If you live in South Florida and your home has sustained damage in a storm, you will need to quickly begin the process of dealing with your insurance company and mitigating any ongoing damage to the extent reasonably possible. These answers to frequently-asked questions (FAQs) provide some of the information you need to know.
Answers From Our Fort Lauderdale Property Damage Attorneys
Q: Does my insurance policy cover debris removal?
Yes, it should. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies include coverage for debris removal, typically up to a set cap (such as $10,000) or a percentage of your overall dwelling coverage. Debris removal should be listed in the “Additional Coverages” section of your policy.
Q: Can I keep damaged items that have sentimental value?
Yes, and your insurance policy may include coverage to have these items repaired or restored. We previously discussed some tips for protecting photos and heirlooms. When dealing with water damage, it is always important to be wary of mold, and you should not enter your house to retrieve any items unless it is safe to do so.
Q: What should I expect once I contact my insurance company?
Once you contact your insurance company, an adjuster should come to inspect the damage to your home and personal property. This adjuster works for the insurance company, and his or her job is to ensure that your insurer only pays the minimum amount required under the terms of your policy. As a result, you need to be cautious about relying solely on your insurance company’s assessment of your claim. Our step-by-step guide provides additional tips for dealing with your insurer.
Q: What if I disagree with my adjuster’s assessment?
If you disagree with your adjuster’s assessment, you can hire a public adjuster, a property damage attorney or both. A public adjuster will be able to accurately calculate the losses that are covered by your policy, and a property damage attorney will be able to deal with your insurer to protect you against bad-faith insurance practices.
Q: Are there reasons my insurance company can deny my claim?
Yes, there are some legitimate reasons why insurance companies can deny homeowners’ claims. Intentional damage, fraud, and non-payment of premiums are a few common examples. However, if your home was damaged in a storm and you are up-to-date on your premium payments, it will be very difficult for your insurer to deny your claim entirely. If you experience a denial or unreasonable delay, you should discuss your options with an attorney.
More Answers to Homeowner FAQs
For more information about the coverage under your homeowners’ and flood insurance policies and what you need to know about dealing with your insurance company, you can read our hurricane and roof damage FAQs:
Contact the Property Damage Attorneys at Saavedra | Goodwin
If you need personalized legal advice about your property damage claim, we encourage you to contact our offices to speak with one of our attorneys. You can reach us by phone at (954) 767-6333; or, send us your contact information and we will respond as soon as possible.