Florida is no stranger to hurricanes. During these intense storms, buildings can suffer wind, water, and other damage. Recovering after a hurricane can be costly. In fact, Hurricane Ian, which hit the state in September 2022, was the costliest hurricane in Florida history and the third-costliest ever in the US. This is why having hurricane insurance is vital for Florida property owners. But when the insurance company refuses to pay, you need the help of a Florida hurricane lawyer to help ensure your rights are protected. Arias & Abbass Your Attorneys can help you navigate the claims process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

How Long Do You Have to File an Insurance Claim After a Hurricane?

In 2023, the Florida legislature amended its insurance law to shorten the time period to report a new claim. Now, instead of two years, policyholders have only one year after the date of the loss to provide notice to the insurer. This applies to both new and reopened claims but not to supplemental claims. 

What Should I Do After a Florida Hurricane?

Even when residents are warned of an impending storm and take steps to protect their property, hurricanes usually cause some damage. In the aftermath of a hurricane, property owners should consider taking the following steps:

  • Cover damaged areas with tarps or other covering to protect from further damage;
  • Take photos of all damaged areas, including personal property;
  • Take an inventory of missing and damaged items; and
  • File an insurance claim as soon as possible.

Failing to take these steps can put a property owner at risk of having their claim denied or undervalued. An insurance company may try to deny coverage by, for example, saying that damage suffered was the result of the property owner’s failure to prevent further damage.

Florida Hurricane Insurance and Claim Denial

Insurance companies are not always clear on exactly what a policy covers and what it doesn’t. In many cases, a homeowners insurance policy will cover damage to a home caused by wind and rain from a hurricane. However, some companies require an additional rider or payment of a deductible before damage is covered, and storm surge and flooding damage require an entirely separate policy. Coverage issues can be confusing, so contact a Florida insurance claims lawyer for help. In addition to understanding your coverage, they can help you navigate the process and fight for the compensation you deserve if the insurer:

  • Denies coverage altogether,
  • Claims the policy excludes wind or hurricane damage,
  • Unnecessarily delays processing your claim, or
  • Undervalues the damages to your property.

If your insurance company denied your claim or resolved it unsatisfactorily, you may be able to file a bad faith lawsuit against them. If you think this might apply to your situation, the insurance claims attorneys at Arias & Abbass Your Attorneys can help protect your rights. 

Watch Out for These Insurance Company Tactics

Because one hurricane may affect millions of people, insurance companies are often flooded with a number of claims at the same time. This can lead to a delay in processing claims, but it is not an excuse. Here are some methods insurers use to limit the amount they have to pay:

  • Delaying a response or delaying property investigations,
  • Misrepresenting or changing the terms of a policy,
  • Undervaluing the insured’s damages,
  • Requiring a written release or waiver of supplemental claims to obtain a settlement,
  • Attempting to force settlement of a claim under another policy,
  • Overwhelming the insured with paperwork and unnecessary documents, and
  • Forcing the insured to file a lawsuit.

Insurance companies often have vast resources, putting policyholders at a disadvantage when their claim is delayed or denied. If you are in this situation, seek the assistance of a Florida hurricane insurance lawyer as soon as possible.

Trust the Florida Hurricane Damage Lawyers at Arias & Abbass Your Attorneys

Did your home or other property sustain damage in a Florida hurricane? We understand that handling the insurance company and claims process can be overwhelming, and we are here to help. If you have questions or concerns about what your policy will cover or believe that your insurer wrongfully denied, delayed, or undervalued your claim, get in touch with the hurricane attorneys at Arias & Abbass Your Attorneys. With years of experience, we understand insurance companies and how to negotiate with them to ensure your rights are properly protected. Call our office to set up a consultation, or fill out our online contact form to get started today.

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