Many wonder if hurricane insurance is the same as flood insurance. By law, insurance policies covering properties in Florida must cover damage caused by wind during a hurricane (Florida Statutes § 627.712). These protections do not extend to damage caused by flooding alone, however.
If you have sustained property damage due to flooding from a hurricane or another weather-based event, your homeowner’s insurance policy will not typically cover the damage unless you have separate flood insurance. This type of insurance can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from your insurance agent.
Flood insurance will pay for damage to the contents of your home but generally pays out based on your items’ actual value after depreciation. However, you can purchase replacement cost coverage that replaces lost property with new property with no regard to depreciation.
What Does Florida Home Insurance Cover?
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) outlines multiple types of home insurance coverage. The most basic policies include coverage for damaging events like:
- Aircraft or vehicle accidents
- Volcanic eruptions
In Florida, residential property policies are also required to cover damage from windstorms, such as hurricanes. Insurers must include this coverage in their policies, though policyholders can sign a waiver to remove this from their insurance plan.
Note that flood damage is not a part of this basic coverage. Homeowners must generally purchase an additional flood policy for protection, specifically from flooding.
The Roof Damage Loophole in Florida Hurricane Coverage
Though home insurance policies do not technically include coverage for damage from flooding, there is a small loophole that could apply in your case. The loophole is this: these policies in Florida generally cover damage caused by hurricane-force winds, including roof damage. Should your home sustain roof damage, rain can enter your home, causing severe water damage.
Therefore, if you can connect the water damage to your home to roof damage from hurricane-force winds, you may be able to include this damage in your claim.
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Hurricane Damage Deductibles
When you submit a claim for damages after a hurricane in Florida, there is usually a special hurricane deductible you must satisfy first, as the Florida Division of Consumer Services outlines. Florida is one of several states that allows for hurricane deductibles, as it is a hurricane-prone state.
This deductible is separate from your home insurance deductible, but it only applies under certain circumstances. Specifically, it gets triggered when damage occurs related to National Weather Service-declared hurricanes. It also only applies once per hurricane season, so you don’t have to pay it again if your home suffers damage from more than one storm in the same year.
The deductible is the amount that is subtracted from your insurance claim check for property damage or loss. Generally, the hurricane deductible ranges between one percent and five percent of the home’s insured value – though it may also be a flat dollar amount.
Submitting a Claim for Damages After a Hurricane
Taking photos or videos of your home is helpful when submitting your hurricane property claim, especially if you can collect before-and-after images that illustrate the extent of the damage and the condition of your home and property from before the damage occurred. Flood damage can also affect your property in ways you cannot easily see, including:
Knowing Your Rights As a Policyholder
Knowing your rights as a policyholder will help you navigate the insurance system when you first file your claim. But if the insurance company denied your claim or refuses to pay out what you need to repair or rebuild, it may be helpful to hire an attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Once you have filed a claim, you have:
- The right to receive an acknowledgment from your insurance company within 14 days;
- The right to be notified whether your claim will be fully covered, partially covered, denied, or investigated further within 30 days after filing a Proof of Loss with your insurance company; and,
- The right to receive a full settlement, partial payment, or denial of your claim within 90 days.
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Help Is Available If You Need It
The aftermath of a severe storm is often a trying time, especially when it results in flooding damage. Unfortunately, Florida’s home insurance policies are not always easy to navigate. You may not know if your plan includes windstorm or flood insurance or what your hurricane deductible is.
However, you don’t have to handle the property claims process alone. After a storm, you can call on a law firm that represents clients facing hurricane or flood damage for support. You’ll receive a free consultation before committing so you can learn what to expect from having a property claim attorney on your side.
An Attorney Can Explain Your Rights and Advocate on Your Behalf
A lawyer from our firm can offer support in several ways as you file a claim for property damage after a storm. To begin with, our team will review all of the home insurance policies you have to understand your coverage options and limits. We will also:
- Explain your rights as outlined in the Florida Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights
- Help document your damages and assess their costs
- Ensure your property damage claim contains the correct information
- Communicate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Build an appeal if your insurer denied your initial claim
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for Help With Your Insurance Policies
If your insurance company denied or undervalued your hurricane or flood damage claim or is refusing to investigate the claim, call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for a no-cost and no-obligation consultation at 1-800-747-3733. There are no attorney fees unless and until we settle your claim or receive compensation on your behalf.
We will represent you during every phase of your claim, speak on your behalf with all the parties involved, protect your rights, and keep you informed every step of the way. We understand how hurricane insurance is not the same as flood insurance in Florida and can assist you with your initial claim with your insurance company or with your appeal. Let us help you get back on the road to recovery.
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