When Can a Homeowner’s Insurance Company Deny a Water Damage Claim?

Some homeowner’s insurance policies in Florida will cover water damage caused by wind-propelled rain but many have restrictions and exclusions that you may not realize exist. For example, if your home sustains roof damage and wind blows rain into your attic, your homeowner’s insurance may cover the damages up to your policy limits.  Unfortunately, some newer policies exclude all water damage while others require a hole or opening caused by a covered peril in order for you to be covered for the water damage.  Flood damage is typically covered by a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. If your home sustains water damage due to a flood and you do not have a NFIP policy, you may have to cover the damages out of your own pocket.

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These types of claims can be particularly complicated when a home sustains damage from both floodwater and wind-propelled rain. The jurisdiction where your home is located may determine the outcome of your claim. Some jurisdictions apply the “concurrent cause doctrine,” which means the insurer would cover the damages as long as one of the causes of the damages was covered by the policy. Other jurisdictions apply the “efficient proximate cause doctrine,” which means the insurer would only cover damages if the wind-propelled rain caused more damage than the floodwater.

There also may be issues regarding the cost of repair, law and ordinance issues and/or whether you are in a flood zone that can impact your claim and what you are entitled to in many ways.

If your home sustained significant damage or if your insurance company unfairly denied your claim, contact Leader & Leader P.A. Michael D. Leader is an insurance lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who will evaluate your case in a free initial consultation.

Our office is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 954-523-2020 to discuss your case.

Can a Homeowner’s Insurance Company Deny My Claim Due to Pre-Existing Damage?

Yes. Your insurance company may evaluate building inspection reports, records of the sale of your home, and other documents to find evidence of pre-existing damage.

This is why it is so important for homeowners to take photos of their property and inventory their belongings before any hurricane or major disaster. This evidence may strengthen your case if your insurance company claims that your home had pre-existing damage.

How Long Does a Policyholder Have to Make a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim?

If your home sustained damage that should be covered by your insurance provider, it is important that you report the damage as soon as possible. If you delay, your insurance company may deny your claim under Florida’s prompt notice provision.

Although there is no specific deadline for making a homeowner’s insurance claim, you generally must report the damage in time for your insurer to:

  1. Investigate the damage and confirm it is covered by your policy;
  2. Prevent further damage to your property; and
  3. Calculate the cost of repairs.

It is highly advisable that you contact an insurance lawyer to handle correspondence with your insurance company. Private adjusters have strategies for coercing claimants into making statements that enable the insurer to deny or undervalue claims.  Public Adjusters can be a great asset but we strongly suggest you call a qualified attorney with experience in litigating insurance claims before signing a contract with any third party including a PA.

Michael D. Leader is an insurance lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who knows the tactics that insurance companies use to under pay or improperly deny their policyholders out of fair compensation. Call 954-523-2020 today to discuss your case in a free consultation.

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