Hurricanes are some of the most costly and damaging natural disasters that are an expected, annual occurrence for several states across the U.S. When a strong hurricane hits, it’s important for property owners to feel confident that their insurer will be able to receive and quickly process their claims for coverage.
Property insurance companies are ideally meant to operate with good faith, with the best interests of their policyholders in mind. Unfortunately, as many insured parties are aware, getting an adequate payout from an insurance company can be very difficult—particularly when the accrued losses from a hurricane are significant.
If you’re a property owner with hurricane insurance coverage who’s having difficulty securing a fair cash payout from your insurance company, the hurricane insurance claims lawyers of Florin|Roebig can help. An experienced lawyer can assess your situation to determine your eligibility for legal action and help you resolve your dispute with your insurer to secure coverage for damages.
What To Do If Your Home Or Property Experienced Hurricane Damage
If your property has sustained moderate to severe damage in the wake of a hurricane, the number one priority is to ensure the safety of yourself and any other residents. If the damage has occurred on commercial or business property, this extends to customers and all other visitors.
Most individuals who live in areas that commonly see hurricanes have adopted certain safety measures over the years to help prevent more serious damage and protect the structural integrity of their properties. However, not all damage is preventable or predictable.
To ensure that your hurricane insurance claim is attended to promptly, consider taking the following steps:
1. Prevent Further Damage
In the immediate aftermath of a hurricane, you want to prevent the accrual of any additional damage to avoid potential safety hazards and reduce the cost of repairs and replacement. One step you can take is to cover damaged property with tarp material. If further damage occurs in the aftermath of the storm, your insurer may use this as an excuse to deny or reduce your payout.
2. Document Your Property Damage
Taking photos of the damage across your property and taking notes of details regarding the damage is an essential step after a hurricane. Insurance companies will often try to downplay the amount of damage alleged in a claim, or challenge the severity of the damage you’ve listed.
Having photographic evidence can be an important way to prove to your insurer the extent of your losses and make it more difficult for them to deny or undervalue your claim.
3. File Your Claim Right Away
Dealing with property damage after a natural disaster can be stressful and you may find yourself overwhelmed with tasks. However, it’s important that you file a claim with your insurer as soon as possible.
Delaying the filing of your claim may read as suspicious to your insurer and draw out the process. Some policies also detail specific requirements for how long you have to file a claim, so it’s best to file promptly to avoid preventable challenges down the road.
Types Of Damage Caused By Hurricanes
Any individual who’s lived through a hurricane knows that not every hurricane is alike. The amount of damage caused and the overall economic toll of hurricanes can vary greatly. From one year to the next, hurricane season can range from mild storms and rain to devastating winds, flooding, and storm-related damage.
Generally, hurricanes are categorized by meteorologists according to their severity, with the mildest hurricanes identified as Category 1 and the most severe as Category 5.
In 2019, Hurricane Dorian caused over $3 billion in losses for the Bahamas alone as a Category 5 storm, hitting the states of North Carolina and Florida with milder effects as a Category 2. Hurricane Harvey, which primarily impacted Texas and Louisiana in 2017, resulted in over $125 billion in damage, becoming the second costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
The damage wrought by hurricanes can be catastrophic for individuals and their communities, resulting in devastating financial losses for property owners, towns, and city-wide infrastructure.
Types of damage commonly seen from hurricanes include:
- wind damage
- broken windows
- uprooted trees
- toppled trees
- fire damage
- damage from projectiles
- loss of power and water
- roof lifting
- destruction of shingles and siding
- power line damage
- exterior wall damage
- collapsed roofs
- water damage
- blocked roadways
- damage to building foundation
- damage to outdoor fixtures such as pools, landscaping, and sheds
- vehicle damage
- damage to garages and porches
The types and amount of damage to properties from a hurricane can vary widely depending on the property’s location, the strength of the property’s construction, and other environmental factors. This can impact residential homeowners as well as business owners, who may face significant challenges ahead in restoring their property.
What To Know About Hurricane Insurance
If you have homeowners insurance or other property insurance, there are certain considerations that are important to understand as hurricane season nears and you face the potential likelihood of storm-related damage.
Flooding: Not every property owner is aware that their property insurance typically does not include flood insurance. Flood insurance will often need to be purchased separately. This is a worthwhile and perhaps necessary investment if you live near a large body of water or live on land that’s susceptible to a storm surge.
Hurricane Insurance Policies Differ: Another important consideration when it comes to hurricane insurance is that not every coverage policy is the same. Individual policies can differ depending on the insurer from which you buy your insurance and both the amount and types of coverage specifically outlined within your plan.
Deductibles For Hurricane Damage: In certain states, some insurers have implemented stipulations in their property insurance policies that require higher deductibles for damage caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters.
If you’re a property owner who lives in a high-risk area, your insurer may require you purchase an additional policy for hurricane damage or pay a higher deductible for hurricane damage than you would generally expect to pay for other accident-related damage.
Damages Covered By Hurricane Insurance
Insurance policies that provide coverage for hurricane-related damage vary by state and may or may not require the purchase of additional coverage. Wind damage is typically covered in standard homeowner policies, but this may not cover resulting water damage from a hurricane. The same goes for flood damage related to a hurricane, which may require a separate policy.
The best way to learn what your property insurance policy covers is to read carefully through your plan, or pose questions to your insurer directly.
Wind damage coverage—which is typically included in homeowners policies—is likely to cover much of the damage caused by severe gusts, such as broken windows, structural damage, and damage caused by trees and other projectiles.
If you live in a high-risk state such as Florida, however, your insurer may require the purchase of a separate hurricane insurance policy or require higher deductibles for hurricane-related damage. In Florida, special deductibles for hurricane damage are set at a fixed percentage based on the total policy amount.
The different rules and requirements for hurricane-related coverage can be very confusing for the average person to understand—something that can unfortunately be used to an insurance company’s advantage.
How Insurance Companies May Attempt To Avoid Paying Policyholders
Property insurance companies have a financial stake in avoiding paying full payouts to policyholders, as this dips into the company’s own cash reserves. This can prompt adjusters and other insurance representatives to interpret the language used within their policies in ways that allow them to manipulate situations to their advantage.
That isn’t to say that every individual insurance agent is inherently greedy or operates on malicious intent. However, agents and adjusters are trained to find opportunities where it’s possible to reduce or deny the payouts given to policyholders. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in an unjust denial for policyholders who have legitimate claims for property damage.
Common tactics adjusters use to avoid providing full payouts to policyholders include:
- denying a claim because it’s fully or partially excluded under your policy
- undervaluing the economic impact of your losses and low-balling their presented offers
- challenging the severity of your losses
- denying that certain insurance coverage exists within your policy
- denying parts of your claim without a proper explanation
- telling policyholders they don’t need a lawyer to help resolve a claims dispute
- requiring a written release of any supplemental claim as a condition of payment or a settlement for your claim
Insurance policies commonly include complex legal and technical language that can easily be misinterpreted and potentially altered in meaning to benefit the insurer.
As experienced insurance claims lawyers, we can confirm that there is precedent for insurance adjusters to provide false or misleading information about an insurance policy in order to avoid providing policyholders with the amount of coverage their losses are worth.
If you find yourself in dispute with your insurance company and believe they may have acted in bad faith, contacting an insurance claims lawyer can be a helpful way to resolve the issue in a manner as painless and efficient as possible.
Benefits Of Hiring A Hurricane Insurance Claims Lawyer
Insurance disputes can be time-consuming and difficult to navigate alone. Consulting with a lawyer who is experienced in handling hurricane insurance claim issues can provide you with an efficient way to resolve the dispute and hold your insurance company accountable without wasting unnecessary time or energy.
At Florin|Roebig, our hurricane insurance lawyers are committed to fighting for the payouts our clients deserve, so you can get back to your life and focus on fixing your property damage—without having to deal with further financial stress.
What our top-rated insurance claims lawyers can do for you:
- assess the extent of your hurricane damage
- provide an overview of your legal options
- estimate how much your case is worth
- investigate your insurance claims process
- determine whether your insurer has used underhanded tactics to reduce or deny your claims payout
- communicate with your insurer on your behalf
- collaborate with you every step of the way to ensure you are confident in our legal services and the likelihood of your case’s success
- fight for a fair payout that fully covers the extent of your losses
Hurricane Insurance Claims Lawyers Serving The U.S.
Where you live in the United States may hold significant weight in the types of environmental and natural disasters you can expect to face.
Voted one of America’s top law firms, the law offices of Florin|Roebig operate out of several locations across the U.S. in the states of Florida, Texas, Colorado, and Minnesota.
Our lawyers have extensive experience interpreting the legal language layered within property insurance policies and fighting for claims payouts that are fair for individuals and business owners who have sustained property damage in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Our team of experienced hurricane insurance claims lawyers includes:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Kavon P. Smith
Find A Top-Rated Hurricane Insurance Claims Lawyer Near You
If you’re having issues with your insurance company after sustaining hurricane-related property damage, there’s no time to lose. Our lawyers can respond efficiently and will work diligently to hold your insurer accountable for a full and fair payout for your hurricane damage.
Don’t wait to find out how much your case may be worth. Contact Florin|Roebig today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers to determine your eligibility for taking legal action against your insurer.