment.

10. You’re Told About a Loophole or Lack of Coverage

Another common sign that your insurer has undervalued your property damage claim is when you’ve been told about a lack of coverage or loopholes.

While in Florida, you need to be aware of the difference between flood and water damage, you should be sensitive to any claims that you can’t get coverage for certain areas of the home.

If you do hear this, there’s a good chance you’re being tricked. Carefully review your policy documents and contact an attorney as soon as possible.

What To Do If Your Property Damage Claim Has Been Undervalued?

If your insurer has denied or undervalued your property damage claim, contact a property damage insurance lawyer immediately.

They will aggressively fight on your behalf to get the maximum possible settlement, closing down any tricks or manipulation attempted by the insurer. You deserve a fair settlement and their legal expertise will get it.

If necessary, they will be able to take legal action, but in most cases, the mere presence of a reputable lawyer is enough for the insurance company to wake up and act fairly.

Read related: The 10 Mistakes You Should Never Make When Filing Home Insurance Claims

Florida Property Damage Attorneys

Free Consultations!

If your insurance carrier has undervalued or denied your property damage claim after a disaster, 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.

12 07, 2022

The 10 Mistakes You Should Never Make When Filing Home Insurance Claims

By |2022-07-12T11:07:32-04:00July 12th, 2022|Categories: Insurance Claims|Tags: |

Are you about to file a property damage insurance claim? Stop! Don’t begin until you’ve educated yourself on these top 10 home insurance claim mistakes!

First up, you must know the truth about insurance companies – they’re for-profit and care far more about their profit margins than you! They’ll do anything in their power (and more) to undervalue your claim or outright reject it, leaving you to pay tens of thousands of dollars for property repairs.

Here’s what you shouldn’t ever do when filing an insurance claim:

1. Forgetting to Read Your Policy

Your insurance carrier will try to take advantage of you if you aren’t aware of your home insurance policy. As you won’t know what is covered, there’s a good chance they’ll say what happened isn’t part of their coverage or that your home falls into a loophole.

So make sure you read the entire homeowner’s policy contract, including endorsements. If you still find that the insurance carrier makes false claims, or tries to confuse you, then call a property damage lawyer for professional assistance.

2. Waiting Too Long to Inform Your Insurer

If your property has suffered damage, contact your insurer immediately.

A delayed report can give your insurer time to make false claims such as “you failed to timely report your claim” or “you failed to mitigate the damage”.

Plus, most homeowner insurance policies have conditions that require timely notice of damage. Finally, the sooner you inform your insurer, the quicker those repairs and payments can happen.

3. Failure to Document Enough Evidence

Evidence is essential in any insurance claim. But the common home insurance claim mistake is not gathering enough evidence!

You must take photos of everything, from the glaringly obvious to slightly damaged appliances or your damaged doors and windows. Then when you’ve taken them all, take some more! Take a video and record what happened on the day of the incident.

You should also inventory all the damaged and undamaged property, including repair costs and purchase price. If you can enter your home safely, gather any receipts too.

Finally, document every communication you have with insurance adjusters and representatives. Keep a list of their names, contact information and the time and date of each call. Safely store all paper documents.

4. Discarding or Cleaning Property Damage Too Soon

Don’t discard damaged appliances or property unless instructed by authorities or your insurance company. Even if the property is burnt or flooded, ensure it stays at the location until an adjuster has inspected it!

If you don’t do this, your homeowner’s insurance adjuster may claim there’s no proof of the damage so they can’t include it in your settlement. To help the process, make an inventory list of all damaged property and costs.

5. Failing to Mitigate the Damage

Another disastrous home insurance claim mistake is not taking steps to prevent the property from suffering further damage. Your insurance company may reject or reduce your settlement if they find this was the case.

For example, if a storm has broken doors or windows, then you should make temporary repairs. Or, if there is a damaged water pipe on the property, you should turn off the water supply.

6. Admitting You Were to Blame

Imagine you thought you may have made a mistake such as leaving a window unlocked during a storm that caused water damage. Don’t admit it! This may see your claim reduced or rejected.

Alternatively, you may have made no mistakes at all but the insurance adjuster may ask questions that trick you into admitting fault. Stay alert and never take the blame!

Read Related: What’s the difference between water and flood insurance?

7. Assuming Your Insurer’s Calculations Are Correct

So the insurance adjuster has visited your property, assessed the damage and calculated the total repair costs and replacement costs. How do you know that figure is correct?

Many people assume it is and then a few months later are forced to pay for repairs out of their own pocket. Construction costs are especially prone to wide variations between insurer quotes and reality.

In reality, you can always question the calculations. You can receive your own repair quotes and you can question it all. You have the right to do so.

If you disagree, let the insurer know – provide your own estimates for the repairs. With rising construction costs, supply chain disruptions and inflation, there is a good chance the cost the insurance company believes will make you whole, will not. Once you get your own estimates, submit them to the insurance carrier and demand that they pay the estimates you provided.

8. Assuming the Insurer’s Offer is Final

If you’re unhappy with the insurer’s offer, you can negotiate. If they reject your claim, you can appeal. They cannot close your case to silence you.

If you’ve been unfairly denied or underpaid in a property damage claim, then contact a property damage attorney as soon as possible.

9. Thinking You Can’t Reopen a Home Insurance Claim

Most homeowners insurance companies will inform you that the case is closed once they’ve paid you. But that’s just their way of saying they’re not dealing with it anymore.

Actually, you can reopen a claim so long as you did not sign a full and final settlement release. You may need to reopen a claim if you find the settlement offer wasn’t enough to cover the extensive damage, or that repair work was more extensive than predicted.

These situations are far from easy though as insurance adjusters will try to manipulate you or shut you out. Therefore you should hire a property damage attorney for aggressive professional representation.

10. Trying to Tackle a Complex Home Insurance Claim Alone

Whether your case is complex because of its size or because your insurer is playing games, a common home insurance claim mistake is handling it without a lawyer’s assistance.

While trying to handle the emotions of a damaged home, you’ll also need to deal with manipulative insurance adjusters and a lot of paperwork!

Property damage lawyers work on your behalf to deal with insurance companies. Their presence alone can often end the insurer’s tricks and bring a far higher offer.

In most cases, the offer you’ll receive with a lawyer’s assistance (including the lawyer’s fee) is larger than without.

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.

7 06, 2022

10 Must-Know Home Insurance Claim Adjuster Secret Tactics

By |2022-06-07T13:52:43-04:00June 7th, 2022|Categories: Insurance Claims|Tags: , , |

Every homeowner must know the common home insurance claim adjuster’s secret tactics. Insurance companies are for-profit and care far more about saving money than helping their customers out.

These tactics are completely unfair but go unnoticed due to desperate home insurance claimants. Sadly, studies show these tactics help boost insurance companies’ profits every year.

By becoming aware of these common home insurance claim adjuster secret tactics, you can avoid manipulation and gain the maximum possible settlement for your home insurance claim.

Common Home Insurance Claim Adjuster Secret Tactics

Secret Tactic 1: Tricking You to Admit Fault

Throughout the industry, insurance companies try to trick claimants into admitting fault. But by admitting fault, or partial fault, your claim can be worth significantly less.

In property damage claims, the common secret tactic is to claim you either:

For example, they might say that you didn’t lock your windows, which caused flooding during a storm, or that your appliances were damaged long before a fire.

If you’re unaware of these tactics, it’s easy to get tricked into admitting fault. It can happen so easily, from a question such as “Were your windows locked?”

In some cases, you might even experience ‘gaslighting’. Which is where they’ll trick you into thinking you were the cause.

We know it’s difficult if you’re in a vulnerable position. Insurance claims adjusters use tricky questions to shift the blame. Don’t give in easily. They’re not your friends.

Secret Tactic 2: Delaying

Your insurance claims adjuster is likely to try delaying tactics. They’ll know from experience that most people get tired of delays when they’re desperate for money and repairs.

From not calling you back or answering emails, they’ll do whatever they can to push you into accepting a low-ball offer.

Don’t give in. If you experience delaying tactics, then you’re a victim of bad faith and can call a property damage attorney.

Secret Tactic 3: False Deadlines

In their goal to get you to accept a low-ball settlement offer, insurance agents will tell you that you have until a specified date to accept the offer or leave empty-handed.

The truth is, this is a scare tactic. It’s a made-up deadline that you do not have to accept. In reality, you always have a chance to negotiate a better settlement offer and are not obliged to accept their low-ball offer before a deadline.

If this does happen to you and you’re afraid, you can contact a property damage attorney who will quickly call the insurance company and set things straight.

Secret Tactic 4: Policy Loopholes

Insurance policy documents are usually long and complicated. That’s intentional.

Many of our clients say that their insurers state the property damage isn’t covered in the insurance coverage. The reason given is usually some technical loophole.

More often than not, this is a lie. You’re their customer and you paid for this policy.

Secret Tactic 5: Requesting Unnecessary Documentation

Insurance adjusters require various documents, such as receipts, photo evidence, bills and reports. But a common insurance adjuster tactic is to ask for documents that aren’t needed because they know you don’t have them.

For example, you might get asked to provide a repair or construction bill from ten years before the property damage event. This is just another trick to wear you down to accept a low settlement offer.

Secret Tactic 6: Undervaluing Your Claim

When you get a low-ball offer, it’s probably not because you over-estimated damages. It’s more likely because insurance adjusters don’t want to pay you more and they want to wear you out.

The most common way this occurs is by claiming repairs can be completed for far less than the real price.

Do not give in. If you’re unhappy with the settlement offer, you can receive an independent inspection of the property and get contractor quotes. These can be used to prove that the claim has been underpaid or undervalued.

Property damage attorneys are of great use in these situations. They have the resources to prove the real costs of the damage so you don’t end up out of pocket later down the line.

Secret Tactic 7: Advising You Not to Use an Attorney

Insurance companies are scared of attorneys because they know that they’ll reveal their tactics as bad faith behavior.

Your insurance agent may try to tell you that hiring an attorney is either unnecessary, a contract violation or a waste of money. None of this is true.

Using an attorney almost always produces a higher settlement, even after deducting attorney fees.

They can fight aggressively on your behalf through the claims process to avoid attorneys’ manipulation tactics and bring you the maximum possible settlement.

Secret Tactic 8: Acting Like They Care

Be warned of any overly friendly insurance adjuster. They’re not your friend; they work for an insurance company.

While it’s always appreciated that you’re treated with respect and sympathy, the red flags come when they try to ‘befriend’ you. They use this approach to get your guard down, so they can use information against you.

It’s not uncommon for adjusters to be paid bonuses for low settlements, and you’re just another opportunity.

Secret Tactic 9: False Promises Made by Insurance Companies

A home insurance claims adjuster might make promises for your benefit that, in reality, are a conflict of interest. Their priority is always the insurance company, not you!

They might, for example, say they’ll pay for a particular type of repair work and then later tell you that it was ‘excessive’ so it won’t be covered.

Secret Tactic 10: Painful Compensation Negotiations

Never forget that you can negotiate with an insurance company for a property damage settlement offer. But be warned, they will make it as difficult as possible.

They won’t just give you the figure you want at the first request, or the second. This is going to take some work, patience and nerve.

It is highly advised that you hire a property damage attorney, as they will negotiate on your behalf. The mere presence of a reputable attorney can be enough to make an insurance company’s negotiations go far, far quicker and result in a fair settlement.

Contact a Florida Homeowners Insurance Claim Attorney Today

Free Consultations!

If you need to make a property damage claim, negotiate or tackle an unfair insurance claim adjuster, 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 insurance disputes.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

7 08, 2021

Tips for Filing Insurance Claims for Hurricane Property Damage in Florida

By |2021-08-07T08:16:55-04:00August 7th, 2021|Categories: Hurricane Damage Law, Insurance Claims|Tags: , , , , , , |

Nearly every year we see significant hurricane property damage in Florida as hurricane season tears trees from the ground, causes significant flooding and worse. For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit, it caused around $125 billion in damages in Florida.

If your home or business has suffered in a recent storm, then a hurricane insurance claim can help you make repairs and recover your financial losses.

While it may seem a simple process, people make many mistakes when filing property damage claims for hurricanes, so it’s best to follow these tips:

Types of Hurricane Property Damage Claims

The following insurance policies are often used to cover damage caused by hurricanes:

Windstorm Insurance

Florida insurance companies offer this policy as an additional deductible. The cost varies depending on where you live. It is often used for damaged roofs and exteriors damaged by strong winds or debris from hurricanes.

Flood Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance does not cover storm surges or flooding. Instead, flood damage from hurricanes is covered in flood insurance which is purchased as an additional deductible. Flooding in Florida is common during hurricane season. Just one inch of water can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.

How to File a Hurricane Property Damage Claim in Florida

If you’ve suffered hurricane property damage in Florida, then you need to notify your insurance company as soon as possible.

If you have a concrete understanding of your homeowner’s insurance policy, then you can do this as soon as possible.

If not, then it’s best to review the details of your policy. This can save you from missing any details that see you miss out on a fair settlement. If you have any doubts, contact a property damage attorney.

How Long Do I Have to File a Hurricane Insurance Claim

You often have a shorter window of time for claims for hurricane property damage in Florida than other insurance claims, such as car accidents.

Florida’s property damage statute of limitation is four years from the date of the damage. If you don’t make your hurricane insurance claim before then, then it’s likely you will be denied.

Once you’ve made your hurricane insurance claim, your insurer will have two weeks to acknowledge it. Then, they’ll investigate your property damage.

Investigate The Damage

Step one is making your own in-depth investigation of the property. Insurers will later carry out their own investigation, but that’s often to see if your claims are legitimate rather than checking for anything you’ve missed.

List all your damages. This includes broken windows, damaged walls, roofs, flooded floors, damaged valuables, computers, furniture, appliances and more. If something’s been damaged, make a note of it on a list. You’ll use this later when filing your claim.

Take Pictures of the Property Damage

Before making any claim for hurricane property damage in Florida, you must take photos of the damage.

Evidence of the damage will significantly support the legitimacy of your claim. Take photos of everything on your list and every room of your home. Store them in a folder in your email or cloud, so you can access them at any time.

Check With Your Insurer Before Discarding Damaged Items

Don’t discard any damaged items or materials until your insurance adjuster has seen them. The last thing you want is for your insurer to claim there’s no evidence of the damaged items. However, if your local municipality asks you to discard the items for safety reasons, then taking photos is a good backup.

Keep All Your Receipts

From repair receipts to the original receipts of appliances, computers and more – keep them. They’re evidence of how much you paid and how much you deserve to be compensated by your insurer. Store them in an organized place so they’re ready to show if your insurer asks.

Keep Records of Who You Talk To

Document anyone you speak to at the insurance company. Note their name, what was discussed and the date the call happened on. This can help with any problems of insurers going back on their word or providing misguidance.

Review All Documents Carefully

It may seem obvious, but many people just skim-read documents. For example, a ‘proof of loss’ document will be given to you to sign by your insurance adjuster. This will detail the pricing of your repairs. You must read this carefully to check that every repair has been included.

If reviewing documents is daunting, then contact a Florida property damage attorney for their legal expertise to ensure you make no mistakes.

What to Expect from Your Hurricane Insurance Company?

You have the right to repair and replace the damages on your property and receive compensation to cover those costs. Your insurance company must also:

  • Provide notice within 14 days that they’ve received your claim.
  • Provide notice that your claim is being paid or denied or investigated within 30 days.
  • Provide notice that they’ve finished reviewing your claim, denying your claim or paying partial or fully for your claim within 90 days.
  • Ensure that any claim filed includes a maximum amount payable and a deductible, which will later be subtracted from the total compensation paid to you.

It should also be stressed that insurance companies are notoriously difficult to work with. They don’t hand out money easily. Their adjusters and lawyers will work hard to find ways to pay you as little as possible. From claiming you don’t have evidence of the damage to saying you left a window open (in flood scenarios), we’ve seen it all.

Gain Legal Expertise from a Florida Property Damage Attorney

Naturally, you might be apprehensive. That’s where we can help. As Florida property damage attorneys, we’re very familiar with the tricks insurance companies pull in hurricane insurance claims.

We’ll ensure you meet the deadline to file a claim and have a solid case. Our team works to collect evidence, so there’s no chance for an insurance adjuster to come along and underpay.

We also don’t give in to low ball figures. We get you the money you deserve in your hurricane insurance claim.

Florida Property Damage Attorneys Specializing in Hurricane Claims

Free Consultations!

If your home or business 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.