Hurricanes in Florida can leave much destruction in their wake. In many cases, the governor can declare a state of emergency and some financial help arrives from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Emergency funds can be helpful, but you may need to recover other losses when the storm has cleared.
Homeowners can file claims with their homeowners’ insurance companies to begin the process of rebuilding after a severe hurricane. A North Fort Myers hurricane claims lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help you recover from your property losses after a storm.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains a watchful eye on all weather conditions. They are so good at it that they can predict with 70 percent accuracy when severe storms hit.
A named storm has winds greater than 39 miles per hour (mph). Once a storm registers wind speeds higher than 74 mph, it is classified as a hurricane. NOAA estimates that six to ten of the named storms could become hurricanes. When a hurricane produces winds that exceed 111 mph, the NOAA considers it a major hurricane.
When hurricanes remain over water, they don’t do much damage. If they make landfall, they can devastate entire regions. While NOAA can predict the approximate number of storms to expect, they cannot accurately determine the path and size until about a week before they hit. Prevailing winds and the jetstream can alter the course of a storm sending it back out to sea or slamming into a coastline.
Other Weather Conditions That Affect Hurricane Season
Other weather conditions affect weather predictions. One of the reasons for higher-than-average hurricane predictions is La Niña. Weaker trade winds in the Atlantic, above-average water and air temperatures, and an active west African Monsoon create optimal conditions for hurricanes.
Property loss from a hurricane can vary from broken branches to completely rebuilding a structure. The combination of wind, rain, and debris can cause catastrophic property loss. Recoverable damages depend on your insurance coverage. Some of the things typically covered under hurricane insurance include:
- The structure of your home
- Additional structures on the property (garages, greenhouses, sheds)
- Interior components such as water damage and lost furnishings
- Living expenses in the event your home is not livable during repair
In some cases, hurricane insurance might cover property loss from wind, rain, hail, or tornadoes if they result from the hurricane.
What Property Isn’t Covered?
Most homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, even in the aftermath of a hurricane. Water damage from storm surges can be devastating. In Florida, it is often a recommendation that you have additional flood insurance. Some policies allow flood coverage as a separate option or endorsement. In contrast, others require you to carry a different policy for a flood loss. Some even require separate hurricane coverage, as well.
Your vehicle is also not covered under hurricane insurance. If you have a comprehensive policy, your damages are typically covered by your auto insurance. If you only carry the minimum no-fault insurance required in Florida, your vehicle may not be covered.
Florida has more than 1,350 miles of coastal border between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf. That makes the state extremely vulnerable to hurricanes. Florida is the first state at risk of a hurricane making landfall, followed by Texas. When a storm hits, having the proper insurance can be instrumental in recovering from property loss.
Florida law (Florida Statutes Annotated § 627.0269(6)) requires insurance policies to include wind damage if the storm is declared a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane coverage is included with:
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Mobile home insurance
- Renter’s insurance
- Condo insurance
Since policies can vary with each insurer, it is best if you understand your policy thoroughly. If you have suffered property loss due to a hurricane and are having difficulty getting a response from your carrier, a hurricane claims lawyer from our firm can help.
Understanding the Hurricane Deductible
Even though your property insurance covers hurricanes, there may be a separate deductible for hurricane property losses. Hurricane deductibles are typically a percentage-based sum of the total claim. Most policies offer varying percentages. The lower the percentage you opt for, the higher your premiums will be.
Suppose you have a property loss claim of $200,000. If your hurricane deductible is two percent, your deductible would be $4,000, and the insurance company would pay out $196,000 on your claim. With a ten percent deductible, your portion would be $20,000, and your insurance would cover $180,000.
The hurricane deductible is in effect for any covered claim following a storm that was declared a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center. The policies may have different provisions and requirements regarding the hurricane deductible.
Suppose you have problems that arise after a hurricane and are having trouble getting your insurance to cover your losses. In that case, the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help. We will work to make sure that you have the proper documentation, including:
- Repair estimates from contractors
- Lists of damaged or destroyed property
- Videos or photos of your home before the damage
- Photos and videos of your home after the storm
Our North Fort Myers hurricane property claims team can help get you and your family through this trying time. Contact our team for your free case evaluation today.
We Can Help.