Yes, homeowners or renters insurance can cover hurricane damage in Florida, but the availability and amount of coverage will depend on several different factors.
These two types of insurance protect different items. You cannot have both homeowners and tenant insurance, but a landlord can have homeowners coverage for the building, and the renter can have a tenant insurance policy for their items inside the structure.
The Type of Loss Can Make a Difference
If you are renting your home, you do not have homeowners insurance. Only the person or company that owns the house can buy homeowners insurance. Unfortunately, many tenants do not purchase renters insurance.
As a result, when there is massive storm damage, uninsured renters can lose all of the personal property in the rented unit, like their furniture, clothing, electronics, dishes, and more.
Handling Hurricane and Storm Damage
Hurricanes and their damaging winds and storm surge can be destructive. If your home or property has sustained storm damage, confirm and document where damages have taken place. Then, contact a local contractor to file a claim with your insurance company. Include proper documentation of the particulars of your property’s storm damage.
Take photographs of your home and property storm damage from different angles. If you have “before” and “after” images, that can help clearly delineate the extent of the damage that has occurred to both your property and possessions. These documented photographs can help the insurance process proceed.
If you have emergency repairs that need attention quickly, like a gas or water leak, contact the proper service utilities. If you have damage, such as a hole in your roof that cannot be left as-is, document it and then cover up the damage as best you can with tarps or by boarding things up with wood or cardboard. Do not attempt to make any repairs until an insurance adjuster can make a full in-person assessment.
What Renters Insurance Covers
Renters insurance usually only covers your contents in the apartment or rental house and possibly your items that you keep in designated storage. Tenant insurance does not pay for damage to the building or your vehicles.
Think of your apartment or rental home as a box. Renters insurance only covers what is inside the box. This coverage does not protect the box itself or things outside of the box. Depending on your insurer, your tenant insurance might provide a limited amount of funds for medical bills, but this type of benefit is not the norm.
What Is Not Included in Renters Insurance
When you take out a renters insurance policy, there are several types of coverage plans, including cash value or replacement cost.
- Cash value coverage is reimbursement for a depreciated value of your belongings previous to any damage.
- Replacement cost coverage is the amount it would cost to buy those belongings at today’s market price.
Your personal property renters insurance policy typically establishes a limit for a maximum amount for either cash value or reimbursement coverage. This amount is after any deductible that you may be responsible for. If you own very valuable items, such as jewelry, you might want to consider purchasing additional coverage.
What Homeowners Insurance Covers
Homeowners insurance typically covers the structure, contents, and outbuildings, if listed on the policy. Usually, your homeowners policy does not cover damage to your vehicles.
If the damage comes from flooding, your homeowners policy might not cover the losses. You would have to file a claim under your separate flood insurance, if you carry that type of coverage. You usually have to look to your health insurance for payment of medical bills if you get hurt during a hurricane, but some policies provide a limited benefit for these expenses.
If you are renting out the property to a tenant, your homeowners insurance will not cover the renter’s personal property. Your policy will protect the structure and outbuildings and any specific contents that you own and the policy identifies, like appliances. If you rent the unit as a furnished property, your homeowners insurance might cover your contents within the home or apartment.
Market Value Versus Replacement or Rebuild Value
Even if your homeowners insurance covers the damage to the property, the coverage might not be enough to rebuild the structure or replace the destroyed items. The language in your insurance policy will govern how much money the insurer has to pay for your loss.
The market value of a property is what it’s worth to a buyer in the current housing market. Replacement value of a property is what it would cost to rebuild a property in today’s market, including construction, materials, and labor. Depending on the insurance policy and the existing housing market, a property’s replacement value could differ from the market value.
If your policy covers your contents inside the home at market value, you will not be able to go out and buy replacement items with the money from the insurance company. The market value of the contents of a home is pretty much equal to their yard sale value.
From the moment you take an item home from the store, it is considered “used.” The value depreciates substantially from the price you paid for the item or what it would cost to buy a replacement. The insurer only has to pay you the amount that a disinterested buyer would pay for the item.
On the other hand, if your homeowners or renters insurance policy covers the contents of your home at replacement value, you will get much more money than you would for market value. Replacement value gives you enough funds to go out and buy new items to replace the damaged or destroyed ones.
Cost to Rebuild Your Home
Sometimes the cost to rebuild a house or other structure is more than the market value of the home. Particularly with older homes, it can cost a great deal more to build a new house that complies with the current building code than you would get if you sold the house before it got damaged.
Again, the language in your insurance policy will control whether you get enough money to rebuild a similar structure. Sometimes people have to accept a smaller home or one with fewer upgrades when they rebuild, depending on their coverage. Another option is to finance the difference in cost with a new mortgage.
A Property Damage Lawyer at Our Firm Can Help with Insurance Problems
It can be challenging to make sense of your homeowners or renters insurance policy. If you hire a property damage lawyer on our team, they can review your policy and explain its terms to you. This process may call for them to investigate the full extent of the damages and assess your property damage costs.
Then, they will analyze whether the insurance company is following the policy or wrongfully denying or devaluing your claim. We can take on the insurer for you and negotiate a settlement so that you can devote your attention to rebuilding your home and replacing your damaged items.
You can also expect your lawyer to update you on the status of your case and answer any of your questions at any time in the claims process.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Today for a Free Consultation
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we care about our clients. We will work hard to get you the best result possible in your situation. We go the extra mile for our clients.
Call us today at 1-800-747-3733 for legal help with your insurance problems. The first call comes at no cost or obligation. In addition, we will not take any attorney’s fees unless and unless we secure an award for you. That way, you limit your financial risk, and our attorneys can get to work on your claim now.
We Can Help.