Fort Lauderdale Property Damage Lawyer for Your Home, Condo & Business
A home or office building is the most important purchase most of us will make during our lifetime. Most of us buy insurance coverage – windstorm, liability, flood, homeowners, and business interruption – to protect our homes and businesses. Yet, today’s insurance policies are lengthy, complex contracts full of exceptions, exclusions, deductibles, and conditions that make the policy difficult to read, and sometimes even more difficult to recover from for your damage. When you call the Maus Law Firm, a top Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyer will handle property damage claims.
Disagreeing with Your Insurance Claim for Property Damage
You have four options if you disagree with the amount the insurance company is offering you for your damage:
Most insurance companies create entire TV marketing campaigns designed to say that you’re part of the insurance company’s “family”. However, the reality of the insurance business is that insurance companies exist to make money. That means that insurance company needs to minimize the amount of claims it pays out; meanwhile, maximizing the premiums that it collects.
When an insurance company doesn’t offer to pay you the full (or fair) amount of your property damage, you need to be prepared to fight. While many homeowners are hesitant to go to court – fearful of a lengthy or expensive legal battle against a big-name insurer – settling for less than your claim was worth can end up costing you more in the long-term. The repairs your home needed can continue to pile up, lowering the value of your property. Hiring the best Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyer you can find will save you the headache later.
The Process for Property Damage Claims & Florida Property Owner’s Obligations
When making insurance claims for property damage, it is helpful to know how the process typically unfolds. Our Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyer knows that while there are many potential scenarios, the property owner should first understand their own obligations under the insurance policy. Second, the property owner should understand the reasons for the insurance company’s denial of their claim.
Any property insurance policy will place some obligations on the property owner when they make a claim for property loss. These obligations will differ from policy to policy, but the following are several of the most common requirements.
- Notice of Loss: The property owner is generally required to provide notice of the loss to the carrier promptly. The policy should provide a specific deadline. Failure to meet this deadline could result in the claim being barred.
- Protect Against Further Damage: The property owner is also required to take reasonable steps to protect the property from further damage. For example, if the roof of a property is damaged by a hurricane, the property owner must attempt to place temporary covering to protect the interior. However, the exact conduct that is considered “reasonable steps” will often be subject to interpretation.
- Proof of Loss: After making a claim, the property owner will need to submit a proof of loss statement. This statement is generally signed under penalty of perjury and itemizes the damages. A typical deadline for the proof of loss is 60 days after a request by the insurance carrier.
How a Fort Lauderdale Property Damage Lawyer Can Help You with Your Homeowner’s Insurance Claim
Unfortunately, even if you have paid your homeowners’ insurance premiums on time for decades, this does not guarantee that your insurance company will treat you fairly if you need to file a claim. Bad-faith insurance claim denials are common, and homeowners can run into various other issues with their property damage claims as well. As a result, if you need to file a homeowners’ insurance claim, it is a good idea to hire an attorney. Here are just a few examples of the ways an experienced Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyer like Joseph Maus can help:
1. Determining If Your Claim is Covered
Before you devote the time, energy and resources to pursuing a property damage claim, you first need to determine if your claim is covered. An experienced Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyer will be able to review your homeowners’ insurance policy and assess the damage to your home in order to determine if your insurance company is liable.
2. Dealing with Your Insurance Company On Your Behalf
If you have a claim, your attorney will be able to deal with your insurance company on your behalf until your claim has been fully and finally resolved. This important for a few different reasons: (i) Florida’s insurance laws are complicated, and asserting your legal rights can be difficult; (ii) in some cases, there will be a legitimate dispute as to whether a homeowners’ insurance policy applies; and, (iii) successfully pursuing a homeowners’ insurance claim for significant property damage takes time, and you will need someone to handle your claim while you focus on work and your day-to-day life.
3. Overcoming Bad-Faith Coverage Delays and Denials
As we mentioned above, insurance companies routinely deny policyholders’ property damage claims in bad faith. If your insurance company is not handling your claim appropriately, you may need your attorney to take legal action on your behalf. If you have a claim for insurance bad faith, then you can seek compensation above and beyond the amount of coverage to which you are entitled under your policy.
Common Property Damage Claims in Fort Lauderdale
When can you file a property damage claim? As a homeowner, it is important to know when you are entitled to insurance coverage and when you may need to come out of pocket to cover repairs to your home. With this in mind, here are some examples of common property damage claims in Fort Lauderdale:
- Storm Damage Claims – While homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage caused by hurricanes and tropical storms, they do cover other types of storm damage.
- Tree Damage Claims – If a tree in your yard fell on your home, your homeowners’ insurance policy should provide coverage.
- Water Damage Claims – Water damage caused by leaking pipes, HVAC system failures and other similar types of issues should be covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy.
- Fire Damage Claims – Fires from lightning strikes and other causes are generally covered as well, and your policy should cover your home as well as its contents.
- Mold Claims – Mold claims are often disputed; but, if your house has mold from a “covered peril,” then the costs of remediation should be covered.
- Theft Claims – If your home has been burglarized, your homeowners’ insurance policy may provide coverage for any damage that occurred during the break-in in addition to the value of your stolen property.
Trust a Top Fort Lauderdale Property Damage Lawyer with Your Claim
In addition to these questions, there are several different types of policies offered by homeowner insurance companies that contain various types of coverage. There is a policy used for owner occupied properties, one for properties that are rented out, and yet another type policy used for condo units. Where do you turn to get help?
When an insurance company denies a property damage claim or delays payment, there are numerous ways in which a Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyer can help. Your lawyer can review the facts of your claim, review and analyze your policy and navigate the claims process on your behalf. In addition, your Fort Lauderdale property damage attorney can pursue litigation against the carrier if needed. In fact, the carrier may be more likely to pay your claim or provide a reasonable settlement when it knows you have a well-qualified property damage attorney on your side.
The Maus Law Firm has been successfully handling insurance related claims since 1993. The Firm is “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest ranking for legal ability and ethics. The Maus Law Firm has been recognized continuously since 2011 by Florida Trend Magazine’s “Legal Elite” ranking, and named a “SuperLawyer” by West Thompson Publishing. The property damage attorneys at The Maus Law Firm will competently and aggressively represent you in your homeowner property damage insurance claim, or commercial business insurance claim. Call 1-855-999-5297 now for a free consultation. We come to you and also do a free inspection!