Hurricane Insurance Dispute Lawyers
Insurance Dispute Attorneys For Hurricane & Tropical Storm Damage Claims
Florida hurricanes are capable of destroying homes, businesses, and communities in a matter of hours. If your house suffers wind damage or flood damage as a result of a hurricane, your homeowners’ insurance policy might offer reassurance that the property damages are covered — unfortunately, this is not always the case. Although you faithfully pay insurance each month, the insurance company looks for ways to pay out as little money as possible, or even deny your claim outright following a hurricane. This isn’t just wrong; it’s heartbreaking, especially when the damages affect your family’s lives. The Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. can help right this wrong.
If your hurricane or tropical storm damage insurance claim is too low or if it is denied, look to our insurance dispute attorneys in Orlando, FL. We take on the big insurance companies over problematic claims to get our clients every cent owed to them under their policies. Insurance companies employ armies of lawyers, and confronting their counsel yourself can be a Goliathan struggle. However, our insurance attorneys know how these companies operate. We can challenge them head-to-head to get swift justice on your behalf — because the faster you receive an honest claim, the sooner you can rebuild your property and return your family’s lives to normal.
Don't delay in fighting for what’s owed to you. Call us today or visit our law office in Orlando to discuss your hurricane insurance dispute case.
Common Types Of Hurricane & Tropical Storm Damage
Hurricane strength is measured based on wind speed using the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. The scale goes from category 1 (wind gusts above 74 mph) to category 5 (wind gusts above 155 mph). In recent decades, several high-category hurricanes have made landfall in Florida, including Hurricane Michael (2018) and Hurricane Irma (2017) — both category 4 — as well as Hurricane Andrew (1992) — category 5. Hurricane frequency and intensity are also rising.
According to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), increasing levels of greenhouse gases correlate with more frequent and more powerful hurricanes. By the year 2100, hurricanes could be 300 percent more powerful (based on Power Dissipation Index), on average, and have higher destructive potential than that of the hurricanes in year’s past. But even moderate storms can wreak considerable damage.
A category 1 or category 2 hurricane is strong enough to damage roofs, pull of siding and gutters, and fell powerlines and trees. These same damages apply to a category 3 hurricane, only more extensively and with greater devastation. While category 4 and category 5 storms are powerful enough to collapse walls of well-built homes. High wind speeds aren’t the only concern from hurricanes. The torrential rains associated with severe tropical storms can cause flooding and substantial water damage to the foundations, exterior structures, and even the interior areas of homes.
What Does Florida Homeowners’ Insurance Cover?
A general homeowners’ insurance policy covers wind damage to roofs and siding, but flood damage and water damage often require a separate policy. However, homeowners’ insurance laws differ from state to state. In Florida, homeowners’ policies have a special deductible for hurricane damage. The deductible is based on a fixed percentage of the total policy amount, and it must be met before the insurance company will chip in.
Determining which storm damages are covered by one or more insurance policies can be difficult. Yet insurance companies count on that confusion as a way to restrict or deny customers’ claims without providing policy holders with much explanation. However, our hurricane insurance claims lawyers in Orlando can interpret policy coverages. We find instances in which insurance companies don’t live up to their end of the bargain and settle those claims through arbitration or litigation in court.
What Should You Do After A Hurricane?
Some hurricanes are so powerful that standard storm precautions, such as placing sandbags around the property’s exterior or boarding-up the windows, aren’t enough to stop the occurrence of property damage. If your home has sustained damage during a storm, our insurance attorneys recommend the following steps to help ensure a successful claim.
Keep Damaged Property Covered
Insurance companies use any excuse to refuse payment for hurricane damages. If a damaged roof worsens after being left exposed to the elements, an insurance provider may argue that there’s no way to tell the hurricane damage from the subsequent damage for which the homeowner is to blame. Don’t give the insurance company an opportunity to deny your claim. Lay tarps or protective covers over the damaged portions of property to help preserve the condition until you file the claim.
Document Damage With Photographs
Create a photographic record of the damage to your property as proof for the insurance company. Don’t take anything for granted — photograph each square inch of your home with multiple angles of the exterior, including the yard, landscaping, and any outdoor structures, and every interior room, including the floors, ceilings, and any fixtures or appliances that may have sustained damage.
Make sure the photos are visibly dated to bolster the quality of the evidence. Smartphone cameras record the date automatically — time-stamps need to be enabled on some digital or film cameras. Try to take all the photos on the same day, preferably during the daytime with adequate natural light, and do so as soon after the hurricane as is safely possible.
File Your Insurance Claim Immediately
Choosing when to file your insurance claim is a carefully orchestrated ballet. Insurance companies want their clients to file hurricane damage claims promptly, and failing to do so could affect your chances of a successful claim. However, you want to have photographic evidence, a written inventory of damages, and your insurance paperwork before filing a claim for hurricane property damage. Our insurance litigation attorneys advise filing a claim as soon as possible while refraining from cutting any corners.
What Can You Do If Your Hurricane Damage Claim Is Lowballed Or Denied?
If you don’t have savings to repair damages, the insurance money is critical to restoring your home after a tropical storm or hurricane. It usually makes sense to give your insurance company a chance to deal with you fairly before you bring an attorney into the situation. But remember, insurance providers try to minimize their financial exposure, which may result in the insurance company proceeding to invoke any number of the following tactics to reduce your loss claim.
- Deny insurance coverage policy’s existence
- Deny the claim by arguing the policyholder failed to make a timely claim or overstate the valuations of damage
- Reject particular damaged items on the proof of loss
- Issue a final or full claim despite outstanding supplemental claims
- Unreasonably delay the site inspection or claim processing
- Make repetitive requests for unnecessary information
- Give a lowball offer based on undervalued estimates
- Say that a lawyer isn’t necessary to resolve the claim
Problems with a property loss claim from hurricane damage can come up in different ways. Whatever you do, don’t be too quick to accept the first offer, which could be a lowball. Instead, when you suspect an offer is less than what is owed, hire our insurance lawyers to negotiate for a better resolution. If that doesn’t work, we can take the insurance company to court with litigation.
Our law firm’s track record in cases involving Florida insurance law and the practical details of claims settlements is an advantage for any client who needs help with an insurance claim dispute in Orlando. Our attorneys keep insurance companies honest by gathering the proper documentation for disputed hurricane loss claims and making sure hidden damages, such as toxic mold and water damage inside of walls, are not overlooked in loss claims. We can even help with recovering expenses from temporary living arrangements.
Contact Our Hurricane Insurance Lawyers In Orlando
If you’ve filed an insurance claim only to have it lowballed or denied, contact The Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case. Our insurance dispute attorneys in Orlando know how to negotiate with big insurance providers. And when those companies act in bad faith, we’re not afraid to take them to task in court. We can help clients receive fair insurance claims, additional damages, and attorneys fees. Schedule a consultation today.