Storm Damage Insurance Claims: How to Avoid the Headaches

storm damage

It’s been a few months since two hurricanes wreaked havoc across Central Florida. Insurance companies have received thousands of claims and pursuant to Florida law, they have 90 days to make a claim decision. They must also supply prompt responses to your written communications and to keep you apprised of the claims process. 

If you have received a denial of your claim, it is time to contact an insurance claim attorney.  There is a formal process to notify the insurance company of your intent to initiate litigation that must be followed before a lawsuit can be filed. This is a “second chance” for the insurance company to review your claim and respond by either reversing their decision and paying the claim, continuing to deny the claim, requesting a re-inspection of your home, or requesting an alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or appraisal.  An insurance claim attorney can initiate the process and guide you through the pre-suit steps. 

If your claim is currently being investigated or under review, be sure to read any correspondence from your insurance company carefully and be sure to provide them with whatever additional information they request during this process.  Specifically, look out for requests for a sworn proof-of-loss, which is a document that the homeowner would fill out, usually with the aid of a contractor or public adjuster, laying out the value of the lost property and the cost for repairs. Oftentimes the insurance company will only give you 60 days to complete this and try to deny your claim when you do not supply a response before the deadline. 

Another technique the insurance companies are using to delay or deny claims is to insist that the parties attend a mediation or an appraisal. If your insurance company has demanded mediation or appraisal, you should consider having a public adjuster or an insurance claim attorney to represent you in either one of these types of claim resolution. The insurance company will have professionals representing them during appraisal or mediation and it would be helpful to have a professional on your side advising you. 

“Short pays” are also very common.  This occurs when your damages exceed the amount the insurance company is willing to pay for them and you do not have sufficient money to make necessary repairs.  This is most often the case when the insurance company either believes that your roof (for example) can be repaired when it must be replaced, or when they claim that only one part of the home requires repair when most of the home actually does.  In these instances, it would also help you to hire an insurance claim attorney to demonstrate to the insurance company the true value of the damages that occurred during the storm so that you can be paid appropriately. 

If you’re still fighting with your insurance company, don’t let them wear you down, don’t give in and settle for less than you deserve. It may be time to bring in an insurance claim attorney, so you’re taken seriously. For more information, give us a call at 407-645-2195 or visit StormClaimAttorney.com 

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Written by Michael Brehne

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