Hurricane Damage Attorneys
Hurricanes and other major storms can strike with little warning in Florida and Georgia, causing devastation to your home and life. Once you have secured you and your family’s safety after a hurricane, one of the next steps is filing a claim for damages with your insurance company.
Getting an insurer to pay a claim is not always easy. The process can be slow and tedious, and insurance companies will look for any possible angle to deny your hurricane claim or storm damage insurance claim. However, having a hurricane and storm damage attorney from Farah & Farah on your side can ensure that the insurance company does not manipulate or take advantage of your situation. Nobody should have to take on these huge companies alone. If you are having difficulty with your insurance company after a natural disaster, call us at anytime 866-750-1393 or request your free case review online.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Storm Damage?
While homeowners insurance may cover some types of storm damage, it will ultimately depend on the specific details of your policy and where you live. That’s why it is important to familiarize yourself with your policy and the insurance rules of your state. Otherwise, insurance companies may try to take advantage of any confusion. In Florida, for example, homeowners insurance will generally cover wind damage to your roof or siding, but flood insurance must be purchased separately.
If you’re in a coastal Atlantic state like Florida and Georgia, most insurers also require a separate deductible for hurricanes or tropical storms that are given a name by the National Weather Service. In Florida, this deductible is a set percentage of your entire policy that must be paid before your insurance company will chip in.
Filing an Insurance Claim After a Hurricane or Major Storm
You may not be familiar with how to file an insurance claim after a hurricane or major storm, especially if you haven’t gone through the process before. And insurance companies don’t make it easy. Typically, each has their own rules and processes for submitting a hurricane claim.
With that in mind, it’s important to act quickly and diligently in order to secure the best chance of recovering fair compensation. Taking the right steps in the immediate aftermath of a storm can make a world of difference for your claim. To that end, a successful claim often means playing offense. That’s why we generally recommend that people in this situation contact us before their claim is even filed. After all, ensuring that a claim is filed correctly the first time is easier than appealing a denial. By taking charge of your claim, you can make sure the insurance company operates in good faith.
Here’s a few additional actions you should take after a hurricane or major storm damages your home:
- Document the storm damage: Once it’s safe to do so, you should take photos and videos of all the damage. Make sure you cover all four sides of your house as well as the roof, starting with wider angles before documenting individual items. It’s also a good idea to record the “before” state of your home, assuming it’s possible and safe to do so before the storm hits.
- Prevent additional damage: Most insurance policies require homeowners to make a reasonable effort to stem further damage with temporary repairs once the storm is over and it’s safe to go outside. If windows are blown out, for example, you should try to cover the exposed points with a tarp or plastic sheeting in order to avoid further water damage.
- Contact your insurance provider ASAP: After a major storm, insurance companies may be flooded with claims, and they will typically handle those on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contact your personal agent as soon as you’re able, and if they’re not available, then contact the insurance company’s general support line. You should give them a status update about the steps you’ve taken so far, press them to schedule an inspection ASAP, and see what else you can do to keep your claim moving forward.
How Long After a Hurricane Can You File a Claim?
In Florida and Georgia, there are various deadlines to file a claim with your insurance company and to appeal any adverse decisions related to your claim. There are also statutes of limitations that regulate the time allotted to file a lawsuit for breach of contract, if you believe your insurance company has acted improperly during the claims process.
However, the specific timeframes for each of these actions will vary based on your specific policy language, the state you live in, and the details of how your house was damaged during a storm. To fully understand how much time you have to take action, it’s best to talk to a qualified storm and hurricane insurance lawyer.
What if You Experience a Hurricane Claim Denial?
Insurance companies are businesses, and they have a natural incentive to limit the amount of payouts they must issue after a major storm or hurricane. There may be thousands of people submitting claims in the aftermath of a major weather event, so insurers will examine every aspect of your claim to look for opportunities to deny a claim or provide a lowball offer. Some tactics we’ve seen in the past include:
- Misrepresenting how storm damage occurred in order to classify it under a more advantageous (to them) coverage category
- Denying your coverage even exists in the first place
- Intentionally undervaluing estimates and subsequent payouts
- Delaying any part of the claims process in an unreasonable manner
- Urging you to settle your claim without involving a storm damage lawyer
One of your best weapons against these tactics is education: It’s very important to fully read your policy, understand what is covered, and identify areas where you may need additional coverage. Another powerful weapon is leveraging the expertise of a hurricane lawyer. We recommend you contact us before submitting a claim to make sure everything is in order. Otherwise, you may find it more difficult to battle a hurricane claim denial.
But even if you are not able to enlist the aid of a lawyer before submitting your claim, if you experience any unreasonable problems during the process, your next move should be to reach out for a free, no-obligation case review.
Business Claims After a Hurricane
Just like residential properties, businesses also experience devastating damage from hurricanes and other major storms. Not only do businesses face the difficulties of dealing with physical damage claims, but they also have to consider the loss of income resulting from the storm. These claims are complex and require extensive experience navigating the hurricane insurance claims process.
Collecting payment for a business’s lost income can be extremely difficult. A review of profit and losses for current and prior years may need to be conducted by a forensic accountant. This review takes time. Other factors also add to calculating loss such as if it is a low or busy season for the business or can the business make up the lost income. In addition to calculating the loss, your policy can include a number of exclusions and endorsements changing your coverage beyond the main policy. If a business did not experience damage directly from the storm but another component, such as flooding from the storm, getting the loss of income paid can require a difficult reading of your coverage.
Farah & Farah can evaluate these calculations accurately and hold the insurers accountable that they provide a fair offer. If your business has been damaged because of physical damage, power outages, or loss of business, we want to help you navigate your insurance coverage.
Our Hurricane Insurance Lawyers in FL & GA Are Ready to Serve Your Case
Losing your home and your possessions during a hurricane is devastating, and the steps you take after such a tragedy significantly impact how you will rebuild your life. Insurance companies are a necessary factor in recovering after a major storm, but they may not always operate with your best interests in mind.
You & Your Family Since 1979