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Homeowner's Insurance Q&A
If you’re in the process of fighting your insurance company for a property damage claim in Florida, you’re not alone. Insurance companies create plenty of obstacles for you to face while you pursue your claim. Read our FAQ’s below and then contact the top Fort Lauderdale homeowner’s insurance lawyers at Maus Law Firm.

What is ensuing damage?

Most insurance policies contain numerous exclusions, exceptions and conditions which determine if, and when, an insurance company is required to pay a claim. Some of the more frequent exclusions used in homeowner insurance lawsuits are related to roof leaks, losses related to wear and tear, and deterioration, bad weather conditions, defective repairs, and poor maintenance to the property. However, damage which “ensues” from these conditions, i.e. damage which is caused by the condition, can be covered.

An easy example is a roof leak. If you roof is old and has leaks, your property insurance policy will most likely deny the repair or replacement of the roof. But, if the interior of your roof becomes damaged because of the roof leak, than your insurance policy may cover that damage. Many times, the first sign of a roof leak is when you see bubbling of paint or drywall inside the house, or dark stains on the ceiling. That is what is referred to as “ensuing damage”. Ensuing damage can occur with roof leaks, plumbing leaks that ruin kitchen cabinets, loosen or stain tile and carpet, and with plumbing backups that can damage bathroom vanities and nearby bedrooms.

Does my property insurance need to pay for my hotel stays?

ALE’s are an abbreviation for Alternative Living Expenses. ALE’s are paid to you when you are required to stay somewhere other than your house or condominium while repairs are being made. If the water damage or property damage to your house or condo requires you to stay at a hotel, or move out of the house or condo while repairs are being performed, you are entitled to reimbursement from the insurance company. You are also entitled to recover expenses related to staying in a hotel such as meals and laundry charges.

Is it possible to re-open a Florida insurance claim?

In most instances the answer is yes. Many insurance companies will send a check for repairs without having the insured sign a release. The reason for this is similar to car accident property damage – you don’t really know the extent of damage to your car or house until you start to take it apart to repair it.

The statute of limitations in Florida for a breach of contract claim is five years. This means that you can bring a claim for property damage to your home or business under your insurance policy as long as the lawsuit has been filed within five years from the date of loss. Most insurance policies require notice of the loss “promptly”, or within a certain period of time. But the notice requirement is triggered only when you become aware of the damage, or the full extent of the damage.

In the section about mediation and appraisal above, we recommend hiring the best property damage attorney before going to either mediation or appraisal. The reason for this is if you attend either of take part in either of those procedures, and agree to resolve your claim, you will most likely be asked to sign a release of your claim, giving up any right to reopen your claim in the future if you find additional damage.

Another reason to retain the best homeowner insurance attorney you can find is to make sure that your entire claim is considered by the insurance company. The difficulty is that it may take several months before the full extent of damage to your house or business is determined. When walls get wet, you can guess that mold will start to form, but you won’t know for sure until you open the wall, or until it shows through the paint or wallpaper on the wall.

What happens if my insurance claim is denied?

If you insurance claim is denied, you should hire the best homeowner lawsuit and property damage lawyer in your area. Lawsuits for homeowner damage have become increasingly complex, and usually require the hiring of expert witnesses to fully evaluate your damage. The only way to effectively contest a homeowner property damage denial is to retain a lawyer to evaluate the coverage you have, why the claim was denied, and determine whether the denial was correct. If a dispute exists over the denial, you will need to file a property damage lawsuit to recover money for the damage to your house or business.

Who pays attorney fees if you file a lawsuit to recover property damage money?

We handle all insurance claims on a contingent basis. This means that if there is no recovery, you do not own any attorney’s fee or costs. However, if we are successful in recovering money for you, Florida law states that the insurance company is required to pay your attorney’s fees. This statute is in place in order to allow Florida residents to afford the use of a good home water leak damage lawyer without having to pay an hourly rate as you go along. Insurance companies have hundreds of attorneys to use; you should also be able to get the best insurance denial lawyer to fight for your rights.

What is a normal property damage deductible?

Deductibles come in all shapes and sizes, and you may be astounded at how large your hurricane insurance deductible is in Florida. A deductible is basically the amount for which you self-insure yourself. Deductibles are also found in car insurance and health insurance.

Most homeowner insurance policies in Florida carry a small deductible – usually anywhere from $1,000 up to $5,000. If you make a homeowner insurance claim or file a property insurance lawsuit, when you recover money from the insurance company, it will be paid to you minus the deductible. For instance, if you recover $50,000 from the insurance company but have a $2,500 deductible, you would be entitled to $47,500 ($50,000 less the $2,500 deductible).

However, that is only for your liability coverages – insurance that covers you for roof leaks, broken pipes, kitchen sink leaks, shower pan leaks – and things of that nature. If you look at your windstorm coverage, you may find a much, much larger deductible. Windstorm deductibles have climbed astronomically since Florida was hit with multiple hurricanes in 2005. Most windstorm deductibles are now a percentage of the insurable value of your home or commercial building. If you do the math, you’ll see that you are self-insuring yourself for a very large amount of damage. With the average price of a house in South Florida being over $300,000, the windstorm deductible could be as high as $30,000!

Get the Help You Need from the Fort Lauderdale Homeowner’s Insurance Lawyers at Maus Law Firm

When you are getting the insurance runaround, it is important to work with an attorney who has extensive experience with insurance companies and knows how to obtain the most beneficial outcome based on the circumstances. For a consultation with our Fort Lauderdale homeowner’s insurance lawyers, contact the Maus Law Firm online today or call 855-999-5297 to discuss your claim with our legal team.


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