Structural property damage such as damage to flooring, walls, and ceilings are often covered under standard property insurance policies, depending on the cause of the damage and other factors related to your specific policy.
Common types of floor damage include:
- broken tiling
- water damage
- wood rot
After sustaining floor damage from a natural disaster or accident, property owners with floor damage coverage may be able to submit a claim with their insurer to seek compensation for repair and replacement costs.
Unfortunately, not every insurance company operates their business in good faith, and some insurance adjusters may attempt to unfairly deny or undervalue legitimate claims. This is an unlawful practice, and may be disputed by the policyholder and their lawyer to pursue fair compensation.
At Florin|Roebig, our insurance recovery lawyers have extensive experience handling insurance claim disputes. If you’ve experienced issues receiving a fair claim from your insurer for floor damage coverage, one of our lawyers can investigate your claim and help you secure the compensation you’re owed.
Causes Of Floor Damage
Natural disasters and other unforeseeable accidents may often cause structural damage to properties, including damage to flooring.
Common causes of floor damage include:
- flash floods
- leaky roofing
- burst pipes
- broken appliances
- falling objects
- toilet clogs
- mold or mildew contamination
- shifting foundation
- damaged electrical wiring
Damaged flooring can be dangerous to those who frequent the property. If you’ve suffered floor damage in your home, this may mean potential risks for you, your family, and any pets.
For business owners, this can put you, your customers, and your employees at risk for harm—which may open you up to liability for any accidents that occur on your property as a result.
Understanding Floor Damage Coverage
Structural property, such as floor damage, is generally included in homeowners and business insurance policies as a covered loss. However, there may be some exceptions.
Floor damage caused by flooding, for instance, may not be eligible for coverage if your insurance policy does not explicitly include property damage caused by flooding.
Coverage for damage caused by floods and other natural disasters such as hurricanes commonly require either the purchase of a separate policy or meeting higher deductibles before insured parties are able to seek coverage.
The inclusion of flood insurance in property insurance policies may vary according to the insurance carrier you’re insured with and the terms and conditions specified within your policy.
Water Damage Vs. Flood Damage
Damage caused by flooding is not the same as water damage. Unlike flooding, water damage refers to damage that has been caused by water that did not originate outdoors.
Examples of this might include burst water pipes, leaky roofing, faulty sump pump, or other plumbing issues that have leaked water onto your flooring, resulting in cracks, broken tiles, stains, or other types of damage.
Exceptions to water damage coverage may include:
- damage caused by unresolved maintenance issues (e.g. continuous leaking from a faucet)
- damage caused by sewer or drain backup
- repair and replacement costs for the source of the water damage
Flood damage, on the other hand, refers to damage specifically caused by flooding. Flooding is common during natural disasters such as hurricanes and typhoons.
Depending on where you live, this type of occurrence may be more common and therefore more likely to cause damage to your property.
If you live in a state known to experience frequent or annual flooding, such as Florida, you may need to purchase flood insurance separately to insure your property for flooding-related floor damage.
Mold And Mildew Coverage
Mold and mildew are common byproducts of water damage that can be potentially hazardous depending on the type and severity of the contamination.
Mold and mildew damage are generally covered under homeowners and business property insurance, as long as the property owner can prove that the mold or mildew caused direct physical loss or damage.
Property insurance policies may include coverage limits for this and other types of floor damage causes. Before submitting a claim for floor damage coverage, it’s important to review your insurance policy and confirm that your policy covers the type of losses for which you’re seeking compensation.
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What To Do If You’ve Experienced Floor Damage
If you’ve experienced damage to your tiling, laminated floor, wooden flooring, or basement floor, here’s what you can do to begin the process of filing a claim for coverage:
1. Prevent Further Damage
Before contacting your insurance company, your first step should be to prevent any additional damage to your flooring by addressing the original source of the damage. Failing to prevent subsequent damage after discovering the issue may give your insurer cause to deny or minimize your claim payment.
2. Document The Damage
After addressing the source of the damage, begin closely documenting your total losses. Insurance companies require that policyholders submit verifiable proof of property damage before paying out claims for coverage. Failing to do so could result in an allegation of fraud and denied coverage.
For your best chance at receiving a prompt claim payment, take photos and/or video of your damaged flooring and any other structural damage. If possible, try to find photos of your flooring before the damage occurred as well to submit to your insurer.
In addition, make sure to document all relevant details regarding the floor damage, including the presumed cause of the damage, when it occurred, and the estimated value of your losses. This can be acquired through hiring an independent property appraiser to assess your structural damage.
3. File Your Insurance Claim
Once you’ve prevented further damage to your flooring and collected evidence of the initial damage, you’ll next need to file a claim with your insurance company to report the floor damage.
You may need to pay for immediate repairs to your flooring upfront before being able to receive reimbursement from your insurance company.
Do not claim fault for your floor damage before speaking to an insurance claims lawyer. Any admission of fault could be used to deny or reduce your claim payment, even if your damage is still eligible for coverage.
A lawyer can help you craft a statement to give to your insurer to report your damage. A lawyer can also provide you with guidance on how to answer any questions the insurance agent may have honestly without falsely implicating yourself for the floor damage.
What Are The Legal Obligations Of Insurance Companies?
Insurance companies are regulated under both common and statutory law in the United States. Laws regulating insurance companies are generally established and enforced by state authorities.
One of the most common insurance laws adopted in most states is the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act (UCSPA), which provides guidance on how to regulate insurance company practices and protect policyholders from bad faith insurance tactics.
Some states, such as California, have established additional consumer protection measures or modeled insurance laws based on the UCSPA to prevent insurance companies from wrongfully denying or mishandling claims.
Bad faith insurance tactics are actions undertaken by some insurance companies to unfairly deny or underpay policyholders for compensation they’re entitled to under their policies. Engaging in these practices, and wrongfully denying policyholders coverage, may be punishable by law.
Legal obligations of insurance companies include:
- reviewing and paying claims within a specified timeframe (14-90 days, depending on the state)
- investigating claims that are disputed by a policyholder
- providing fair compensation for submitted claims
- providing a reasonable explanation for a claim that has been denied
Common Issues Faced By Policyholders Seeking Floor Damage Coverage
When you purchase an insurance policy with an insurance carrier, you are entering a contractual agreement with them to pay required premiums, copays, and meet specified deductibles in exchange for the coverage detailed within your policy.
As a policyholder, it’s reasonable for you to expect your insurer to uphold their end of the bargain by promptly paying out a legitimate floor damage claim or otherwise providing a reasonable explanation for why they’ve denied coverage.
While there are several reasons why an insurance company might lawfully deny a claim—such as missing payments or filing for uncovered losses—not every insurance company makes claims decisions in good faith.
Common issues faced by policyholders who have submitted a floor damage claim include:
- wrongful denial of a claim
- receiving an undervalued claim offer (“lowballed” claim)
- delayed payment
- refusal by the insurer to investigate a claim
- receiving false or misleading information about policy coverage
- false allegation of fraud
- trying to settle claims for less than they’re worth
- failing to provide a reasonable explanation for a denied claim
If your insurance carrier is being uncooperative or refusing to investigate your disputed claim, you may have the grounds to take legal action against them for bad faith insurance practices.
Consulting an experienced insurance recovery lawyer can provide you with a clearer picture of your legal options and your entitlement to coverage.
Top-Rated Floor Damage Insurance Claims Lawyers
At Florin|Roebig, our insurance recovery lawyers have experience helping individuals throughout all stages of the insurance claims process.
Our lawyers can help you strengthen your claim, dispute a bad faith claim, or take legal action against your insurer for failing to uphold their legal obligations to you as a policyholder.
The process of determining coverage after suffering property damage, and filing a claim with an insurer, can be confusing and complex. Our lawyers can help by explaining your rights to coverage and by working to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to under your policy.
Benefits of hiring one of our insurance recovery lawyers includes:
- receiving a free initial case evaluation to discuss the details of your case
- having a lawyer who can investigate your claim for evidence of bad faith
- access to our professional connections and legal resources
- having someone to schedule an unbiased damage assessment independent of your insurance company
- legal representation to defend your rights
- receiving an estimated settlement value
- reaching a fair settlement as quickly as possible
Our floor damage insurance claims lawyers don’t want you to have to wait any longer than necessary to begin your financial recovery from structural property damage.
Through an initial evaluation of your case, our lawyers can provide you with an overview of your legal options and explain how we can be of assistance as you seek to secure the compensation you’re owed for your property damage.
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Contact Us For A Free Case Evaluation
If you’re a property owner who’s having difficulty receiving a fair claim from your insurance company for floor damage, our lawyers may be able to help.
Contact the offices of Florin|Roebig today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our top-rated lawyers and get started on strengthening or disputing your floor damage insurance claim.