Several states across the country experience hurricane season every year, causing massive damage and destruction. Hurricane Michael, a category five hurricane that made landfall in Florida and continued onto North Carolina in 2018, caused about $25 billion in damages.
After a powerful hurricane strikes, homeowners may file hurricane property damage claims with their insurers. Unfortunately, those who suffer property damage in a hurricane may have difficulty receiving fair restitution from their insurance provider.
Homeowners’ insurance companies should act in good faith to receive and process insurance claims. However, many insurers offer lowball settlements, delay payments, and deny claims to avoid paying out compensation for damaged property.
If you need legal assistance getting compensation from your insurance provider after a hurricane, the hurricane insurance claim attorneys at Nessler & Associates can help. We understand how to hold property insurance firms accountable and help you get the money you’re owed under your policy.
Common Damages Covered In a Hurricane Damage Claim
Upon returning to your property after a hurricane, you may find it severely damaged. If you live in a hurricane-prone area like the Florida coast, you likely have flood and windstorm insurance policies or riders in addition to your standard homeowners’ insurance.
Most hurricane insurance policies cover the following type of damages:
- Roof and vinyl siding damage
- Debris removal associated with property damage
- Water damage to floors, walls, and ceilings
- Tree and shrub damage
- Hurricane-related fires or explosions
- Storm damaged windows
- Water or wind damage to household appliances and personal belongings
You must document the damage from the hurricane in order to file a claim and receive a payout on your insurance policy. When you return to your property, take pictures or videos of all storm-related damage and gather current repair expense bills and receipts to submit with your claim.
Working with a lawyer from Nessler & Associates to gather and preserve evidence is crucial to making a successful insurance claim. Your lawyer can help you understand what evidence can best support your claim. They can also estimate the cost of future renovations and replacement costs with the help of property damage expert witnesses.
What to Know About Hurricane Insurance
An attorney from Nessler & Associates can guide you through filing a hurricane insurance claim if your home suffers damage after a storm. Our attorneys will review your policy to determine what wind and flood coverage you have in your homeowners’ insurance policy and the type of compensation they offer.
Your attorney will consider the following factors when assessing the best way to approach your hurricane damage claim:
Availability of Flood Insurance
Standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not include flood insurance. If you live in a flood zone or a hurricane-prone area, your water damage attorney may suggest you purchase flood insurance. While it may not cover your current damage, obtaining a policy can protect you in the future.
You may be able to work with your attorney to receive a federal disaster relief loan to help you restore your property if the hurricane that caused your damages is declared a national disaster.
Coverage Limits in Your Hurricane Insurance
Homeowners’ policies cover 50 to 70% of the damage to a house’s structure. Your lawyer will review your hurricane insurance policy with you so you know the costs of repairing your home if it sustained severe damage.
Deductibles for Hurricane Damage
Deductibles are an amount you must pay before your insurance policy coverage kicks in, similar to a health insurance deductible. Many insurers covering hurricane-prone homes include hurricane deductibles in their policies. Your policy may refer to it as a windstorm, named storm, or hurricane deductible.
The hurricane deductible in your policy may range from 1 to 5%. In Florida, insurers must offer deductible options for hurricanes, including $500, 2%, 5%, and 10% options. For example, you have a policy with a 5% deductible, and your home is insured for $400,000. In this case, your insurance does not cover the first $20,000 in damages.
Your lawyer will review your insurance policy to help you interpret deductible clauses in your hurricane insurance coverage.
What Your Lawyer Can Do if the Insurer Denies or Underpays Your Hurricane Claim
Legally, insurance companies must work with their policyholders in good faith to pay their coverages owed under their policy terms. They must also process claims promptly and treat you fairly during the claims process.
Finding out your insurance company denied or underpaid your hurricane claim can be a frustrating experience. However, your lawyer can help you address the issue and ensure that you receive payment with the following actions:
Strengthen Your Claim With More Evidence
Your attorney can help you prepare appropriate records once you receive the reason from the insurance company for the denial. For example, the insurer may argue that you didn’t submit adequate evidence of your damages or failed to mitigate your property’s damages after the hurricane. Your attorney can present the documentation of your damages and repair bills to the insurance company on your behalf.
Determine if the Insurer Acted in Bad Faith
Your attorney with Nessler & Associates can review your claim to determine if the insurer acted in bad faith, meaning they used deceptive or illegal tactics. Examples of bad faith practices by property damage insurance companies include:
- Insufficient investigation of your case
- Extensive delays in the processing of your claim
- Unreasonable requests for additional documents
- Misrepresentations and omissions from your coverage from the insurance adjuster
- Threatening tactics from the claims adjusters for you to accept a settlement
- Neglecting to negotiate for a legitimate, open claim
- Failure to offer a full settlement
Your attorney may advise you to sue your insurer in a bad faith claim if they acted unreasonably when processing your claim. At Nessler & Associates, our attorneys can help you pursue a lawsuit against your provider for a settlement that includes damages in your original hurricane insurance case.
Contact a Hurricane Damage Lawyer at Nessler & Associates
When a hurricane damages your home, you need the experienced insurance claims lawyers at Nessler & Associates to advocate for your right to compensation on your behalf. Our legal team can help you through the hurricane damage claim process and ensure unscrupulous insurance companies act in good faith and follow best insurance practices.
We can help you understand your homeowners’ insurance policy and file your claim within the limits of your hurricane insurance coverage. If the insurance company acted in bad faith, we can hold them accountable and help you receive compensation for your hurricane insurance claim.
Contact us today at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a free case evaluation so you can rebuild your home and get back to normal after a hurricane. We represent hurricane and storm victims in Florida, Texas, Colorado, and Illinois.