Florida is known for its pristine beaches and sparkling ocean views – but the state is also known for its hurricane season. When hurricanes cause property damage, Florida home and business owners typically turn to their insurers for the coverage they need to rebuild and continue their lives and livelihoods.
Although most Florida property owners know the importance of insuring homes and businesses, not all realize that standard homeowners’ insurance may not cover flood or hurricane damage. Even a flood insurance policy has its limitations, and some losses may not be covered. At Farah & Farah, our hurricane dispute lawyers can help you pursue your property damage claim and secure the compensation you and your family deserve. Fill out an nline contact form or call us at 855-797-9899 for a free and confidential consultation.
Understanding the National Flood Insurance Program
Many Floridians work with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for flood insurance, including flooding caused by hurricanes. An NFIP policy may be required if the property is in a high-risk flood zone and is mortgaged through a federally-regulated or federally-insured lender. Properties in moderate- or low-risk flood zones may not require flood insurance, but many Florida residents in these areas obtain such insurance in case of a hurricane. In addition to flood insurance through the NFIP, some private insurers also provide flood insurance.
Flood insurance typically covers the following types of property:
- Contents. Flood insurance typically pays the actual cash value of the contents of a house or business flooded by a hurricane or other event. “Actual cash value” is generally understood to be the cost to replace damaged or lost property, based on its actual value at the time it was lost. It takes into consideration the age, depreciation, and other qualities of the contents. As a result, “actual cash value” can easily be subject to interpretation.
- Property. For most homes covered by NFIP insurance that are damaged by hurricanes, the policy will cover 80 to 100 percent of the full replacement cost of the building – in other words, the cost to rebuild new, without subtracting depreciation. However, the insurance may cover only one primary building on the site. Homes with outbuildings like barns, pool houses, or other structures may have coverage for the house only.
What Flood Insurance Doesn’t Cover
Flood insurance may not cover all losses in the event of a hurricane. Some common types of losses are not included in a standard NFIP policy or in many policies sold by private insurers. Purchasers of flood insurance should review their policies carefully to make sure they have coverage for the following losses, if that coverage is desired.
Coverage that your flood insurance policy may not offer after a hurricane includes:
- Water that comes from inside the building, such as from a burst pipe or an overflowing toilet,
- Water that comes from a swimming pool, hot tub, or landscaping malfunction on the property,
- A “flood” that covers fewer than two acres or doesn’t affect any property except yours,
- Living expenses related to the damage to your home, such as the cost of renting a hotel room until the house is fixed,
- Financial losses caused by a hurricane that disrupts business you do out of your home,
- The value of currency and important papers, like stocks or bond certificates,
- Improvements and contents in most below-ground areas, like basements.
Hurricane Insurance Disputes
Insurance policies that cover flood and hurricane damage are complex, and many families may have multiple policies that address hurricane damage. As a result, disputes over what insurance should cover and in what amounts are all too frequent – and, when a family is struggling to get back to daily life after a hurricane, are all too frustrating. An experienced Florida hurricane insurance dispute attorney can help you get back on your feet and get the coverage you deserve.