Clearwater, Florida, has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. These same breathtaking coastal areas can become a nightmare when hurricanes and other natural disasters strike. We saw this change with storms Michael and Irma in which Floridians suffered many losses. A hurricane can irreparably damage or destroy your home or business in a few hours which usually leads to a property damage claim.
Your property insurance company should process your hurricane damage claim quickly so you can start to repair or rebuild, but some insurance companies do not stand by you after a hurricane causes water damage, roof damage, wind damage, or even structural damages. The insurance provider may use questionable tactics to delay, deny, or downplay your claim after a major disaster strikes.
For assistance with these obstacles, you have the legal right to hire a Clearwater hurricane property claim lawyer with the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine. Our property damage attorneys can help you with the claims process during hurricane season or any other time you have a valid claim for damages.
What Most Florida Property Insurance Policies Will Cover
It is usually when a hurricane or other disaster strikes that property owners learn what their policy does and does not cover. Storm damage can be severe and unprecedented.
They also may not realize that their policy is a legal contract between the insured and the insurance carrier. Florida law requires residential property insurance to cover hurricane windstorm damage. Note that this coverage is often separate from basic homeowners insurance.
Most types of policies define “hurricane” and “windstorm” as related but different events:
- Windstorm coverage refers to wind, wind gusts, cyclones, tornadoes, hail, or rain that is caused by or from a hurricane that damages or destroys property.
- Hurricane coverage is for loss or damage caused by a windstorm during a hurricane, including interior damage caused by the direct force of the hurricane or windstorm.
Your basic property insurance does not include water damage or flood damage from surging tides or overflowing lakes or rivers. We recommend that you talk to an insurance agent about separate flood insurance policies.
Typically Covered Hurricane Windstorm Expenses
Your hurricane windstorm coverage may be used for repair or replacement for types of property damage such as:
- Damaged, torn, or missing roof shingles or tiles
- Holes in the roof
- Damaged or lost siding and gutters
- Broken windows
- Removing fallen trees from the structure
- Interior damage to drywall or masonry where wind created an opening in the exterior
Your home might be uninhabitable, so your insurance should also reimburse you for hotel expenses.
For a free legal consultation with a hurricane property claim lawyer serving Clearwater, 800-747-3733
We Can Help You File a Hurricane Property Claim and with Disputed Claims
If your home or business was severely damaged during a tropical storm or hurricane, it can take some time to gather the necessary paperwork to file insurance claims. Sometimes an insurance company will deny or delay paying a claim because of a missing document or inadequate proof of losses. One of our hurricane property claim lawyers in Clearwater can lead you through this process to increase your chance of a successful claim the first time.
In our experience, a hurricane property claim should include:
- Photos and/or videos of damaged property (preferably with a time and date stamp)
- A written inventory of damaged or lost items with as much information as possible (including model and serial numbers)
- Copies of receipts as proof that you have protected your property from further damage (such as a tarp for your roof)
We will protect your rights for a new or existing claim. We understand that assessing the damage to homes or businesses after a hurricane is shocking. The last thing you need is to deal with an insurance company that is making it difficult for you to get paid. A member of our legal team in Clearwater is here to help.
Do Not Wait to File a Hurricane Property Claim
Depending on the terms and conditions of your property insurance coverage, you may have a limited time to file a hurricane damage liability claim. You should also know that hurricane windstorm protection is only valid for damages that occur during and immediately after a hurricane. Specifically, claims must be for damage that happens from the time that the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane watch or warning to 72 hours after the watch or warning expires.
In addition to making sure that a hurricane windstorm claim applies to damage from an official hurricane or tropical storm, you have other responsibilities as a policyholder, including that you:
- Take reasonable measures to prevent additional damage after the storm has passed
- Pay the required deductible for hurricane windstorm protection
- Meet the requirements of getting estimates from legitimate and licensed contractors for essential repairs
- Be a policyholder in good standing
If you have fulfilled your responsibilities as a policyholder, your insurance company should do the same. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help you recover the compensation that you might be entitled to receive.
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How Some Insurance Companies Make Things Difficult for Policyholders
Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums; they lose money by paying claims. That is why a few insurance carriers try to make it difficult for policyholders with legitimate claims to get a fair settlement.
Here are a few of the tactics that they use:
- Refuse to pay you under one type of coverage or try to force you to settle for another policy coverage with fewer benefits
- Try to get you to accept a lowball payment for your property insurance claims
- Ask you to sign a written release of any supplemental claim for you to collect a settlement or payment
- Take an unreasonable amount of time to process your claim
A hurricane property claim lawyer on our team in Clearwater will protect and preserve your rights. Your insurance policy is a legal contract, and your lawyer can find evidence if you are unjustly denied payment on a legitimate claim.
If We Have to File a Bad Faith Claim
If your insurance company does not act in good faith and fails to fulfill its duty to fairly compensate you, we can file a bad faith claim.
Failure to submit your claim within the designated time frame might jeopardize your opportunity of coverage for your hurricane-related losses altogether. Our lawyers can determine how long you have to take action so that we can get all the required paperwork in on time.
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Deciding if You Can Hire One of Our Property Claims Lawyers for Representation
Short answer: yes, you can. At our law office, we operate on a contingency fee, meaning:
- Paying us up front, by the hour, or out of pocket is not of any concern to you.
- Your lawyer’s payment is deducted from your settlement.
- If they cannot negotiate a settlement for you, then we still don’t take anything from you.
- Your economic risk is very narrow with us on your team.
Working on this contingency payment plan is part of our going the extra mile for you. You will always be in the know, as we will keep you up-to-date on what’s going on in your case. You’ll also have your attorney’s personal cell phone number, so whenever you have a question, you can expect a speedy answer.
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Connect with the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for Help with Your Hurricane Claim
If you are getting ready to file a Clearwater hurricane property claim or have been turned down by your insurance company on an existing claim, our lawyers are ready to get to work for you.
To begin your free case review with one of our staff members, call us today at 1-800-747-3733.
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