Hurricane Damages and Insurance Coverage
During the months of June through November, we are immersed in a media blitz about storms and damages. The State of Florida, which is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, has a coastline of 8,436 miles, all of which are at high risk during a hurricane. Even those that don’t live on the coastline suffer heavy wind and water damages. The report of a tropical storm or a hurricane brewing brings heightened anxiety levels and there can be immeasurable emotional wreckage following the storm. The history of hurricanes, such as hurricane Irma, hurricane Michael and the recent hurricane Dorian, caused devastating damages, for which there is major economic loss that may never be recovered.
The standard preparation for responsible homeowners and business owners, when a storm is approaching, is to do their best to secure loose items and trim or remove weak tree branches, especially around electric lines. Creating a home inventory and reviewing your insurance coverage is imperative, if you need to claim damages. Taking photos of your property prior to the storm, will adequately document the condition of your possessions. When torrential rain, high tides or wind causes significant damages to your property, the results can be devastating. Property owners are left to deal with roof and shingle damages, broken windows, flooding, moisture damages, destroyed porches, fallen trees and destruction of boats and other property. Homes can be completely destroyed and become inhabitable.
Insurance policies give us a false sense of security but insurance companies have an incentive to pay out as little as possible. Your insurance policy is a contract between the insurer and the policyholder, in exchange for premiums. This document determines the claims which the insurer is legally required to pay. Following an event, an insurance adjuster will write a report of his subjective assessment of the damages. This can result in a low estimate or a denial of the claim in total. Some reasons that an insurance company will deny a claim or they may not pay for the damages in their entirety can be; policy exclusions, a missed payment can lapse your policy, coverage limit is reached but it’s not enough to cover damages, no documentation of damages, flood insurance needs to be a separate policy and/or pre-existing damage,
In addition to legitimate disputes between property owners and insurance companies, there are also a large number of questionable claims that need to be investigated and oftentimes, litigated in a civil court of law. While trying to deal with the trauma of your losses, insurance companies and property owners need to be aware of unscrupulous contractors that exploit customers during the confusion of a disaster. Be wary of Assignment of Benefits fraud, which happens when you sign a deal that gives your contractor the right to bill your insurance company directly.
The Boutty law firm will look out for your best interest and advocate on your behalf in a breach of contract dispute. You may be the property owner that feels your insurance company is unlawfully refusing to pay or you may be the insurance company that is disputing what appears to be a fraudulent claim. Or perhaps it is necessary to file for civil litigation regarding an untrustworthy contractor. To learn more about how we can help you during this stressful time, schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your case.