Over the past year, Floridians have experienced tremendous flooding. From the record rains in Fort Lauderdale and Cape Coral to the tides caused by hurricanes and sea-level rise, more and more claims are being made to fix the tremendous damage caused by floods.
Nationwide, flooding is the number one cause of property damage, affecting nearly every state in the nation at some point.
While it would seem flood damage would be an easy insurance claim, it often results in no compensation at all. According to this article on flood claims by WESH 2 News, 31 percent of flood claims during Hurricane Irma resulted in a denied claim.
To put it bluntly, that means one out of every three claims was denied for one reason or another.
At The Orlando Law Group, we can look at your potential claim and any subsequent damage and negotiate on your behalf. Negotiating with the insurance companies to make your house right is difficult and you need someone on your behalf who understands the tricks and technicalities insurance companies use to deny claims.
What is flood insurance and isn’t water damage covered by homeowners’ insurance?
While it seems like flood damage would be covered by homeowners’ insurance, it is not. Homeowners’ insurance does cover water damage, for instance if the roof has a leak or a pipe bursts, but if the damage is caused by flooding, then it is not covered by homeowners’ insurance.
To be considered a flood, the criteria is the water event affects two or more properties or two or more acres of land. The event can be caused by many different reasons – rain, high tides, hurricanes and more – but it cannot be isolated to one property.
It would also seem that floods caused by hurricanes would be covered under homeowners’ insurance, but in the case of flooding from hurricane, it certainly affects more than one property, putting it under flood insurance.
The most common type of denial for flood claims is that the property owner simply didn’t purchase flood insurance. That is a hard reality for many people who thought they were covered.
For many property owners, flood insurance is required. Basically, if your property has a greater than 1 percent chance of flooding, you will be required to have flood insurance. Many mortgage companies require flood insurance even if the risk is less. Renters are not required to have flood insurance, but it is recommended as traditional rental insurance does not cover flooding either.
Also, keep in mind, many of the flood maps were outlined more than a decade ago before Florida experienced an increase in flooding. Your home may be flooded even though you are not technically in a flood plain.
Before and after the flood happens
As with all insurance claims, what you do before you file will have a tremendous impact on how successful your claim can be.
For instance, have you documented the valuables in your home and had them appraised? Making a video of your possessions can be a start, but if your great-grandmother’s heirloom quilt from the 1800s has not been appraised, you run the risk of it being designated just a blanket by the insurance company.
Check with your agent if you need to add those valuables as a separate rider.
Buy a waterproof safe and keep this documentation and other important paperwork in the safe.
If your residence experiences flooding, try and get as much of the damage on video or in pictures to show flood levels and any steps you took to protect your belongings.
Simple steps like this will help make your claim easier.
Standing Up to Insurance Companies
As with any insurance claim, the insurance company will try to find as many reasons as possible to not cover your damage from a flood or any other type of water damage. Each insurer can be difficult, often doing one or more of the following:
- Trying to reduce the value of your claim
- Requesting excessive or repetitive documents or evidence
- Delaying your claim without reason
- Offering far less than you need for repairs
In each of these types of tricks and more, the attorneys at The Orlando Law Group have fought through them all. We have worked defending claims like these for insurance companies and will use that experience on your behalf.
Learn How Our Storm Damage Lawyers in Orlando Can Help
The Orlando Law Group knows that you need your insurance benefits to repair your property as soon as possible. We can handle your claim from start to finish, always fighting for maximum compensation under your policy. Call 407-512-4394 or contact us online to consult with an Orlando flood damage attorney for free today.
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