Living in paradise in Florida can come with certain downsides such as hurricanes, storm surges, and flooding. Natural disasters and high insurance premiums go hand in hand. However, homeowners are generally willing to pay high premiums in order to protect themselves from the devastating consequences of hurricanes, such as structural damage and water intrusion.
Unfortunately, despite having insurance coverage, getting the compensation you have a right to under the law from the insurance company can be an uphill struggle after a storm. Moreover, some policies, while covering wind damage, may deny claims for water damage and flooding.
If your insurance denied or underpaid your water damage claim due to a Florida hurricane, a water damage lawyer can help you recover your due. St. Petersburg Property Damage Attorney Jonathon W. Douglas knows how to handle hurricane claims and could help you prove that water damage to your home occurred due to a wind event such as a major storm or hurricane. Contact us today to find out how we can help you recover the insurance coverage that you paid for: (727) 381-2300.
Your Next Best Steps After a Hurricane
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2020 saw a record-breaking $22 billion dollars’ worth of weather and climate disasters. One thing is for sure: hurricanes are here to stay. Knowing what steps to take immediately after experiencing a hurricane can protect your legal rights and make it easier to recover your due from your insurance company. Most importantly, acting quickly can help your property suffer from any additional post-hurricane damage and deterioration. Your best steps after suffering property damage can include:
Contact the Insurance Company as Soon as Possible
Ask your insurance company to send out an adjuster as soon as possible to inspect your property, damages, and begin the process of filing a claim. The sooner you contact your insurer and start a claim, the sooner you can potentially receive funds to repair your property and move on with your life after a devastating hurricane.
Protect Your Property from Additional Damage
You should take immediate steps after a storm to ensure that your property does not deteriorate any further. Actions can include:
- Boarding up any open windows and doors
- Securing tarps over any roof openings
- Mitigating water intrusion and reducing moisture by using dehumidifiers
- Keeping the air-conditioning running to avoid mold growth
Document all Damage to your Home
One of the most important steps you can take after a storm is to document all damage to your home with photographs, videos, and comprehensive notes. If your entire home has suffered some degree of damage, make sure you provide a room-by-room inventory. Do not forget the outside of your home and, if applicable, document damage to your screens, pool, and patio areas.
Collect Evidence of Repair Expenses
The insurance company will want you to provide evidence of any repairs you have made, including receipts for replacements of cabinets, furniture, windows, and the costs of repainting your home, to name just a few examples.
Consider Consulting with a Water Damage Lawyer
It is never too early to protect your legal rights and get advice from an experienced water damage lawyer after suffering damage in a hurricane. An attorney can advise you on how to handle your insurance claim and help you recover adequate compensation for your damages. Contact St. Petersburg Property Damage Attorney Jonathon W. Douglas today for advice on your unique situation.
Why Has the Insurance Company Denied My Water Damage Claim?
While no two insurance policies are the same, homeowners can be entitled to various benefits under their homeowner’s policy, including but not limited to:
- Costs of repairs to the home
- Costs for replacing damaged furniture and fittings
- Costs to replace damaged or lost personal property
- Costs for temporary accommodation while the home is uninhabitable
Although it can feel unfair and frustrating to those who suffered significant damage to their homes, it is not at all uncommon for an insurance company to drag its heels and refuse or minimize a water damage claim after a hurricane.
Reasons that insurances state for refusing or underpaying your claim can include:
- Your policy excludes damage from flooding or has other exclusions
- Your coverage limit is too low to cover all your damages
- You failed to provide comprehensive evidence of your damages
- The insurance company claims you were negligent in protecting your home
- The insurance company claims there was pre-existing damage to your home
Depending on your individual damage and the fine print of your insurance policy, there can be other reasons for your insurance company refusing an adequate payout. However, it is important not to panic as an initial refusal to compensate homeowners adequately can be common when it comes to water damage claims in a Florida hurricane.
Individuals faced with a denied claim should not give up trying to recover the compensation they are owed under the law. As a homeowner in Florida, you generally have recourse when an insurer underpays or denies your claim. A water damage lawyer can help you get clear on your options and rights for recovering what you deserve.
How a Water Damage Lawyer Can Help You
According to Insurance.com, the average cost of windstorm insurance in Florida can be around $2,600 a year. If you purchased an adequate insurance policy for storm and hurricane damage, you should not be left out of pocket when you have a valid claim. A seasoned water damage lawyer is familiar with the tactics that insurance companies use to minimize or deny claims. Ways in which a determined attorney can help you include but are not limited to:
- Verifying details of your insurance policy documents comprehensively
- Communicate with the insurance company adjuster
- Tracking your claim
- Ensuring the insurance company is not short-changing you with a law payout
- Filing a lawsuit against the insurance company if needed
Contact an Experienced Water Damage Claim Attorney Today
If your home suffered water damage due to a storm or hurricane, you do not have to struggle during this difficult time on your own. Our legal team can help you stand up to the insurance company and leave no stone unturned in pursuing the settlement that you deserve. While we handle your claim, you can concentrate on fixing your home and getting some normality back after a devastating hurricane.
St. Petersburg Property Damage Attorney Jonathon W. Douglas can advise you of your legal rights and help ensure they remain protected. Call us today to schedule a free consultation: (727) 381-2300.