Florida residents know that hurricanes are an ever-present danger and that more storms hit Florida than any other U.S. state. Unfortunately, there are natural events that are simply unavoidable and prone to extreme devastation to your home. To put this constant risk in perspective, one very large number can be used. Since the early 20th century, there has been over $450 billion in damage throughout the state, due to hurricanes. Although individual hurricanes can be erratic and unpredictable, it can be confidently assumed that weather-related residential damage resulting from these storms will continue to be an issue for many homeowners.
If your household has incurred damage due to a hurricane in Florida and your insurance company is proving impossible to deal with, our attorneys at Hale, Hale & Jacobson will act as you advocate and demand compensation for your losses. In a time of high stress, a non-responsive or difficult insurance provider is unacceptable. Hale, Hale & Jacobson will proudly represent your interests and will strive to provide legal counsel that helps get you compensation you deserve. Our hurricane insurance attorneys will have you back the entire time and are not intimidated by the insurance industry. With years of experience handling hurricane claims throughout Orlando and Central Florida, our firm can be counted on to provide professional, productive and knowledgeable insurance claim representation.
Considering insurance companies are profit-driven businesses, there are many ways providers attempt to circumvent large payouts. They have been known to deceptively word their contracts, and can deny claims based on such excuses as, “The damage was caused by water after the hurricane occurred, so it should be viewed as flood damage, and therefore not eligible under your hurricane coverage.” This happens much more than is commonly understood. As a customer who pays a monthly premium predicated on the thought that you will be protected if a hurricane ever causes damage to your home, insurance companies have the obligation to provide service commensurate with your policy. Some of the benefits that most hurricane policies should afford to their customers include the cost of repairs, temporary residence costs, storage costs and transportation costs. If your insurance company is withholding payment or not offering a satisfactory amount, Hale & Hale & Jacobson can help.
What to Do After a Hurricane
There are some basic tips that will help a great deal following a hurricane in Florida. Some of the most important of these include:
Make you and your family’s safety a top priority during every stage of a hurricane (before, during and following a storm)
Follow local radio updates for vital information
Avoid affected areas and roadways with high water levels
Check for damage to essential functions within your house. This includes checking gas, electric and sewage systems. Note any abnormalities or issues
Try not to use any damaged systems until a professional has looked them over
If gas is leaking, turn off the source valve and immediately call for service (it would be best to leave the residence as well)
If you are without power, be careful with candles and fire and always keep your house well ventilated
If you are using a generator for power, do not run it inside
Common Aspects of Hurricane Insurance Claims
Considering the volatility of a hurricane, a residential household can potentially be subject to many types of damage. Regarding reported claims, some of the more common include:
Surface Damage – This is concerning general aesthetic damage, but can also involve serious additional issues depending on where the damage occurs. Surface damage includes broken windows and siding, among others. The main worry about surface damage is that it can lead to other types of damage because it exposes vulnerable aspects of your homes construction to problems. A leaky roof, for example, can secretly cause water damage or even mold.
Roof Damage – A hurricane can destroy a roof, depending on the material and construction method. Some of the common issues involve broken paneling, shingles that have been ripped off and a collapse of certain areas of the roof itself. Taking into account various factors, such as if the roof is sloped or flat, if it was constructed using 3 tab shingles, concrete or tile, or analyzing the initial installation, is important in developing a strong insurance claim.
Structural Damage – This can lead to huge costs if the structure of you house is damaged in a hurricane. As the legs by which your house stands, the structure is vital. Simply put, without a strong structure, your house is unsafe. It is surprising to hear, but wind damage that results in structural issues is responsible for greater property loss than water damage. The repair of structure damage should be of top priority.
Water Damage – This is the most common type of damage in hurricane insurance claims. It is vital to differentiate between water and flood damage. The rule of thumb is that water damage comes from within the home, while flood damage comes from outside of it. This means that any leaks, broken pipes or water heater overflow is considered water damage.
Electrical Damage – Although some people would like to unplug and forget about electricity at times, it is an important aspect of our daily life and the efficient running of our residential homes. Electrical damage from hurricanes can include malfunctioning or damaged wiring, conduit damage, malfunctioning panels and unresponsive lighting systems.