Fort Myers Hurricane Insurance Claim Denial Attorney
Hurricanes have been ravaging the coasts of Florida this past season, and just part of a trend that is expected to continue in the years to come. Home damage during a hurricane or tropical storm comes in the form of wind, water, fire, vandalism, theft, and more. If your home suffered broken windows, flooding, a ripped apart roof, or any other type of damage, you need to file an insurance claim with the help of an experienced Fort Myers hurricane insurance attorney. Furthermore, if you have already been denied coverage, given a low offer, or have not heard back from your insurance company for weeks on end in their attempt to deny your claim, you need to contact an attorney at once. At HD Law Partners in Fort Myers, we know what it takes to win cases against large insurance companies, and have been successfully serving clients in the area for years.
Types of Home Damage Caused From a Hurricane or Tropical Storm
Hurricane and storm damage comes in many different forms. While wind and rain are the predominant sources of damage, other types of property loss can occur during such an event as well. Storm and hurricane damage can derive from:
- Wind damage;
- Water damage;
- Fire; and
- Toxic contamination left from debris and residue.
If you have insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, you may need an attorney to help you receive what you are owed in a timely fashion, and enough to actually cover your damages. However, unless you do have insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, your private homeowner’s insurance policy likely does not cover “flooding.” According to Florida statute 627.715, a “flood” is a general and temporary condition that partially or completely inundates two or more acres of land that is normally dry, or two or more properties, and at least one of those properties is the policy holder’s. This inundation is caused by:
- Overflowing of inland or tidal waters;
- Unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff of surface waters from any source;
- Mudflow; or
- The collapse of land along a lakeshore or similar body of water that results in a flood.
During a hurricane or tropical storm, a “flood” as defined by this statute occurs from storm surge or rapid rainwater runoff accumulation. Storm surge is caused by strong winds that push the water onto land, and can temporarily raise the sea level by up to a dozen or more feet. Rainwater buildup can cause flooding in the double digit feet as well. However, not all water damage is caused by Florida’s “flooding” definition.
Water Damage Not Caused by a Flood
Examples of water damage that should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, that should not be considered flooding, include the following:
- Leaking roof, which can happen during wind damage;
- Broken windows that let in water;
- Damaged wall from wind;
- An area of water accumulation that is restricted to your lot, and less than two acres; and
- Broken pipes.
It can be a battle to win any type of water damage claim because your insurance company may immediately jump to the conclusion that it was caused by flooding, whether or not the evidence suggests that.
Tropical Depression Versus Tropical Storm Versus a Hurricane
A tropical depression has maximum sustained winds of around 25 to 25 miles per hour. Once winds reach 39 miles per hour, the depression is escalated to a tropical storm, according to AccuWeather. Once the storm’s winds reach 74 miles per hour or greater, the storm is upgraded to a hurricane. There are five categories of hurricane, with the strongest being category five with sustained maximum winds over 156 miles per hour. Hurricane Irma was one of the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour and gusts of 215 miles per hour, according to Business Insider. Hurricane Allen, which hit the Gulf Coast in 1980 and had sustained winds of 190 miles per hour, was the strongest hurricane recorded in the Western Hemisphere until Hurricane Patricia formed 215 mile per hour sustained winds in the Pacific.
No matter the strength of winds or the media attention that a particular tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane receives, if it causes property damage, your insurance company should be held responsible for paying the necessary finances to fix that damage. However, receiving compensation is not as easy as it might seem.
Insurers Deny Claims Based on their Desire to Stay Highly Profitable, not the Claim’s Lack of Merit
Insurance companies are only profitable when they pay out less money in claims and lawsuits than they receive in premiums. If an insurance company makes one billion dollars in revenue per year, their shareholders will not be pleased if it spends three quarters of that on expenses and the remaining quarter on claims. This works the same in every realm of insurance, from health to home to auto. And, thanks to state reforms created by insurance lobbyist influence on state and federal lawmakers, the insurance industry has never been so profitable. According to the Insurance Journal, the insurance industry has netted $448 billion in the last 10 years. Even valid homeowner’s storm damage claims are not paid out in a timely manner, or without significant pressure from a lawyer. It is in your insurance company’s best interest to pay you as little as possible, to delay payment in hopes that you, out of frustration and necessity, settle for less, or to deny your claim outright. Because of these no holds barred tactics, you need an attorney that can stand up to a multi-billion dollar insurance giant.
A Fort Myers Hurricane Insurance Attorney can Help You Receive Fair Compensation
Whether you have experienced flood damage, wind damage, a fire, theft, or any other property loss caused by a storm or hurricane, you may run into problems with your provider if you do not use an experienced attorney. At HD Law Partners in Fort Myers, we know how insurance companies work, and how to assist our clients in recovering what is theirs. Contact us today for help.