The aftermath of a hurricane can be just as devastating as the natural disaster itself. Your property may have experienced interior or exterior property damage. Or you may have lost your home completely. Businesses shut down, and people may not have water, power, or a safe place to live.
To make matters worse, recovering from these storms can be unbearably slow, particularly when insurance companies don’t fulfill their responsibilities to policyholders. Whatever the case, you need to know your options after suffering from hurricane damage. Educating yourself will ensure recovery and a fair payout as soon as possible.
However, after the rain and wind dispel, you’re left to pick up the pieces – literally and figuratively. The last thing you want to do is battle with insurance companies. Especially if you have a hole in your roof or your house is flooded. Your priority is searching for a safe place to take your family. If that’s the case, you cannot afford to delay processing your hurricane damage claim.
What Is Florida Hurricane Insurance?
Hurricane insurance in Florida can be hard to understand. Generally speaking, Florida does not offer policyholders a specific insurance policy for hurricane damage. Instead, people facing property damage after a hurricane need to seek recovery through a specific type of coverage in their policy, like:
- Windstorm insurance
- Flood Insurance
- A combination of windstorm and flood insurance
However, windstorm insurance only covers property damage from heavy winds. Basic windstorm coverage will cover any damages caused by wind, such as:
- Damaged roofs or siding
- Shattered windows
- Broken doors, battered gutters, or garages
- Any damaged structure that was attached to your home
- Damaged fixtures inside your home
- Any personal items destroyed by wind damage
Florida law requires homeowners insurance policies to include wind damage for hurricanes. So if your insurance carrier tries to tell you that wind damage is not covered after a hurricane, you may be dealing with a bad-faith insurance practice.
Reasons a Florida Insurer May Deny Your Hurricane Damage Claim
Unfortunately, filing a claim doesn’t guarantee the insurance company will approve it. Causation is a central factor in hurricane and windstorm insurance coverage disputes. There are many reasons why an insurance company might deny your claim or offer you a low payment. Some common reasons for hurricane damage claim denials include the following:
- Misinterpreting hurricane damage or providing inaccurate information
- Failing to meet the deadline to file a claim
- Failure to mitigate additional damage
- Damages that the insurer believes were not caused by the hurricane.
- Not providing sufficient and necessary documentation of the damages you sustained (or failure to provide proof of ownership)
Having your claim denied can be highly frustrating, but it’s not the end of the story. If you believe your claim was unfairly denied, your lawyer can challenge the denial on your behalf. Of course, part of that involves gathering the proper evidence to support your claim.
Most people don’t have time to wait for damage compensation after a hurricane. The longer it takes to receive this money, the harder it will be for you and your family to recover. We understand that many rely on that money to pay for repairs and secure a roof over their heads. That money may also be necessary to get your business running again, cover hotel costs, or replace essential items lost in the hurricane.
Whatever it’s for, we understand that money is imperative to put your life back together after a hurricane. That’s why we will work hard to settle your claim as fast as possible and fight any insurance companies who engage in bad faith practices. But, unfortunately, when they do that, you’re the one who suffers from an unfair delay in getting your payment.
Florida Hurricane Damage Claims
After a Florida hurricane, we work to help policyholders recover money for damages to their residential and commercial properties. Some of the damages we can help your claim to include:
- Roof damages
- Floor damage
- Foundation damage
- Exterior wall damage or a wall collapse
- Interior property damage
- Deck damage
- Garage damage
- Siding damage
- Damage to any major appliances
- Fence damage
- Landscaping damage
- Cabinet damage
- Personal property damage
Often policyholders must file supplemental claims to cover issues they find after submitting an initial claim.
Hurricane Caused Property Damage and Your Insurance Policy
Property damage caused by a category 3 Hurricane (like Hurricane Ian) should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Flood Insurance vs. Hurricane Insurance
Your homeowner’s insurance policy may not be sufficient to cover all of the damages you sustained. For example, standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not provide coverage for water damage that comes under the scope of a flood insurance policy. Flood insurance coverage is a supplemental coverage that policyholders must purchase separately.
Therefore, your hurricane insurance might not cover flooding or flood damage. Also, bear in mind that homeowner insurance carriers are notorious for trying to call damages a flood loss to get out of paying. Luckily, we have connections to some of the most reliable experts who can help combat insurance company tactics.
In addition to flood insurance, you may have trouble getting the coverage you need if you experienced significant damage from:
- Electrical issues
Even if those damages fall under your policy’s coverage, insurance companies might try to find a way to deny your claim. No matter the case, we are here to help if the insurance company denies or undervalues your claim.
Hurricane Ian Damage in Florida
During Hurricane Ian, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in the entire state. With winds up to 150mph and immense storm surges, Hurricane Ian caused extensive property damage. There were entire communities that suffered significant roof damage and interior water damage. Hurricane Ian also caused broken windows, wind damage, flooding damage, and storm surges. The catastrophic property damage left behind after Hurricane Ian was worth billions of dollars.
Hurricane Ian Property Damage Stats
- The total flood and wind losses are between $40 to $70 billion.
- Uninsured flood loss estimates are around $10 to $17 billion.
- As of November 2022, there were over 66,000 pending mortgage applications at risk (worth about $22.5 billion)
- There were over $60 million in insured property damage losses.
With so many claims flooding insurance companies, they are trying to lowball policyholders more than ever. The insurance adjuster who works for the companies is trained to do so. If you suffered hurricane damage, do not try to go it alone. Our legal team supports you and fights bad-faith insurance practices.
Insurance companies are fighting tooth and nail against the bombardment of claims that inevitably arose after hurricane Ian. They want to reduce their losses and pay less to their policyholders.
What Damages Can I Recover for My Florida Hurricane Damage Claim?
Hurricane victims in Florida are entitled to compensation for any storm-related losses. According to Florida Statute § 627.70132, you can file a claim against your homeowner’s insurance company for economic damages resulting from a storm.
If you suffered losses from hurricane Ian, contact an experienced Florida hurricane damage lawyer. They can help by investigating your claim, gathering evidence, filing within the deadline, and negotiating with insurance companies.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Hurricane Insurance Claim in Florida?
Yes. Florida law requires you to file a homeowners insurance hurricane damage claim within two years of the date of loss. Therefore, if your claim was previously closed, you have two years from the initial loss date to reopen the case. In addition, if you file a supplemental claim for damages, you have three years from the original date of loss to submit the claim.
Once You Settle, the Insurer Must Pay You Quickly
After you reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company, you should expect a check soon. Florida laws require insurers to pay clients within 20 days of reaching a written settlement agreement. If they fail to pay you in that time, they pay an interest rate until they fulfill the payment. We will see that insurance companies don’t delay payment or violate your rights to fair and timely compensation under your policy.
Steps to Take After Hurricane Damage
We know how overwhelming and stressful it can be to deal with the aftermath of a hurricane. But remember, we don’t just represent those affected by hurricanes – we are part of the community that has been affected. Consequently, we have compassion for our clients and work tirelessly to protect the rights of people who get bullied by insurance companies.
If you’re wondering what steps to take next while suffering property damages, keep these tips in mind:
- Relocate to a safe, temporary residence if you cannot stay home. For example, some people may need to stay in a hotel until their house is repaired.
- Take the necessary safety measures to protect yourself and your family. Follow orders from authorities.
- Protect your property and document all steps you’ve taken to do so. Your insurance policy requires you to prevent additional damage to your property. Document all your efforts to prevent further damage immediately after the hurricane hits.
- Take pictures and videos to document all damages. You should document structural issues, destroyed personal belongings, and any wind, rain, or flooding damage. If you can, take pictures while it’s still raining or as soon as it stops. Doing so will help connect the damage to the storm.
- Keep all receipts for work, supplies, and temporary housing costs. Wait until you get approval from your insurance company for repairs or replacements.
- File a hurricane damage claim and proof of loss as soon as possible.
- Contact a Florida hurricane damage lawyer right away. We could guide you through the claims process if Hurricane Ian damaged your home.
How Can A Florida Hurricane Damage Lawyer Help Your Insurance Claim?
Enlisting the help of a legal professional can save you a lot of time and a massive headache when it comes to hurricane damage. Here are some things a Florida Hurricane Damage Lawyer can take off your plate.
Conduct an In-Depth Assessment of Your Insurance Policy
We will carefully analyze your policy and help you understand the jargon. Furthermore, we help you understand the provisions in your policy so you can efficiently seek recovery.
Investigate the Property Damage
Whether you own a home or commercial property, we can launch a detailed investigation to uncover the cause of damage. In addition, we gather the evidence necessary to prove your losses directly resulted from hurricane damage. Our investigation will identify all damaged areas of your home and all losses you’ve suffered. For example, if you lost personal documents or any personal valuables or need to relocate temporarily, we can help you account for such losses in your claim.
We Help Prepare Your Hurricane Damage Claim
Hurricane damage claims require a lot of forms and paperwork, like proof of ownership, proof of loss, and financial documents. Our legal team can help you prepare all the necessary paperwork and start the claims process. In addition, we help ensure you have all the proper documentation to file a claim.
We Have An Extensive Network of Experts
Our team does not cut corners when it comes to serving clients. We only work with the most reputable professionals, including those in damage repair, water restoration, and property damage appraisers. The professionals we work with understand the effects of wind and rain on your home. Additionally, they can help pinpoint any overlooked damage and provide solutions. Finally, we prioritize getting you an accurate valuation of your losses so you can get fair compensation.
Protect Your Rights
We take pride in protecting the rights of our clients. Under the law, you deserve fair compensation and a timely payout from your insurer. We help protect your rights by
- Negotiating a fair settlement offer and not letting insurance companies strong-arm you. Reject offers that don’t meet the mark.
- We know Florida laws and use them to interpret your insurance policy correctly and in your favor.
- Communicating with insurance companies for you so they can’t take advantage of you
- Providing sound legal guidance to make your life easier and your hurricane recovery smoother
Protect You Against Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Sadly, insurers don’t always play fair. But when that happens, we will fight in your corner. Our Florida hurricane damage lawyers protect you from bad-faith conduct and move your case forward. Furthermore, we work to show you precisely what you deserve based on your policy terms. Finally, we will go to court if they don’t want to play fair or violate laws.
We Get Results Through Litigation
We know how vulnerable it can feel after you experience hurricane damage. That’s why our property damage claim team fights for you. We know to settle for a fair amount and push back when insurance companies undervalue, delay, or deny your claim.
US News and World Report nationally rank our law firm as a Tier 1 Law Firm. Lead Attorney Jonathon Douglas previously represented the largest insurance companies in Florida. As a result, he has inside knowledge to anticipate their every move and navigate your claim successfully. We are not afraid to take your case to trial to get you the best results possible.
Our Legal Team Has Extensive Resources to Achieve Success
We can allocate the resources for you if you need financial resources to hire experts, carry out an investigation, or go to court. It’s no problem to tap into our extensive network of wide-reaching resources because we go all in for our clients.
Why Do I Need a Hurricane Damage Lawyer?
Living in the path of hurricanes is part of the price we pay to live in the beautiful Sunshine State. Many rely on insurance coverage to pay for their losses from a hurricane. But unfortunately, doing so proves to be a significant challenge for Florida residents. That’s because insurance companies have their best interest in mind. Insurance companies tend to delay claims when there is an influx of hurricane damage claims. Such insurance practices make it difficult for homeowners to recover the money they deserve promptly.
As a result, you may not get the results you expect if you try to handle your insurance claim alone. However, with a skilled Florida Hurricane Damage Lawyer on your side, you have a better chance at securing fair financial recovery. Here are some other benefits you can expect from hiring an experienced attorney:
- We are familiar with Florida’s legal system, insurance laws, and homeowners’ rights that affect your claim. Consequently, we produce desirable results for our clients.
- A good attorney can dedicate the resources to investigating your claim thoroughly. That will help build a strong case for your claim with solid evidence. Our legal team has the connections and resources to do so.
- Hurricane insurance policies can be complex. We understand them and the often confusing language in these legal contracts. Our job is to help you understand it, explain what’s important, and then apply what’s relevant to win your claim.
Contact a Florida Hurricane Damage Lawyer Today
Dealing with an insurance denial or an undervalued claim after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on your property can be devastating. That’s why property owners should seek out legal advice from skilled attorneys. We can help level the playing field and provide resources you may not have otherwise had.
Whatever your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.