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Damage Claims

Dedicated Fort Lauderdale, FL - Hurricane & Windstorm Damage Claims

Florida is uniquely complicated in the types of claims that result from severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, windstorms and flooding. We have extensive experience in determining which portion of your insurance policy covers which type of damage. The lawyers at Stewart Valencia P.A. have worked with numerous adjusters and engineers on behalf of insureds to obtain maximum coverage and results for property owners in South Florida.

After a hurricane strikes your home, you may rely on your insurance company to help you rebuild. A hurricane can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your property, and you will need that money as soon as you can so that you can pay for the necessary repairs to bring your home back to pre-hurricane status. If the insurance company is being unfair, unethical, or only offering a small amount of money, talk to an experienced South Florida hurricane insurance attorney.

Your Claim

You should contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible after a hurricane to report damage to your home. Because your insurance carrier may require evidence or additional documentation to file your claim, you should document the damage to your home and property, using photo and video footage to show the extent of the damage. Although we never really know the path of a storm, if possible, since we are given days’ notice now, you should take photos and video of your home before the storm. Your insurance policy may also require mitigation of further damage by taking reasonable steps like putting up a tarp to prevent further water intrusion.

Make sure you understand the insurance claim process and coverage before you begin undertaking any repairs. If repairs are made without evidence and documentation, the insurance carrier may not reimburse your claim for the full amount of the damage. Other homeowners move forward with making repairs based on an assumption that the check is in the mail and are unable to later pay for construction costs when they get less than expected.

Unfortunately, property owners often encounter problems with filing a claim for their home, such as when the insurance carrier initially denies coverage or does not return the client’s calls. An experienced hurricane insurance attorney understands the insurance carrier’s obligations to pay for a covered loss and will help you file your Florida hurricane claim.

Negotiating with your Insurance Carrier

Property insurance generally covers windstorm damage from tropical storms and hurricanes. However, not all properties are covered by flood insurance. Many homes damaged in a hurricane suffer a combination of flood and windstorm damage. After filing a home hurricane damage claim, the insurance carrier may try and assign some damage to flooding and other damage to hurricane winds, often to mitigate, or pay out less.

For example, if your home is flooded after a hurricane, the insurance carrier may say the water is flood damage and not covered by a policy without flood insurance. However, the water could have entered the house because of the hurricane, such as wind damage to the side of the house that let storm water inside, or rain through a hole in the roof.

Unfortunately, most homeowners are tired of waiting for their claim check and sick of fighting with their insurance carrier, so they’ll take the first low ball offer. The insurance carrier may rely on this effective and proven strategy of offering quick settlements that cover a fraction of the total damage, hoping you will take the money and release the claim.

We file the appropriate claims and where necessary, also file a lawsuit against insurance carriers to protect the legal rights and interests of our property and homeowner clients. The Law Firm handles these cases on a contingency fee basis pre-litigation, and then files for attorney’s fees if litigation is initiated, and a settlement achieved. If there is no recovery, we do not recover our costs, or any fees.

Before you sign anything that gives up your right to sue, make sure you understand what you are signing. Talk to an experienced hurricane insurance attorney who can advise you of your rights and your legal options. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance carrier to get your damage claim paid without ever having to go to court. You deserve to have an experienced hurricane insurance claim advocate on your side.