Hurricanes cause a huge amount of damage when they happen, and most Florida homeowners are fearful that their home or property could be destroyed or seriously damaged one day by a hurricane or major storm. For this reason, many citizens take out insurance policies that cover storm or hurricane damage to protect their property and to ensure that they are not left paying out of pocket for damage that occurred.
There is no exact way of knowing how much compensation you can receive through your insurance company for hurricane damage in Florida, as insurance policies vary a huge amount between companies. In general, there are certain damages that your homeowners’ insurance should usually cover, such as roof replacement cost, fence repair, and broken window replacement cost, amongst other things. However, it is important to be wise when choosing an insurance policy in Florida to ensure that any extra hurricane damage gets paid for by your insurance company.
Here at The Law Place, we know that having your home destroyed or damaged due to a hurricane is extremely traumatic, and we want to ensure that your insurance company does not treat you unfairly by rejecting or undervaluing your claim. Our law firm has years of experience in dealing with hurricane claims, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. We have a team of property damage attorneys who can offer you legal advice in a free consultation about what type of compensation you are entitled to.
Don’t hesitate to contact us. The sooner you do, the better chance we have at maximizing the compensation you recover. Call us today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation. Our phone lines are always open.
In This Article
- What Should I Do After a Hurricane in Florida?
- Homeowners Insurance in Florida
- Factors Influencing a Hurricane Damage Settlement
- Florida’s Hurricane Deductible
- Making Hurricane Damage Claims With an Insurance Company
- Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Hurricane Insurance Claims?
- Contact The Law Place Today
What Should I Do After a Hurricane in Florida?
It can be difficult to know what to do when a hurricane strikes, and often if your home has been damaged, you may be under a severe amount of stress. However, as in all property damage and personal injury cases, there are certain steps you should take to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible from your insurance company, including the following:
- Document everything – It is important that you take a clear note of any property damage that occurred due to the hurricane, which should include pictures, videos, and written documentation. Make sure to keep any damaged property you have as evidence for your property damage claim.
- Make temporary repairs – You should always carry out essential repairs on your property to prevent further damage and ensure safety.
- File an insurance claim – You should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible if your property has sustained hurricane damage. Insurance companies must send out a claims adjuster immediately once you file a claim, and they will assess the damage that has occurred. If you delay in filing a claim, it could have a negative impact on your ability to recover compensation.
- Contact a lawyer – We recommend that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible if your property has sustained hurricane damage in Florida. Often during hurricane season, there will be many homeowners making claims with their insurance companies, and you may find it difficult to recover the maximum amount of compensation you are owed. Hiring a lawyer can ensure that you are not treated unfairly by your insurance company and that your property damage is adequately compensated for.
For a free legal consultation, call 941-444-4444
Homeowners Insurance in Florida
Florida law does not require that you carry homeowners insurance in order to own a property. However, it is highly recommended that you do, and most mortgage companies require you to have an insurance policy in place to take out a mortgage. Comprehensive coverage insurance policies usually cover you in the following situations:
- Property damage or the destruction of your home.
- Damage to or destruction of other structures or buildings on your property, including sheds, swimming pools, garages, and fencing.
- The items contained inside your home.
- Liability coverage towards third parties and their medical expenses.
- Losing the use of your home.
Although comprehensive insurance policies generally cover you in most situations, many Florida citizens opt to take out extra flood insurance or hurricane insurance due to the high risk of storm damage.
Factors Influencing a Hurricane Damage Settlement
There is generally no average settlement for hurricane damage in Florida, and there will usually be a number of factors that influence the amount of compensation you can recover. Most importantly, the homeowner’s insurance policy you take out with your insurance company will have the strongest influence on the settlement amount you receive.
When taking out homeowner’s insurance on your personal property in Florida, it is important that you understand what is actually covered under your particular policy, as there are a number of different types of policies, including the following:
- Guaranteed replacement cost policy – With replacement cost policies, an insurance company will pay to replace a damaged item with the same item or that of similar quality. If you have taken out a guaranteed replacement cost policy, your insurer will cover the entire cost of rebuilding your home, based on what it would have cost prior to the hurricane. This means that you will not have to pay any extra money for building costs, even if it exceeds your policy limits.
- Extended replacement cost policy – An extended replacement cost policy is different in that your insurer will only cover the costs of replacing an item or the rebuilding costs based on a predetermined percentage. This replacement cost policy is good in that it will cost you less money each month, but you may have to put some money towards the rebuilding of your home in the event of a major disaster.
- Actual cash value policies – With an actual cash value policy, your insurance company will pay you out the amount that your property is worth today. This means they will calculate the actual cash value by figuring out how much your property would cost today and subtracting any depreciation factors, including its condition, age, and how outdated it is.
The amount of compensation you receive for hurricane damage in Florida will depend mostly on the insurance policy you have taken out. If you have taken out a guaranteed replacement cost policy, you will be able to recover much more compensation than if you have taken out an actual cash value policy. For this reason, it is recommended that you take out as much insurance as you can afford, as having extra policies in place will increase your average settlement amount substantially.
Florida’s Hurricane Deductible
If you live by the coast or in an area that usually gets particularly damaged during Florida hurricane season, your insurance company may require you to take out a hurricane deductible. Essentially, this hurricane coverage means that you pay a deductible to your insurance company prior to them paying you any compensation for hurricane damage.
Florida Statute 627.4025 provides that insurance companies must offer you a hurricane deductible of between 2% and 5%, depending on the particular value of your home and its location, and they will take this out of the settlement amount they offer you. This statute also provides that the deductible will only be applied in the event of a named Florida hurricane.
To understand more about hurricane insurance deductibles in Florida, you should contact an experienced attorney who can read through the terms and conditions of your policy to figure out how much of a deductible you have with your insurance coverage.
Hurricane Coverage in Florida
Having specific Florida hurricane coverage will have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you receive with your settlement. Your insurance agent will usually be required to offer this extra coverage to their clients, particularly in hurricane-prone states such as Florida.
There are two different types of insurance policies you can take out that can cover a hurricane damage claim; flood insurance and windstorm coverage.
Wind damage in Florida is generally covered under most insurance policies and is known as windstorm or general hurricane coverage. This type of hurricane insurance policy is usually included under the deductible and will cover the repair and replacement cost of any structural or internal damage that occurs to your home due to high wind or a storm surge.
Additionally, if any hail, dust, sand, or rain enters your property due to a storm, your windstorm homeowner’s policy will cover it. However, it is important to be aware that a windstorm insurance policy does not cover flood damage, and you will have to take out further flood damage coverage to protect your home in the event of a flood.
The law does not require property owners to take out extra flood coverage under their homeowner’s policy. However, if your property suffers serious water damage during a hurricane or a natural disaster and you haven’t taken out this extra coverage, you may be unable to recover compensation for the damage that occurred.
This type of insurance coverage is particularly recommended for property owners who live along the coast, as the risk of a storm surge happening during a hurricane is quite high. If you have this extra flood coverage in place, you will be able to file a property damage claim for any damage that occurs due to the flooding, such as roof damage, permanent repairs, and replacement costs for any property damaged internally, thus increasing the amount of compensation you will receive in your settlement.
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Making Hurricane Damage Claims With an Insurance Company
When making insurance claims in Florida, it is important that you take caution when speaking with your insurance provider. You should have a full understanding of the terms of your insurance policy and be aware of what type of hurricane policy you have in place, if any.
Once you contact them, they are required to send out an adjuster to investigate the damage that has occurred to your property and assess how much you may be entitled to for your losses. As a homeowner, you must prove the particular damage your property has sustained by using the evidence you’ve gathered, including pictures, videos, and proof of the repair or replacement cost of any damage.
Private insurers usually prioritize profit, and they may use information you have given them as a means of devaluing your claim or may also try to deal with your claim in bad faith. If you believe that your insurance company has given you false or misleading statements about what you are entitled to under your policy, you should always contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Hurricane Insurance Claims?
You are not required to hire legal assistance when making insurance claims for damage that occurs to your home or property because of a hurricane. However, having the backing of a lawyer can not only relieve a huge amount of stress for you but can also help increase the settlement amount you recover.
If your home has been damaged due to a hurricane, and you are seeking insurance payments to cover the costs of repair or replacement of your property, you will likely be speaking with numerous professionals, including insurance companies, investigating officers, adjusters, and lawyers. If you have an attorney helping your case, they can do all of this communication on your behalf while you focus on looking after yourself and your family and figuring out what to do with your home.
Additionally, your attorney will work to prevent your insurance company from acting in bad faith or devaluing your claim. We recommend that you contact our law firm if your insurance company does any of the following:
- Offers you a low-ball settlement that doesn’t reflect the damage your property has sustained.
- Delays the claims process and doesn’t contact you often.
- Gives you misleading or false statements.
- Tells you not to contact public insurance adjusters or attorneys.
- Requires you to sign documents preventing you from recovering more compensation, such as supplementary claims.
These are major signs that your insurance company is acting in bad faith, and this is when you should contact a lawyer immediately. With their experience, they can ensure that your claim is not devalued and that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible for your claim.
Contact The Law Place Today
To sum up, there is generally no average settlement for hurricane damage in Florida, and the amount of compensation you recover through your settlement will depend on numerous factors, including the homeowner’s insurance policy you have taken out, whether you have taken out extra hurricane policies, and the extent of the damage to your property.
As Florida is so prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods, it is strongly recommended that you take out the maximum amount of compensation you can to ensure that you receive a fair settlement amount in the event of a disaster. Insurance companies are renowned for devaluing claims and not offering their clients the settlement amount they deserve, which is why you should always speak with a lawyer when making a claim.
Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of experience in dealing with insurance claims, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our law firm has a team of lawyers who can help ensure that you get a fair settlement amount for any property damage sustained in a hurricane. We offer a free consultation for you to speak with us with no strings attached.
Call today for a free consultation at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are always open.