Water Damage Attorneys in Florida
When it comes to hurricane damage, few things can be quite as pervasive and destructive on a large scale than flooding. Unless you have a flood insurance policy from the FEMA-run National Flood Insurance Program, you may not be covered for certain types of natural flood damages.
Even if your water damage should be covered under your normal Florida homeowners insurance policy – which is more common than the insurance companies want to acknowledge – it can be difficult to get the claim payment you deserve.
Types of Water Damage that Aren’t Covered by Your Normal Homeowners Policy
Excluded flood damage is water that has risen from a source outside the home. Outside the home generally refers to naturally occurring sources of water, such as ocean water storm surge or a river that has risen above its bank and threatens surrounding communities with flooding.
A plumbing leak, for example, is not excluded flooding. The source is coming from inside your own home and it’s not a naturally occurring event. If hurricane winds damage your roof or break windows and rain is blown into your home, that doesn’t count as risen water. That water damage would be a direct result of wind damage, which should be covered.
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The Dangers of Water Damage
Repairing water damage is never as simple as letting your property dry and getting on with life. Water damage of all types can cause a number of problematic issues, including:
- Mold growth all over your homes, including behind drywall, in your attic insulation and in your carpet and flooring
- Ruins electrical systems in the home, often requiring complete replacement
- Necessitate the replacement of all furniture, possessions and drywall that have been soaked
- Lace your home with bacteria, pathogens and other seriously hazardous chemical and biological issues due to the contaminated nature of flood waters
- Potentially compromise the stability of your home by weakening and rotting key structural supports
Water damage is one of the most pervasive and dramatic types of damage a home can experience. The cost of these claims, which are always high, is the main reason the vast majority of homeowners insurance providers began excluding flood damage, forcing home and business owners to seek coverage from the government.
The Wind-Driven Rain Damage Conundrum
Insurance companies frequently deny water damage claims unrelated to flood damage by using a convenient loophole that puts the blame back on you. They may say that pre-storm damage to your home allowed the storm damage to occur. By their reasoning, you could have prevented the water damage if you had fixed your home’s preexisting damage.
For example, the insurance company may say your roof was missing shingles or was in disrepair which is why the rain was able to penetrate your roof and cause water damage in your home.
It’s also important to note that your FEMA flood insurance policy won’t cover wind-driven rain, because that policy only covers the damage that meets their flood criteria.
You may read your entire insurance policy and still not be entirely clear where it stands on the question of wind-driven rain. If your wind-driven rain claim is being denied, it’s likely in your best interest to speak with an independent claims adjuster or Florida hurricane property damage attorney.
Make Repairs and Keep Receipts
After your home or business has suffered wind damage it’s important to make temporary repairs as best you can once it is safe to do so. The insurance company won’t cover damage that could have been preventable if you had taken these steps, so it’s important to do what you can to prevent any additional damage after the initial hurricane or tropical storm.
You can also be compensated for your preventative self-repair costs in many cases if you keep your receipts.
Is Your Damage Covered? Contact a Water Damage Attorney in Florida
If you believe your claim should be honored but the insurance company is giving you the runaround, it may be in your best interest to speak with a property damage attorney, especially those familiar with fighting for homeowners with storm-related damage claims.
At Kanner & Pintaluga, our attorneys have a long history of helping clients get the payments they need to rebuild and repair after a hurricane or storm causes water damage to their home. Call us at 800-586-5555 for a free case evaluation.
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