If your home sustained damage during Hurricane Irma, recovering from the storm will likely involve dealing with your homeowner’s insurance or flood insurance carrier (or both). Unfortunately, the claims process is rarely as straightforward as it should be, and many South Florida homeowners struggle to secure coverage from their insurance companies in a timely manner.
As you go through the process of rebuilding after Hurricane Irma, it is important to understand what you can expect – and how to know when things go wrong. These resources will help you navigate your insurance claim:
1. Steps to Take After Your Home is Damaged in a Storm
When dealing with property loss after a storm, homeowners need to take certain steps to ensure their safety and prepare to deal with their insurance companies. Many of these steps (such as conducting a cautious inspection as soon as reasonably possible) go hand-in-hand. Whether you have already filed a claim with your insurance company or you evacuated and just recently returned to your home, this step-by-step guide will help you move forward.
2. Knowing How to Spot Signs of Insurance Bad Faith
Insurance companies use a variety of different tactics to attempt to minimize their liability for policyholders’ claims; and, unfortunately, many of these tactics cross the line into bad faith. If you cannot get straight answers (or any answers) from your insurance company, this could be a sign that your claim is not being handled appropriately. Insurance bad faith can take a variety of forms, and knowing when your insurance company crosses the line is a critical first step toward protecting your rights under your policy.
3. Understanding the Terms of Your Policy
Speaking of your policy, do you know what it covers (and what it doesn’t)? There are seven basic types of homeowner’s insurance policies available in Florida, and each has its own unique terms and limitations. One of the first things to understand is whether you have a “named peril” policy (which only covers losses specifically listed in the policy) or a comprehensive policy that covers all losses subject to certain enumerated exclusions.
Also, keep in mind that flood damage (including damage from storm surge) is generally covered under flood insurance, not homeowner’s insurance. If you purchased your homeowner’s insurance and flood insurance policies from different carriers, you may find each one asserting that the other is liable for your claim.
4. Taking Action to Protect Your Rights
If you find yourself struggling to obtain coverage, you may need to take legal action to enforce your rights. This does not necessarily mean going to court. Most insurance disputes are resolved through settlement negotiations, and taking legal action is often the quickest way (and, in some cases, the only way) to overcome bad-faith insurance coverage delays and denials.
Contact Saavedra | Goodwin for a Confidential Consultation
Saavedra | Goodwin is a Fort Lauderdale insurance claim law firm that represents homeowners throughout South Florida. To speak with one of our attorneys about your homeowner’s insurance or flood insurance claim following Hurricane Irma, please call (954) 767-6333 or inquire online today.