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Insurance Claims

April 30, 2019

These Are the First Predictions for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season

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AccuWeather recently released its first predictions for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. In 2018, we saw a total of 15 named storms; and, in 2019, AccuWeather is predicting, “a near- to slightly above-normal season with 12 to 14 storms.” According to AccuWeather, “[o]f those storms, five to seven are forecast to become hurricanes and two to four are forecast to become major hurricanes.” Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

April 19, 2019

Unlicensed Contractors and Assignments of Benefits (AOBs): A Warning for South Florida Homeowners

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In the aftermath of a hurricane or a major tropical storm, the recovery and rebuilding process can be overwhelming not just for individual homeowners, but for communities as a whole. All of a sudden, the demand for insurance adjusters, contractors and temporary housing is far greater than the supply, and this means that the duration of the recovery process gets extended and many people are forced to move far away from their homes. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

February 28, 2019

What Does Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Cover?

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As a homeowner in South Florida, you know you need homeowner’s insurance. But, do you know why (aside from the fact that your mortgage company requires it)? While many homeowners put little thought into their coverage options, making informed decisions about your home insurance policy can be critical to making sure you are able to rely on your coverage when you need it. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

February 15, 2019

What is the Statute of Limitations for Homeowner’s Insurance Claims in Florida?

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When your home is damaged in a storm or other casualty event, you only have a limited amount of time to file a claim with your insurance company. If you wait too long, your insurance company may be justified in denying your claim entirely. However, this is not the only timeframe homeowners need to be worried about – especially since most homeowner’s file their insurance claims right away. There is also a statute of limitations that applies to lawsuits against homeowner’s insurance companies; and, if you are not aware of this limitations period, your insurance company may be able to use it against you. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

January 31, 2019

What are “Endorsements” in a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

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When you buy homeowner’s insurance, you don’t expect it to cover everything. But, you might expect it to cover more than it actually does. While homeowner’s policies often start with broad coverage language, this language is subject to a laundry list of exclusions; and, in order to have these excluded perils covered, homeowners must pay extra for “endorsements.” Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

January 17, 2019

What Can South Florida Condo Owners Expect from HO-6 Insurance Claims?

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If you own a condo in South Florida, your condo association’s insurance policy should provide coverage for any damage to your home. Florida law imposes strict coverage requirements for condo associations; however, for individual unit owners, purchasing home insurance is no longer required. So, if you own a condo, should you still purchase home insurance? Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

January 3, 2019

Looking Back at the 2018 Hurricane Season – And Preparing in Advance for 2019

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The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is over, and as we await the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) first predictions for the 2019 season – which will be released on May 1 – it is worth taking a look back at what we learned last year. With a total of 15 named storms, including a record seven storms eventually classified as subtropical, 2018’s total storm activity, “fell within NOAA’s predicted ranges in [its] pre-season outlook issued in late May [but] was more active than predicted in the updated outlook issued in early August.” Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

December 31, 2018

A Settlement Check is Not a Gift from Your Insurance Company

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It is the holiday season, and now that it has been several months since Hurricane Michael passed through Florida, some homeowners are starting to receive settlement checks from their insurance companies. But, while it may seem that these checks are coming at the perfect time, homeowners need to be careful to avoid resolving their claims too soon. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

December 17, 2018

2018 Year in Review: What We Learned about Property Damage and Insurance Claims

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From noteworthy court decisions to the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Michael, it has been another busy year in the world of property insurance claims and litigation. Here is a recap of 10 of our top articles from throughout the year: Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

December 3, 2018

What are Your Options After an NFIP Claim Denial?

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If you have flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and you receive a denial of coverage, or the coverage you receive is inadequate to cover your flood-related losses, what options do you have available? Unfortunately, this is a question that many policyholders are forced to ask, as NFIP payouts often fall short of homeowners’ expectations. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

November 30, 2018

How to Make Use of the “Additional Living Expense” Clause in Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

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As an insured homeowner, if you get displaced from your home as a result of damage sustained in a hurricane, storm or other casualty event, the “additional living expense” clause in your insurance policy is designed to help cover the costs you incur as a result of relocating to temporary housing. But, insurance companies will often attempt to deny coverage or pay less than the full amount to which policyholders are entitled; and, as a result, it is important to make sure you have a clear understanding of your right to “ALE” coverage. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

November 16, 2018

What is a “Concurrent Cause” and When Can (and Can’t) Insurers Deny Coverage?

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One of the most complicated (and most frustrating) issues involved with substantial homeowner’s insurance claims is the issue of “concurrent cause.” Under standard homeowner’s insurance policy language, if two factors concurrently cause property damage and one factor is covered while the other is not, then the insurer has the right to deny coverage based upon concurrent causation. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

November 2, 2018

What is the Scope of Your “Duty to Cooperate” During an Insurance Claim?

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Standard homeowner’s insurance policies include a provision requiring the homeowner to “[c]ooperate . . . in the investigation, settlement or defense of any claim or suit.” If you file a claim with your insurance company following a hurricane, tropical storm or other event resulting in damage to your home, what is the scope of your “duty to cooperate”? Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

October 31, 2018

How “Impartial” is Your Insurance Company’s Appraiser?

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When a homeowner and an insurance company disagree over the cost of repairs, the method for resolving their dispute will typically be specified in the “boilerplate” provisions of the homeowner’s insurance policy. Under a typical policy, the first step will be to have the damaged inspected by one or more “impartial” appraisers. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

October 24, 2018

Loss Estimates From Hurricane Michael Exceed $4 Billion

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According to news reports, the total losses resulting from Hurricane Michael are expected to exceed $4 billion. In fact, since this figure solely represents the cost to agriculture businesses in Florida and Georgia (and their insurance companies), the aggregate financial impact of Hurricane Michael is likely to be far more substantial. One source, the Claims Journal, has estimated the total losses from Hurricane Michael as high as $25 billion. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

October 17, 2018

What to Do if Your Florida Home Was Damaged by Hurricane Michael

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For many Florida homeowners who suffered losses during Hurricane Michael, their ability to rebuild is heavily dependent upon their ability to secure coverage from their homeowner’s insurance and flood insurance carriers. While some homeowners may find the insurance claims process to be fairly straightforward – especially if their homes suffered fairly minor damage – others will face significant challenges and frustrations at virtually all stages of the process. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

September 28, 2018

How to Track Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Online

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If you go by news reports, just about every hurricane that forms in the Atlantic Ocean represents the next great natural disaster. Seemingly, almost every storm during the hurricane season gets sensationalized; and, when the winds die down, instead of simply communicating the facts, many media outlets look for ways to keep the news cycle churning. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

September 21, 2018

What to Expect (and What Not to Expect) When Your Insurance Adjuster Visits Your Home or Business

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When you file a property damage insurance claim after a hurricane or tropical storm, one of the first things your insurance company should do is send an adjuster to survey and document the damage. If you are waiting for an adjuster to come to your home in South Florida, here are some important considerations to keep in mind: Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

September 14, 2018

FEMA’s Safety Tips for the Aftermath of a Hurricane

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While most South Florida residents understand the importance of preparing in advance for a hurricane and prioritizing safety above all else during a major storm, many people do not think about the safety risks involved with returning home once a storm is over. Most people want to get home, survey the damage and start putting the pieces back together as soon as possible. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

August 31, 2018

IMPORTANT: Florida Homeowners Must File Their Property Damage Insurance Claims Promptly

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When your home is damaged in a storm, the first step toward rebuilding is typically to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company. While most homeowners will file their claims promptly, whether due to travel, roadblocks that prevent access to neighborhood streets or other issues, some homeowners may not be able to file their claims right away. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

August 24, 2018

El Niño May Be Good News After Costliest Hurricane Season on Record

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently released its 2017 Hurricane Season FEMA After-Action Report, highlighting key statistics and lessons learned from the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. According to the report, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria combined to create the costliest hurricane season on record, with homeowners, businesses and government agencies losing an estimated $265 billion as a direct result of these storms. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

August 17, 2018

Hurricane Preparedness: State and Federal Government Resources

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The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is upon us; and, while experts recently issued a revised forecast with a below-average level of storm activity, it is still important for homeowners to be prepared. As we learned last year, it only takes one storm to cause widespread devastation, and homeowners who take steps to get ready will be in the best position to begin the recovery process as quickly possible. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

July 27, 2018

7 Tips for Managing Your Homeowner’s Insurance Claim

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When your home is damaged in a storm, filing a claim with your insurance company is just the start of the restoration process. To protect your rights under your policy and ensure that your home is repaired appropriately, it will be important to take an active role in managing your claim from start to finish. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

July 20, 2018

Covered or Not? 8 Kinds of Hurricane-Related Property Damage

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A hurricane can cause many different types of damage to your home. When you file a claim with your insurance company, it is important to have a clear understanding of what is covered under the terms of your policy. Unfortunately, bad-faith insurance practices are common; and, if you rely solely on your insurance company for advice, you may end up with less than you are owed. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

July 13, 2018

What is a Homeowner’s Insurance “Managed Repair Program”?

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If your home was damaged in a storm and your insurance company is seeking to process your claim under its Managed Repair Program, it is important to understand what this means for restoration of your home. While insurance companies make their Managed Repair Programs sound like benefits they offer to policyholders, the reality is that these programs favor the insurance companies, and the benefits to policyholders are typically far outweighed by the risks involved. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

June 29, 2018

Filing a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim During the 2018 Hurricane Season

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With forecasters expecting the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season to be “more active than usual,” homeowners in South Florida should be readying their homes and preparing to file claims with their home and flood insurance companies. Hopefully, we will make it through the season unscathed. But, if we do not, those who plan ahead will be in the best position to secure coverage and begin the rebuilding process promptly after a damaging storm. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

June 22, 2018

June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day

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June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day. While primarily celebrated by the insurance companies as an opportunity to market new policies and policy enhancements to their customers, National Insurance Awareness Day nonetheless serves as a practical reminder for homeowners to make sure that their insurance coverage is up to date. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

June 15, 2018

FEMA Adopts Claims Handling Enhancements for 2018 Hurricane Season

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On June 7, 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a memorandum regarding claims handling procedures under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for the 2018 hurricane season. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

May 31, 2018

Florida Homeowners Successfully Appeal Denial of Coverage for Water Damage

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Water damage claims often lead to disputes between homeowners and their insurance companies. Policy language that seems clear can become ambiguous when applied within the context of an unexpected loss; and, while homeowners may expect their insurance companies to cover any damage caused by a leak or water intrusion, insurers will often seek to use the language of their policies to argue that no coverage was intended. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

May 24, 2018

Homeowner’s Insurance Claims: When Should You Invoke Your Right to an Appraisal?

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If you have filed a property damage claim with your homeowner’s insurance company and you are struggling to receive payment, one option you have available is to invoke your right to an appraisal. This right is uniformly granted to both the insured and the insurer under standard homeowner’s insurance policies, and it provides a method for resolving coverage disputes without the need to go to court. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

May 17, 2018

Creating an Inventory of Lost Property After a Storm or Theft

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When you file a property loss insurance claim as a homeowner or business owner, you typically have a number of post-loss responsibilities that you must meet in order to prevent your insurance company from justifiably denying your claim. If you have lost certain items entirely – whether due to being swept away or stolen – one of these obligations will be to submit an inventory of lost items to your insurance company. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

April 27, 2018

What Do Homeowners Need to Know About Making Temporary Repairs?

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When your home is damaged in a tropical storm, hurricane or other natural disaster, you have an obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent ongoing damage. This obligation, which exists under the terms of your homeowner’s insurance policy, means that you may be required to make temporary repairs such as putting a tarp on your roof, boarding up broken windows and taking steps to prevent the spread of mold. If you fail to make temporary repairs, your insurance company may try to argue that you are to blame for some of the damage sustained, and it may try to limit the amount of your coverage accordingly. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

April 20, 2018

Experts Expect 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season to Be “More Active Than Usual”

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It’s hard to believe, but the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is just around the corner. Starting on June 1 and ending on November 30, hurricane season is the portion of the year when tropical cyclones with the potential to swell into hurricanes are most likely to develop in the Atlantic Ocean. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

April 13, 2018

Florida’s Federal Appellate Court Rules that Insurance Agents are Not Fiduciaries

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What can you expect from your insurance agent? When you buy home or flood insurance, is your insurance agent required to help you make the best decision based upon your finances and the location and condition of your home? Or, can he or she simply try to sell you the coverage that generates the biggest commission? In a recent case that has important implications for Florida homeowners, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Florida is in the Fifth Circuit) ruled that insurance agents are not subject to a fiduciary standard. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

March 23, 2018

Is Your Vacation Home or House for Sale Considered “Vacant” or “Unoccupied”?

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In the world of home insurance, “vacant” and “unoccupied” are two very different terms. If a home is deemed to be vacant, most standard homeowner’s insurance policies exclude coverage for losses due to vandalism, theft, water damage and certain other types of perils. However, if a home is considered unoccupied, then the homeowner’s standard coverage applies. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

March 16, 2018

Florida Court Sides With Homeowner in Water Damage Insurance Claim

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In February, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal issued an important decision for property owners whose homes are damaged due to prolonged water intrusion. The case arose out of a refrigerator supply line leak that occurred while the homeowner was out of town.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

March 9, 2018

My Homeowner’s Insurance Company is Denying Coverage on the Basis of Fraud. What are My Rights?

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As a homeowner who has suffered property loss in a hurricane, tropical storm, or other damaging event, the last thing you want to hear is that your insurance company is attempting to deny coverage. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common occurrence, and one way that insurers often attempt to avoid liability for property damage claims is by alleging homeowner fraud. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

February 23, 2018

Assignment of Benefits (AOB) Fraud and Other Concerns for Homeowners with Insurance Claims

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In the wake of Hurricane Irma in late 2017, Florida officials issued a warning that some homeowners were being targeted in scams involving an insurance form known as an Assignment of Benefits (AOB). The Florida Office of the Attorney General has warned of hurricane-related fraud scams as well, and we previously covered the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) advice for avoiding scams in the wake of a hurricane. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

February 16, 2018

Get to Know Your NFIP Flood Insurance Policy

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If you have flood insurance in South Florida, there is a good chance that your coverage is provided under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you purchased your home prior to 2014 and have not changed your coverage, you have an NFIP flood insurance policy. A change in the law four years ago allowed Florida homeowners to seek coverage from private carriers; however, many mortgage lenders still prefer (and recommend) NFIP coverage. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

February 9, 2018

Insurance Claim Settlement Checks: Homeowners, Make Sure You Know What You’re Signing

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When you file an insurance claim after a hurricane or tropical storm causes damage to your home, if you are like most people, you want the process to be over as quickly as possible. You don’t want to have to go back and forth with your insurance company, and you are checking daily to see if there is a check in the mail. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

January 26, 2018

What Can Homeowners Do to Prepare for Hurricane Season?

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One of the most-devastating hurricane seasons on record is over, and the 2018 hurricane season does not begin until June 1. But, that does not mean that homeowners should be lulled into a sense of complacency.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

January 19, 2018

Government Resources for Homeowners with Property Damage from Storms

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If your home has been damaged in a hurricane, tropical storm or other major weather-related event, figuring out where you can turn for help is often the first step toward recovery. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

January 12, 2018

What Can You Do if Your Insurer Denies Your Property Damage Claim?

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You bought insurance to protect your property. You paid your premiums. You filed a claim when your home was damaged in a storm and . . . your insurance company told you it isn’t going to pay. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

December 29, 2017

FAQs: What Should You Do After a Storm Damages Your Home?

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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. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

December 22, 2017

How to Calculate Your Personal Property Loss After a Fire, Flood or Storm

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When your home is damaged in a fire, flood or storm, items inside of your home are likely to sustain damage as well. The damage to your personal property should be included in your homeowner’s insurance claim; and, in order to make sure you receive adequate payment for your property loss, you need to try to come up with a list of your damaged and lost property that is as complete as possible.  Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

December 15, 2017

Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Property Damage Insurance Claim?

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After a storm or other disaster that damages your home or business, recovering your losses means filing a property damage claim with your insurer. You can go through this process on your own; or, you can hire an attorney to deal with your insurance company for you. If the damage to your home or business is substantial (or if you are unsure of the extent of your losses), here are seven ways that an attorney can help protect your rights under your policy:

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Categories: Insurance Claims

November 24, 2017

Florida Homeowners: Be Aware of Misleading Rumors about Storm and Disaster Recovery

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When coping with a major storm or other disaster resulting in significant property damage, it is important to make sure you are relying on accurate information. Unfortunately, there is a significant amount of misinformation out there, and scam artists often rely on homeowners’ lack of knowledge in order to perpetrate fraudulent schemes. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

November 17, 2017

FEMA: Homeowners Should Be Wary of Fraud and Price Gouging During Disaster Recovery

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While homeowners already have enough to contend with in the wake of a hurricane or other disaster resulting in widespread damage, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is now also warning Florida residents to be wary of fraud and price gouging during the recovery process. FEMA’s Hurricane Irma disaster relief website provide tips for avoiding scams and unscrupulous contractors, and the Agency’s general Disaster Fraud page provides some additional guidance. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

November 10, 2017

12 Tips for Returning Home After a Damaging Storm

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After a storm damages your home, you are likely to have several priorities that you need to try to manage simultaneously. These include ensuring your family’s safety, securing insurance coverage, protecting photos and heirlooms, and beginning the recovery process as soon as possible. While your insurance adjuster may provide you with some advice, it is important not to rely solely on the information you receive from your insurer. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal authorities have published some useful resources, and our lawyers are here to help if you have questions about your property damage insurance claim in Broward County, FL. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

October 27, 2017

Are Changes Coming to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?

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According to recent news reports, the current administration is proposing changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that could drastically impact new home construction and some existing homeowners in South Florida. This is an important potential development for homeowners and homebuyers in the region, and one that we will continue to monitor for further developments. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

October 20, 2017

Covered or Not? Storm Damage to Your Boat Dock

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If you live on the water in South Florida and own a boat dock, making sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your dock can be crucial to minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses after a damaging storm. Many waterfront homeowners are surprised to learn that homeowner’s insurance does not necessarily cover boat docks, and unfortunately some only find out after their insurance company denies their storm damage claim.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

October 13, 2017

Latest FEMA Updates for South Florida Homeowners Affected by Hurricane Irma

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If your home sustained flood damage during Hurricane Irma and you have insurance coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), it is important to make sure that you have the latest information about filing NFIP claims from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Here is a summary of some important updates that FEMA announced shortly after the storm: Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

September 29, 2017

Dealing with Your Insurance Company After Hurricane Irma

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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. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

September 27, 2017

What to Do if Your Home was Damaged by Hurricane Irma

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While Fort Lauderdale escaped the worst of Hurricane Irma, flooding and wind damage still caused widespread power outages, left roadways blocked with trees and debris, and caused flooding and wind damage to many local homes. While storm surge was among forecasters’ initial fears (and did lead to some damage along the coast), ultimately, it was homes further inland that experienced the most flooding, with homes on many low-lying streets being inundated with several feet of water. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

September 22, 2017

What to Do if Your Business was Damaged by Hurricane Irma

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In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, many South Florida business owners breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Despite early forecasts, the storm largely spared Florida’s Atlantic coast; and, compared to the devastation in the Caribbean, Southwest Florida and the Florida Keys, what we experienced here in Broward County was relatively benign. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

August 31, 2017

What to Expect from a Coverage Dispute with Your Homeowner’s Insurance Company

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In some circumstances, a dispute with your insurance company can seem like an inevitability. From the moment you file your claim, you get the run-around, your assertions of damage are met with skepticism, and it seems like there is nothing you can do to get your insurer to uphold the terms of your policy. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

August 25, 2017

Understanding the Deductible for Your Home, Hurricane or Flood Damage Claim

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When you file a property damage claim with your insurance company, you have to pay a portion of the cost to repair your home. This is known as your “deductible.” If your home suffers $20,000 worth of damage in a storm and you have a $500 deductible, your insurance company will pay $19,500 for necessary repairs resulting from the peril (assuming, of course, that your insurance company accepts liability and agrees to pay the full amount of your claim). Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

August 18, 2017

Forecasters Increase Projections for 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently increased its projections for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. The National Weather Company (which operates The Weather Channel and is owned by IBM) also recently increased its projections. These changes come as we approach the peak of the hurricane season, and as we begin to see news reports of tropical systems developing in the Atlantic Ocean. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

July 31, 2017

What Florida’s Beachfront Property Owners Need to Know about Home Insurance

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Whether you live on the beach or you own a rental property in Fort Lauderdale, obtaining and maintaining adequate homeowner’s insurance should be among your top financial priorities. Owning property near the water inherently involves some unique risk and liability-related considerations, and not having the insurance you need when you need it could have drastic consequences. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

July 24, 2017

Covered or Not? Sinkhole Damage to Florida Homes

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Sinkholes are a persistent threat in Florida. Every year, we see several news stories about sinkholes, including one recent one where a woman discovered a large sinkhole just outside her front door.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

July 17, 2017

Not All Homeowners’ Insurance Policies are Created Equal: Which Policy Do You Have?

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In Florida, while most homeowners’ insurance policies are considered “standard,” there are different standards for different types of properties. As a result, your coverage in the event of a hurricane or other accident will depend not only on the options you have chosen for your policy, but on the options that you were offered based upon the location, age and construction of your home. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

June 30, 2017

Preparing for a Hurricane? Prepare for Your Property Insurance Claim, Too

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As we prepare for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season to reach full swing, it is important for homeowners to get ready. While this means stocking up on provisions and making any necessary home repairs, it also means getting ready to file a claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

June 23, 2017

10 Insurance Resources for South Florida Businesses

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As a business owner, insurance coverage is one of the best tools you have available to mitigate against the risk of loss from unexpected disasters and liabilities. But, how do you decide what type(s) of coverage do you need, and how do you make informed decisions about filing claims under your business insurance policies? These articles from the insurance claim lawyers at Saavedra | Goodwin provide some practical insurance tips for business owners in Broward County and throughout South Florida: Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

June 16, 2017

Covered or Not? Mold from Sudden and Long-Term Water Intrusions

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As a homeowner, few realizations can cause more worry than discovering that there is mold in your home. Indoor mold exposure is known to have a variety of potential health risks, and interior mold growth is an issue that should generally be addressed right away.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

May 26, 2017

10 Insurance Resources for South Florida Homeowners

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If your home was damaged in a storm, you need to be prepared to deal with your insurance company. Filing a successful homeowner’s insurance claim is a process, and the more you know about your rights, the better able you will be to protect yourself when your insurance company attempts to deny your claim or falls short of its obligations under your policy or Florida law. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

May 19, 2017

Florida’s 25 Percent Rule: Protection for Homeowners with Storm-Damaged Roofs

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For South Florida homeowners, the threat of roof damage is a persistent concern. From downed trees to tropical storms and hurricanes, all types of natural hazards can cause leaks, damage and total destruction. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

May 12, 2017

Documenting Lost Revenue for a Business Interruption Insurance Claim

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When seeking insurance coverage for business interruption resulting from a hurricane or other casualty event, it is critical to arrive at a well-documented valuation of your company’s lost revenue. Insurance companies rely on trained adjusters and accounting firms to reach their own conclusions; and, to avoid having a less-than-favorable calculation dictate the amount of your coverage, you need to make sure you paint a clear picture of your business’s lost revenue. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

May 5, 2017

The Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins June 1, 2017: What Homeowners Need to Know

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It’s hard to believe, but another hurricane season is right around the corner. After last year’s spike in activity, including Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, experts are expecting a return to near-average conditions in 2017. According to Weather.com: Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

April 28, 2017

Protecting Your Rights as an Insured Homeowner: A Step-By-Step Guide

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If your home was just damaged in a storm, there are several important steps you need to take to protect your rights against your insurance company. This step-by-step guide will help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your homeowner’s insurance or flood insurance claim. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

April 26, 2017

Insurance Tips for South Florida Small-Business Owners

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When was the last time you thought critically about your business’s insurance coverage? If it has been a while, there is no time like the present to make sure you are protected and taking full advantage of your current coverage. Here are some tips from the insurance claim lawyers at Saavedra | Goodwin: Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

March 31, 2017

Understanding the Bill of Rights Provided by Your Insurance Company (as Required by Law)

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When you file a homeowner’s insurance claim in Florida, your insurance company is required by law to provide you with a copy of the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights (the “Bill of Rights”). This is a list of rights established by statute; but, unlike other provisions of Florida insurance law, it does not give homeowners additional grounds to sue their insurers. Instead, the Bill of Rights is intended to, “summarize, in simple, nontechnical terms, existing Florida law regarding the rights of a personal lines residential property insurance policyholder who files a claim of loss.” Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

March 29, 2017

Understanding Your Business Interruption Insurance Policy

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When you need to seek insurance coverage for a business interruption, the first step is understanding the terms of your policy. What losses are covered? For how long? What exclusions apply? Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

March 24, 2017

How Can a Lawyer Help with Your Insurance Claim?

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When your insurance company is being unreasonable, there comes a point when you need to get aggressive about enforcing the terms of your policy and your rights under Florida’s insurance laws. If your insurer is refusing to investigate or pay the full value of your claim, there is only so much you can do on your own. At some point, to move your claim forward and hold your insurance company accountable, you will need to hire an attorney.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

February 28, 2017

Florida Supreme Court Sides with Homeowner in Insurance Dispute

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In an important decision for Florida homeowners, the Supreme Court of Florida recently held that a homeowner was entitled to full insurance coverage for damage caused by a combination of covered and non-covered perils. The Court reached this decision even though the non-covered peril – a construction defect – was expressly excluded under the plain language of the homeowner’s policy.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

February 21, 2017

A Look Back at the 2016 Hurricane Season

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After the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a “near-normal” Atlantic hurricane season in May (with a note that uncertainty in climate signals was making storm predictions unusually difficult), the 2016 hurricane season ended up being the most active season since 2010. While two storms – Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew – wreaked the most havoc on the State of Florida and the Southeastern United States, 2016 saw a total of 15 named storms, including seven hurricanes with three rated at Category 3 or higher.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

February 14, 2017

7 Signs You Need a Lawyer to Handle Your Insurance Claim

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While many of us have come to expect less-than-stellar customer service from our insurance companies, there is a point at which poor service crosses a line into bad faith. Under Florida law, insurance companies have a legal obligation to faithfully adhere to the terms of their customers’ policies, and insurers that fail to meet their duties or try to take advantage of their customers can often be held legally responsible.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

February 2, 2017

Am I Covered for Property Damage from a Tropical Storm?

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In the Fort Lauderdale area, tropical storms are a fact of life. While hurricanes make headlines, tropical storms are far more common, and they present many of the same property casualty and damage risks for homeowners and commercial property owners. Of the 15 tropical storms in the Atlantic Basin during 2016, only seven (including Hurricane Matthew) became hurricanes, but the damaging winds and rains from the year’s non-hurricane-force storms still wreaked havoc for home and business owners throughout South Florida.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

January 31, 2017

Common Issues with Hurricane Damage Insurance Claims

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If your home or business has been damaged in a South Florida hurricane, securing payment from your insurance company is one of the first steps on the road back to normal life. Unfortunately, while insurance companies are happy to collect policyholders’ premiums, getting them to pay for covered damages can often be a very different story.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

January 27, 2017

What if My Insurance Company Won’t Pay? Protecting Your Rights at Trial

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If you are like most people, you have come to expect hassles when dealing with your insurance company. The claims process is slow, and you are never quite sure if you are truly receiving the full amount to which you are entitled under your policy. You may even have concerns about bad faith – a practice that has become all-too-common among many property damage insurers.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

December 30, 2016

Your Rights (and Obligations) as an Insured Property Owner Under Florida Law

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The insurance industry is highly regulated in Florida, and for good reason. While some companies are highly reputable, as a whole, the industry has long held a reputation for taking advantage of consumers while putting profits ahead of policyholders’ needs.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

December 28, 2016

Losses from Hurricane Matthew May Approach $10 Billion

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After swelling to a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic – the first to do so in nearly a decade – Hurricane Matthew pounded Florida’s Atlantic coast with Category 4 winds on October 7, 2016 before exacting its toll further up the Eastern Seaboard. Multiple news outlets have reported that the economic impact from Hurricane Matthew in the United States is likely to approach $6 billion, while one estimate from Goldman Sachs put the total losses as high as $10 billion.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

December 23, 2016

Seven Tips for Filing a Business Interruption Insurance Claim

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When a hurricane, fire or other disaster damages your business, filing a business interruption insurance claim may be your only option to cover your company’s expenses during the repairs. If you cannot sell because your systems are down or your facilities are inaccessible, business interruption insurance can provide the income replacement you need to stay afloat you go through the rebuilding process. If you purchased “extended” coverage, your policy will cover your business losses for a period after you reopen as well.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

November 30, 2016

When Should You Hire a Public Adjuster for Your Insurance Claim?

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When you file a claim under your home, auto or other insurance policy, your insurance company will assign an adjuster to your claim. While your insurance company will refer to this individual as “your” adjuster, the truth of the matter is that he or she works for the insurance company, not for you.    

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Categories: Insurance Claims

November 25, 2016

Insurance Claim? Be Careful About What You Post On Social Media

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If you are an active social media user and your home is damaged in a major storm or other natural disaster, it may be tempting to post photos or comments about the damage online. But, while some posts may be harmless, others could end up having a drastic impact on your homeowner’s insurance claim. As a result, before you post anything showing or discussing damage that may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, it is important to understand the potential consequences involved.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

November 18, 2016

Dealing with Your Insurance Company After Hurricane Matthew

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After initial projections showed Hurricane Matthew causing the greatest destruction further up the Atlantic Coast, the season’s second major storm blasted eastern Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, causing record storm surges and widespread power outages throughout the state. Many homes and businesses suffered significant damage from Hurricane Matthew as well, and their owners are currently going through the process of filing claims with their insurance companies so that they can rebuild.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

October 31, 2016

Five Tips for Dealing with Insurance Adjusters

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If you are like most people, there are few things you find more stressful than the prospect of dealing with your insurance company. The insurance adjusters do not have your best interests in mind; and, while they may seem helpful, you never really know if they are telling you the whole story or explaining all of the options you have available.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

October 26, 2016

It’s Hurricane Season: Insurance FAQs

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It’s hurricane season, and for South Florida homeowners that means the potential for significant damage from hurricanes and tropical storms. With Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew having already passed through, those who are fortunate enough to have gotten by with minimal damage remain on high alert for the potential of another 2016 storm headed their way.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

October 21, 2016

Covered or Not? Getting to Know Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

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As a homeowner, you know you need insurance. Not only is buying homeowners’ insurance a wise decision to help protect your investment, but most mortgage companies require homeowners to insure their properties as well. Homeowners’ insurance covers a wide range of losses, and if your house suffers significant damage due to a leaky pipe, storm or neighbor’s tree, relying on your insurance policy may be your only option for rebuilding your home.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

September 29, 2016

Are You Dealing with Property Losses After Hurricane Hermine?

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The first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since 2005, Hurricane Hermine exited the Gulf of Mexico around 1:30am on the morning of Thursday, September 2, 2016. Parts of Florida experienced wind gusts above 70 mph throughout the day on Thursday, and as much as 22 inches of rain fell on some regions of the state. Much of this rain fell before Hurricane Hermine made landfall, with record storm surges as high as six feet above Mean Higher High Water further contributing to the risk of damaging floods.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

September 27, 2016

What Florida Homeowners Need to Know about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

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If you currently own a home or are considering purchasing a home in South Florida, you need to make sure that you carefully consider your options for purchasing flood insurance. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so this is a separate policy you will need to purchase in order to protect your home.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

September 22, 2016

Whose Insurance Covers Damage Caused by a Neighbor’s Tree?

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While many suburban neighborhoods are prized for their lush greenery and mature landscaping, large trees can present major dangers – especially during South Florida’s hurricanes and tropical storms. As a homeowner, you generally expect to have to pay if your own tree falls on your house or damages your property; but, what if it is a neighbor’s tree that causes your loss?

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Categories: Insurance Claims

August 31, 2016

Bad Faith in First-Party Property Damage Insurance Claims

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When it comes to seeking compensation from an insurance company, there are two primary types of claims. These are “first-party” and “third-party” claims.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

August 26, 2016

Insurance Claims: What Homeowners Can Do to Prepare for Hurricane Season

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The 2016 hurricane season is well underway; and, while we saw some storm activity earlier than expected in January, so far the hurricane season has been pretty quiet. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is still predicting a “near-normal” hurricane season, which means a relatively-strong likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms originating in the Atlantic Ocean before November 30, 2016.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

August 24, 2016

Does Your Company Need Business Interruption Insurance?

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When a hurricane or other natural disaster forces you to temporarily close your business, what do you do to repair your building or replace your lost inventory? Most likely, you file an insurance claim. Hurricane, fire, flood and other types of property insurance policies provide coverage for all types of events, and many businesses – especially here in South Florida – have these policies as critical safety nets to protect them from the financial consequences of a catastrophic storm.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

July 29, 2016

Your Roof and Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

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As a homeowner, your roof is one of the most important components of your house. If it is defective or gets damaged in a storm, it can also become the bane of your existence. The good news is that homeowner’s insurance policies cover many roof-related issues. The bad news? They do not cover all roof-related issues, and insurance companies in Florida frequently deny homeowners’ roof-related coverage claims.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

July 27, 2016

The Insurance Claims Process is Holding Up Cape Coral Recovery

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When a tornado with sustained winds of 132 mph tore through Cape Coral in January, initial estimates put the total property damage in the range of $5.5 to $6.5 million. However, officials cautioned that the actual figure was likely to be substantially higher, as workers hadn’t yet finished assessing the full scope of the damage.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

July 22, 2016

Protecting Your Assets with Umbrella Insurance

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As a responsible homeowner, real estate investor or business owner, you buy insurance coverage to protect your personal or business assets in the event that something goes wrong. But, as we recently discussed, insurance policies do not always cover everything you expect them to, and there is always the risk that you or your business will incur a liability that exceeds the limits of your coverage.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

June 29, 2016

The Risks Associated With Unattended Vacation Homes

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In 2014, more than 1.1 million vacation homes were sold in the United States -- many of them here in Broward County. These are more vacation homes than any prior year since data collection began; 21% of all residential transactions in 2014 were the sale of vacation homes.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

June 22, 2016

Reservation of Rights Letters: What Are They and How Can They Affect Your Claim?

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If you make a claim for coverage under your insurance policy, you are hopeful that your insurance company will be agreeable and pay for the claim you report. However, oftentimes the insurance company will agree to provide coverage, usually in the form of a defense to a claim, but under a “reservation of rights.”

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Categories: Insurance Claims

June 20, 2016

Florida Lawmakers Pass Bill to Expand Sinkhole Coverage

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The Florida legislature has just added a law allowing insurance companies to offer a much needed type of insurance coverage. Florida’s new sinkhole law goes into effect on July 1, 2016, and under the new law, insurers may begin offering residential sinkhole coverage.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

June 8, 2016

FEMA Announces Flood Insurance Premium Increase

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Hurricane season is here, and unfortunately, the latest predictions are for an intense several months. According to the president of the Weather Research Center, “(t)he west coast of Florida, and Texas coastal areas, have the highest risk of being impacted this year.”

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Categories: Insurance Claims

June 6, 2016

The Difference Between Cash Value Coverage and Replacement Cost Coverage

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One thing we are often asked by clients is to explain the difference between replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage. Both of these terms describe types of insurance coverage that are intended to provide coverage for your damaged or stolen property. However, the amount of money you receive will be largely dependent upon which type of insurance coverage you have. Read More

Categories: Insurance Claims

June 3, 2016

Tips for Resolving Claim Disputes with Your Claims Adjuster

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No matter how clear-cut your claim may seem to you, the insurance company’s claims adjuster often interprets the language of the insurance policy at issue in ways that minimize or even exclude coverage for valid claims.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

May 25, 2016

Is Your Drone Covered Under Your Homeowners Policy?

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The rising recreational and commercial use of drones has outpaced societal regulation and has led to much debate. In 2015, the U.S. drone market made $105 million in revenue and almost 700,000 recreational drones were purchased. The main issues that arise with recreational drones relate to privacy and safety. 

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Categories: Insurance Claims

May 18, 2016

Florida Homeowners Insurance vs. Long Term Leaks

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Homeownership comes with maintenance issues and one of the most unpleasant and expensive homeowner issues Floridians deal with involve damage caused by water leaks. When a leak is discovered, the first question people have is whether their homeowners’ insurance policy covers it.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

May 11, 2016

Things Your Homeowners’ Policy Does Not Cover

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When purchasing a homeowners’ policy, we would like to think that we are covered for anything that might go wrong. However, this is just not the case and you do not want to be one of the people to find out a loss is not covered until after it occurs. At Saavedra Goodwin, a Fort Lauderdale insurance claim law firm, we have assisted many clients who were devastated to receive a letter of declination from their insurance carrier after suffering property damage to their home.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

April 11, 2016

Florida's Valued Policy Law Provides Broader Coverage Than in Other States

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Any number of disasters can completely destroy residential or business structures in an instant. This type of devastating loss can leave homeowners on the street and businesses with no source of income for an extended time period. The last thing that they need is to face surprises when they file insurance claims for total loss.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

April 8, 2016

The Three Types of Business Interruption Insurance Coverage

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Few businesses can get back on their feet immediately after a major disaster. Operations may necessarily grind to a halt as the building undergoes repairs, damaged inventory is replaced, employees find ways to navigate damaged roads to return to work or suppliers are unable to provide supplies due to their own business interruptions.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

February 29, 2016

Florida Tops the List in Lightning Property Damage Claims: Are You Covered for Power Surges?

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Few individuals are aware that a week in June is dedicated to lightning awareness each year. During that week last year, PRNewswire  reported that Florida accounted for more than 10 percent of all lightning claims in the U.S. for 2014 — more than any other state. The good news is that insurance claims for lightning damage are on a downward trend. However, our Broward County property damage lawyers warn that property insurance companies do not always cover all types of damage caused by lightning.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

February 24, 2016

The Importance of Business Property Insurance Adjusters with Industry Knowledge

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Our Broward County property damage lawyers can confirm that most insurance claim adjusters have a vast knowledge when it comes to fairly assessing structural damage to commercial buildings. They can even generally evaluate losses to inventory and equipment based on documentation provided by well-organized business owners. However, they often underestimate the value of business interruption losses when they do not have a detailed understanding of the nature of a specific type of business.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

February 17, 2016

Personal Property Appraisals: When and How to Get Them

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Our Fort Lauderdale insurance claim law firm frequently recommends that our clients create and maintain an inventory of personal or business property and retain receipts for the most significant items. In the event they lose property through storms, theft or other perils, these inventories go a long way toward helping ensure that they receive fair settlements from their insurers.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

February 3, 2016

Proactive Mold Remediation Can Be Essential to Property Storm Damage Claims

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Mold does not require major storm damage to take root in Florida buildings. It is a pervasive foe to property owners across the U.S., but the higher humidity levels in our state make it a particularly attractive place for mold spores to take up residence.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

January 27, 2016

The Challenges of Collecting for Mold Damage After a Major Storm

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Just about every coastal Floridian understands the effects of water better than many other Americans. The combination of wetness and high humidity create the perfect environment for the growth of mold within a home. Mold, not only has potentially serious effects on your health, but it can cause extensive and expensive property damage in a very short period of time. Even though the connection between a storm event, property damage and the subsequent growth of mold seems obvious, our Fort Lauderdale property damage attorneys often get called in to assist when insurance companies deny valid claims.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

December 30, 2015

Is Your Property Damage Claim Taking Too Long?

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After a major storm or fire, your first view of your severely damaged property could be an overwhelming experience. How do you decide which issues to attack first?  Can you expect a property insurance company to pay your claim promptly?

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Categories: Insurance Claims

December 23, 2015

Good Financial Organization Pays Off When Disaster Hits Your Property

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When you look at the chaos after a natural disaster hits your home or business property, financial and other concerns certainly arise quickly. In a time of crisis, it is hard to focus on gathering the records you need for recovery from your insurance company.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

December 16, 2015

Business Disaster Losses Can Extend Beyond Physically-Damaged Areas

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Five years after the BP oil spill, USA Today reported that many areas of Florida continue to feel the effects. Many businesses, even in regions that did not experience the direct effects of the spill, continue to suffer losses because tourism is particularly susceptible to bad regional news. Many businesses believe they have no right to file property insurance claims in these situations. However, our Broward County insurance claim lawyers encourage insured businesses to review their coverage. Claim compensation may be available when companies suffer indirect impact from a regional disaster.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

December 11, 2015

Home-Based Businesses May Lose Out In Property Damage Claims

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The old saying, "location, location, location" can represent a key component of business success. However, our Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyers admire the good fortune of business owners who can operate from the comfort of their own homes.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

December 9, 2015

Do You Have a Post-Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business?

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You cannot predict the amount of property damage your business will sustain in a disaster, so how do you fully plan for the repair or replacement process? No crystal ball is available to predict the future, but our Broward County insurance claim lawyers advise clients to spend time thinking about the possibilities. Even a partial plan can help you anticipate major issues so you can get back to business as soon as possible after disaster strikes.

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Categories: Insurance Claims

December 4, 2015

The Effect of a Few Inches of Floodwater on the Value of a Claim

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A difference of three inches does not seem like much, but when it pertains to flooding in your home, it can have a noticeable effect on the dollar value of damages. However, property insurance companies can use those inches to find reasons to reduce claim values. Our Fort Lauderdale insurance claim law firm sees its share of flood damage claims and we often get called in when the inches matter.

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Categories: Insurance Claims