Our Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Damage Lawyer Can Help You Resolve Your Claim
Living in the Fort Lauderdale area means living with the possibility of hurricanes. The high winds and heavy rain that come with hurricanes can wreak havoc on homes. This is why homeowners rely on their property insurance to provide them with a financial safety net when their homes suffer hurricane damage. When that fails, it’s time to consult a Fort Lauderdale hurricane damage lawyer.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often fail to provide the compensation that homeowners count on to recover from hurricane damage. Insurance coverage for hurricane damage is not always straightforward, and this allows carriers to exploit loopholes and avoid full payment.
A Fort Lauderdale hurricane damage lawyer can level the playing field between the homeowner and their insurance carrier. At the Maus Law Firm, our attorneys assist homeowners who may be emotionally desperate and fragile after a hurricane wrecks their home. You do not need to live with insurance company tactics to avoid payment on your claim. Instead, you can let our top-notch hurricane damage attorneys go to work for you.
What Type of Hurricane Damage is Covered by Insurance?
Florida homeowner insurance policies should generally cover the following types of property damage typically caused by hurricanes:
▪ Roof damage
▪ Water and moisture damage (including mold)
▪ Broken windows
▪ Damage from flying debris
▪ Damaged interior and flooring
However, it must be noted that coverage will differ from policy to policy. In order to determine the exact extent of coverage, consult a Fort Lauderdale hurricane damage lawyer. If you do not understand the exact scope of your hurricane insurance coverage, the insurance company does. Accordingly, you need a legal professional on your side who understands the carrier’s obligations under the policy and Florida law.
How Do Insurance Companies Avoid Payment on Hurricane Damage Claims?
A homeowner should file a claim with their insurance company as quickly as possible after the storm. The insurer will then send an adjuster to the damaged home to assess the damages. At this point, it is likely the carrier will make a “lowball” settlement offer that severely undervalues the amount of damage. It is also possible the carrier will deny the claim outright.
Although there are numerous reasons for an insurance company to deny a hurricane damage claim or offer a low amount in settlement, the following are some of the more common reasons:
▪ High-risk Location: If your home is located in a so-called “high-risk” location such as along the coast, the insurance company may contend the homeowner assumed the risk of hurricane damage and thus deny coverage.
▪ Post-hurricane Water Damage: The carrier may contend the water damage to your home occurred after the hurricane and is not covered by homeowners insurance. Such post-hurricane water damage would typically be considered flood damage that is only covered by a separate flood policy, assuming the homeowner has this policy.
▪ Pre-existing Damage: The insurance company may claim that the damage existed prior to the storm. This argument is common with mold damage.
▪ Storm Surge or Wave Damage: Carriers often deny claims for this type of damage for homes on the beach, especially if there is some question as to whether the hurricane caused the storm surge or high waves.
▪ Multiple Causes of Hurricane Damage: Hurricane damage can have multiple causes, such as high wind and heavy rain. Many Florida homeowners policies contain anti-concurrent causation clauses (ACC clauses) that allow the carrier to deny coverage where more than one peril caused the damage. The reason for this is because one of the causes is a peril that is excluded from coverage under the policy.
▪ Home Not Code-Compliant: Insurance carriers may also deny hurricane damage claims for homes that are not up to building codes. These grounds for denial are common for older homes.
How Can a Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Damage Attorney Help?
As a homeowner, you have recourse against these tactics. With the help of legal counsel, you can reject lowball offers and appeal denials. And a Fort Lauderdale hurricane damage attorney can ultimately help you obtain the compensation you need.
An attorney can assist with a hurricane damage insurance claim in the following ways:
▪ Taking Control of the Claims Process: Your attorney can assume control of the claims process and communicate with the carrier on your behalf. This helps to ensure that both the homeowner and the carrier meet all policy deadlines. It also helps the attorney to hold the carrier’s feet to the fire and keep the claim process moving forward.
▪ Proving Causation of Damage: Your attorney can also collect evidence to prove the damage was caused by the hurricane. This is important when the carrier contends water damage was suffered after the hurricane or that an ACC clause allows the carrier to deny coverage for multiple causes.
▪ Favorable Scope of Loss: A document known as a Scope of Loss will set forth estimates for rebuilding or replacing the home or any parts of the home. Your hurricane damage attorney can work with a contractor to prepare a Scope of Loss. This can be helpful in obtaining a favorable insurance settlement.
▪ Legal Action: If the insurance company unfairly delays or denies your claim, your attorney can file a lawsuit against them for breach of contract or bad faith. Your insurer has legal duties to handle claims promptly and reasonably, and they can be taken to court for not fulfilling those duties. Furthermore, in a bad faith action, there is the potential for obtaining punitive damages from the carrier. Simply the threat of such legal action can often force the carrier to deal fairly with the policyholder.
Let a Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Damage Lawyer at the Maus Law Firm Help
If you are seeking insurance compensation for hurricane damage to your home, contact the Maus Law Firm to speak with a Fort Lauderdale hurricane damage lawyer. Allow us to assist you in obtaining your rightful insurance compensation for your hurricane-damaged residence. Contact the Maus Law Firm online today or call 855-999-5297 to schedule a consultation.