Sarasota Flood Damage Attorney
Flooding and water damage cause billions of dollars in losses every year here in Florida. Whether caused by storm surge, overflowing rivers, or heavy rain, flooding is only a covered peril for homeowners who purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), though many homeowners are unaware of this fact. While a typical homeowners’ insurance policy does cover water damage in most circumstances, flood damage is not covered unless additional coverage, backed by the federal government, is purchased; explaining this to a homeowner whose house was recently destroyed by flooding a hurricane can be difficult. Even more difficult can be proving that water damage is, by Florida’s legal definition, actually flood damage. In other cases, the extent of the flooding damage is wildly overestimated, and despite the policy holder having flood insurance, the claim should still be denied due to the exaggerated damages. Here at HD Law Partners, we assist insurers by exposing exaggerated, unfounded, and fraudulent claims, as well as closely reviewing key policy provisions. Our Sarasota flood damage attorneys can save you from unnecessary payments and costly overpayments that would otherwise harm your business. Contact our Sarasota homeowners’ insurance attorneys today.
The National Flood Insurance Program
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) insures over five million residential properties in the U.S., and the average paid flood claim comes to over $91,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the NFIP has been struggling; in 2017 the Program maxed out is $30.4 billion limit, according to Scientific American. The reason? Outdated flood maps from the 1980s are still being used, unchecked development in flood-prone areas, and global heating and sea level rise are all making the NFIP inept at keeping our society safe from flood damages and exorbitant costs of repair. FEMA’s data is so out of date that it estimates that only 13 million people live in a 100-year flooding event zone, when recent research has shown that 41 million Americans do—and that is only taking into account the potential flooding from rivers and streams, not from worsening storm surge due to sea level rise.
Water Damage Vs. Flood Damage
Florida law makes a clear differentiation between flooding and water damage. To a homeowner, the two may seem like the same thing. Careful investigation must be performed to determine the true cause of the damage, and if the results show that flooding is the cause—which they often do—coverage must be denied unless the policy holder has purchased flood insurance.
A Sarasota Homeowners’ Insurance Attorney Can Help Today
As an insurer, the viability of your business depends on only paying out valid claims, and paying only the true cost of the damage. Policy specifics must be carefully reviewed, and each case of flood or water damage needs to be investigated thoroughly. The Sarasota flooding insurance attorneys here at HD Law Partners provide these services and more, including litigation, to keep you from making costly errors. Call 813-964-7878 today to schedule a free consultation.