While the Fort Lauderdale area is an extremely inviting place to live and visit, there are some perils for homeowners. Property damage due to hurricanes and other stormy weather are a persistent threat to southern Florida homes. Add on other common risks, such as fire, and it becomes clear that Florida homeowners will often need to rely on homeowners insurance to repair their homes.
Unfortunately, homeowners insurance companies will often rely on exclusions in the insurance policy to avoid coverage for property damage. This is where a Fort Lauderdale homeowners insurance lawyer can be essential.
While it is legal for insurance companies to exclude certain perils from coverage, these areas are often open to interpretation and dispute. Your attorney can fight on your behalf to seek an interpretation favorable to you, the policyholder.
Common Property Damage Exclusions in Florida
In an insurance policy, the exclusions are the specific risks listed in the policy for which no coverage is available. A common example is intentional property damage, i.e., damage caused by the homeowner’s intentional acts. While this exclusion is understandable, the following are some other common property damage exclusions, some of which may be more open to interpretation.
- Pre-Existing Damages: The insurance company may contend that the damage is excluded because it existed before the damaging event. An example would be claiming mold or water damage after a storm, where the insurance company contends the mold or other damage was pre-existing.
- Long-term Water Leaks: Many policies exclude coverage for damage caused by water leaks that have been ongoing for a certain amount of time, often 14 days. This is yet another method of denying claims for water damage.
- Flood Damage: Most Florida homeowners policies do not cover flood damage. This means a separate flood insurance policy is required. However, there may be a conflict over whether or not the damage is actually flood damage. After a hurricane, the homeowner may claim the damage was caused by wind and rain, while the insurance company may claim it was actually caused by flooding.
- Concurrent Causes: There are many cases where multiple perils caused the claimed damage. In Florida, the common example is hurricane damage which could result from heavy wind, rain, flooding, storm surge, or high waves. Unfortunately, many Florida homeowners policies attempt to limit coverage for these concurrent causes through anti-concurrent causation clauses (ACC clauses).
For these types of exclusions, it is extremely unwise to rely on the insurance company representative as to what damage is covered. A Fort Lauderdale homeowners insurance attorney can push back on the insurance company’s arguments, attempt to negotiate settlement, and take legal action against the insurance company if necessary.
A Fort Lauderdale Homeowners Insurance Lawyer at Maus Law Can Help
When your insurance company is giving you the runaround or unfairly denying your property damage claim, the Maus Law Firm can help. If you would like to schedule an attorney consultation, free of charge, contact us right away.